The Ultimate Guide to Using the Best Citrus

Citrus is our favorite fruit to reach for, regardless of the season. If you're looking for ways to use lemons, mandarins and navel oranges in the kitchen, we've got you covered with tips and flavor-packed recipes to inspire a new season of cooking.

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This post is written in partnership with Citrus from Chile.

Do you know where much of our citrus comes from during the summer and fall months? Chile!

That’s right: When it’s summer here, it’s winter in Chile, so Chilean lemons, mandarins and navel oranges are readily available. Today we’re excited to share some of our favorite citrus recipes that are sure to amp up the flavor and nutrition of just about anything. Let’s dig in!

How to Use Citrus in the Kitchen

While you might typically eat your favorite citrus fruits out of hand, there are some easy ways to incorporate lemons, mandarins and navel oranges into your everyday cooking.

  • Grilling: Grilling citrus adds a subtle, smoky flavor and makes the fruit extra juicy. It’s easy: simply slice a lemon, mandarin or orange in half and grill face down until you see grill marks!
  • Zesting: Citrus zest perks up baked goods, pasta, salads or desserts, and it’s a great salt substitute. If you’re a fan of cocktails, mix a little zest with some sugar to rim a glass!
  • Juicing: What would a love letter to citrus be without mentioning juicing? While we love drinking fresh juice in the morning (or anytime!), it’s also great whisked into sauces, dips and salad dressings.

Mandarins

Seedless and easy-to-peel mandarins are made for snacking! They’re also packed with vitamins and antioxidants to keep you going throughout the day. Most of our team has young kids at home, and these are a year-round staple.

Besides just eating them out of hand, here are a few easy and tasty ways to enjoy mandarins.

  • Add segments to yogurt 
  • Fold segments into oatmeal, and top your pancakes and waffles with them
  • Toss slices into your favorite green salad
  • Dip in dark chocolate for a healthy-ish, decadent dessert!

Navel Oranges

There’s a reason navel oranges are so prevalent and widely-loved: they’re sweet, seedless, and easy to peel. Even better, just 1 medium orange provides 90% of the Daily Value of Vitamin C!

Here are a few ways we enjoy navels:

  • Juice them for a refreshing start to the day
  • Whisk the juice into a marinade for fish or chicken
  • If you’re feeling ambitious, navels make amazing jam or marmalade to spread on toast

Lemons

While typically not eaten on their own, lemons perk up a meal in innumerable ways! And substituting some lemon juice or zest for salt is a great way of reducing your sodium intake without sacrificing flavor.

As for go-to ways to use lemons in the kitchen:

  • Squeeze lemons into your water to stay hydrated throughout the day
  • Roast salmon or chicken with thinly sliced lemons
  • Zest fresh lemons to use in baked goods like breads, muffins or scones, or add to pastas and salads
  • Add lemon juice to dressings, dips and sauces

A Few Favorite Citrus Recipes

Citrus from Chile provides wonderful recipes, from sweet to savory and everything in between. If you’re looking for a few of our favorite picks, look no further!

This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Simply Recipes. Read more about our affiliate linking policy.

9 Comments

No ImageThe Ultimate Guide to Using the Best Citrus

  1. Lynn

    I recently have been able to purchase bags wonderful Meyer Lemons at my market, which is very unusual where I live. I have been judiciously using them in my cooking, mostly to season things like salmon, asparagus and salads. I would love to hear of other, simple uses for them. I am not doing much cooking these days as it is just myself.

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  2. Janey

    I love Simply Recipes, but wish you’d put more energy into promoting local and seasonal fruits and veggies! Chile? Seriously?

  3. Gayle

    I put mandarin oranges on top of cottage cheese. I add a little French dressing. So good!

  4. Sharon

    Hooray for citrus. I juice lemons and freeze in ice cube trays. I always have fresh frozen lemon juice!

    Show Replies (1)
  5. gloria

    Love the health factor of this post.

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The Ultimate Guide to Using the Best Citrus