Winter citrus primer | PCC Natural Markets

Winter citrus primer

Sound Consumer | January 2012

Is there a better antidote to winter doldrums than a juicy grapefruit or a sweet, tangy orange? They can brighten a cold, gray morning like sunshine itself. Eat them now, while they're at the peak of their season, and be sure to try some of these more unusual citrus varieties (organic, of course!) at your neighborhood PCC.

Cara Cara orange

Reddish-pink flesh distinguishes this cross between the familiar ("Washington") navel and the Brazilian Bahia navel. It has lower acidity than a Washington navel and a sweet flavor with overtones of raspberries and strawberries.

Did you know?

An orange has more than 170 different phytonutrients and more than 60 flavonoids, which have been shown to fight blood clots, inflammation and cancer!

Rio Star grapefruit

A blend of two Texas varieties — Rio Red and Star Ruby — with a deep red color and a refreshing flavor. The red comes from lycopene (the same nutrient that gives tomatoes and watermelon their color) that's believed to reduce the risk of cancer. PCC's come from Dennis and Linda Holbrook of South Tex Organics.

Did you know?

Eating a red grapefruit a day could reduce cholesterol by 15 percent and triglycerides by 17 percent and reduce the risk of heart disease, according to a study in the "Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry."

Blood orange (aka Moro orange)

A tart orange with brilliant crimson flesh indicating it's high in anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant. Toss slices into salads, chop up in salsas and chutneys, use in a vinaigrette, or make colorful mimosas or Sangria!


Sometimes called a "Christmas Orange" (it's in season November through January), this small tangerine usually is seedless. It may not be as easy to peel as other tangerine varieties such as Satsumas but it makes up for it with a full, sweet flavor.


Mildly sweet and juicy variety of tangerine with few if any seeds. Often called "zipper fruit" because they're so easy to peel. PCC's come from Rich Johansen's organic ranch in Orland, Calif.

Meyer lemon

A cross between a regular (Eureka) lemon and a mandarin. Less acidic, juicier than a Eureka, with thinner skin and a more orange-colored, sweeter flesh. PCC's mostly come from Rich Johansen's organic farm in Orland, Calif.

Minneola tangelo

A cross between a grapefruit and a Dancy tangerine, a Minneola has the flavor of a tangerine and the juiciness of grapefruit but without the acid. It has few seeds and is easy to peel, and is distinguished by a knobby bump at one end. Look for them until the end of citrus season, in April or so.

Royal Mandarin

Neither an orange nor a Mandarin, a royal Mandarin is a cross between a tangerine and an orange. Extremely juicy and sweet, it has many seeds and often is called a temple orange.


Eat the tiny whole fruit, skin and all (seeds are rare). The skin is sweet, while the flesh is tangy and refreshing.

More about: citrus, grapefruit, lemons, oranges, satsumas