What is a citrus fruit?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “What is a citrus fruit?”. We will also talk about the types of citrus fruits.

What is a citrus fruit? 

Citrus fruits are bright yellow or orange fruits that are bitter, sour, and sweet in taste and grow on flowering trees and shrubs. Citrus fruits are valued for their nutritious value and tasty diet. The citrus fruit is a rich source of minerals, nutrients, vitamins, and fibers that are vital for normal growth and overall development, and nutrient wellbeing. 

Citrus fruits include oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, and pomelos which are native to South Asian countries, Australia, New Caledonia, and New Guinea. These are grown and cultivated across the globe where the weather is tropical and subtropical such as Spain, India, Brazil, China, Mexico, and the US.

The citrus fruit is characterized by the leathery rind and the white pith that encases the juicy segments. The rind contains oils that are used to make extracts and essential oils. The flesh of the citrus fruit is divided into juice-filled segments which are rich in nutrients and minerals along with dietary fibers and antioxidants vital for a healthy body.

What are the different types of citrus fruits? 

There are many varieties and sub-varieties of citrus fruits which have their own individual identity with a unique taste, flavors and textures. 

Oranges 

There are different types of oranges typically divided into bitter and sweet types. The sub-varieties of oranges are as follows.

Blood oranges 

Blood oranges are a citrus variety that has a peculiar red hue to the flesh which is due to the presence of anthocyanins, a polyphenol pigment. Blood oranges are mild and sweet citrus that can be eaten raw, juiced, or baked. These are easier to peel, sweet in taste, and have fewer seeds which make them easier to eat too.

Clementines 

Clementines are small, seedless, and easy to peel sub-variety of tangerines. These are easy-to-eat cherry-like fruits that are a rich source of nutrients and minerals. The clementines are sweet and have almost zero sour flavors or bitterness to them as compared to other orange varieties. 

Mandarins 

Mandarins are slightly smaller than regular oranges but are packed with sweetness which is why these are termed the sweetest citrus in the orange family. Mandarins are less acidic compared to other citrus fruits and are used in salads, desserts, and juices.

Navel oranges 

Navel oranges are the most common type of oranges that are consumed globally. These citrus fruits have rather thicker skin and a characteristic navel-looking mark on the non-stem end which gives the name navel orange. These oranges are mainly used for juices but also are best to be eaten as they are seedless and sweet.

Kumquats 

These are a tiny, oblong, bright, sweet, and tarty orange variety which are a perfect handy snack as the eel of these oranges is also edible. Kumquats can be consumed by turning them into candies, pickles, purees, marmalades, or can be eaten whole.

Tangerines 

Tangerines are smaller than normal oranges and their peel is also loose compared to other citrus fruits. These are slightly sweeter and brighter in taste than the normal oranges and are perfect for eating whole or juiced.

Valencia 

Valencia oranges get their name from the region in Spain where it is produced. These oranges are sweet and have thin skins which makes them perfect for juicing or eating as a fruit.

Lemons 

Lemons are a popular and most used citrus fruit due to their acidic properties and sour taste. Lemons are bright yellow in color with thick skin and a white pith that has its own distinctive freshness which is added to drinks, foods, and baking.

Buddha’s hand 

Buddha’s hand is an odd-looking citrus fruit that is yellow in color and opens its fingers when it ripens. It is extremely fragrant and does not contain any fruit or pulp, the skin and rind is used in cooking and baking.

Limes 

Limes are citrusy and sour in taste and bright green to look at. These are very popular to add freshness to cooking and baking. There are different sub-varieties of limes.

Calamansi 

Calamansi is very popular in Filipino cuisine due to its tartness and sweetness. It is a cross between a kumquat and mandarin oranges. These are small green n the outside and yellow on the inside.

Finger limes 

Finger limes are also known as Australian finger limes because of their origin and use in the Australian continent. This lime variety is known for its fresh, tart citrus flavor which is stored in the small bubbles like vessels.

Grapefruit 

Grapefruit comes in pink, white, and ruby red varieties which have a distinct thick rind and sweet, tart, and bitter flavor profile and is a very popular citrus fruit.

Conclusion 

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “What is a citrus fruit?”. We also talked about the types of citrus fruits.

I hope you find this blog useful. If you have any questions, please let us know.

References 

https://www.thespruceeats.com/complete-guide-to-citrus-fruits-4780326

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