Zest for life (+recipes)

By Amanda Laird

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Make the most of our abundant stocks of citrus fruit and try these delicious recipes.

Close-up view of a grapefruit. Photo / Northern Advocate
Close-up view of a grapefruit. Photo / Northern Advocate

Citrus fruit grows plentifully and if you don't have a backyard, a large pot on the terrace will do. After all, a daily dose of vitamin C will keep you fit and well and supposedly wrinkle-free, so it's best to take advantage of it. Citrus also provides a big fat kick of flavour and acidity to perk us up and get us out of the winter doldrums.

Oranges, lemons and mandarins are all cheap and cheerful fruits. Right now grapefruit trees are abundant in many neighbourhoods and can provide a perfect opportunity for urban foraging. When I think of citrus fruit I imagine the flavour of a glass of freshly squeezed juice first thing in the morning. Then I think of the aroma and taste - especially in a gorgeously creamy and tart custard baked in a flaky pastry crust - there is a reason why lemon tart is one of the all-time classic desserts.

Grapefruit is delicious on its own though it can be a bit tricky trying to separate the flesh from the membrane. For the rice noodle salad it is easiest to first peel the fruit and then segment using a sharp paring knife.

Keep all the juice to use in the dressing. The juicy little grapefruit pieces go really well with the prawns and creamy avocado.

The flavour and texture of orange pairs deliciously with the crunch of celery and tang of feta. Marinate in a little olive oil then pile on grilled sourdough for a tasty bruschetta topping a little different from the standard offerings.

The ways to enjoy citrus fruits are endless but here are three recipes to get you going to enjoy the burst of freshness and vitality.

Chef's Tip

When zesting citrus, use either a grater or specially designed zester to release the oils found in the coloured part of the skin. Citrus keeps fresh for at least two weeks at room temperature, longer in the fridge.

- NZ Herald

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