Sweet, brightly coloured citrus fruits bring a burst of sunshine into winter days. Citrus fruits are not only packed with lots of flavour, but they’re also very good for you. This class of fruit includes lemons, limes, oranges, mandarins, tangerines, grapefruit, and varieties. They have many health benefits, from boosting immunity to fighting cancer.
Citrus is a common term for flowering plants in the rue family. The best-known examples are oranges, mandarins, tangerines, lemons, limes and grapefruit. The sweeter citrus fruit such as the orange, mandarin, tangerine and grapefruit, are typically peeled and eaten fresh. More acidic citrus, such as lemons and limes are generally not eaten on their own.
There are so many ways to enjoy citrus fruit. The juice is used in beverages like lemonade or for flavouring meals. The fruit pulp is used in marmalade or jams, and can be added to smoothies. The zest (colourful outer skin) is used as a flavouring in cooking and as a garnish. The oil extracted from the rind of citrus fruit is used to make essential oils which can be placed in a diffuser to inhale the aroma; it will help to uplift you, help with congestion, and purify the air, just to name a few benefits (there are way too many to name). Lemon oil is used for cleaning and disinfecting.
Citrus not only tastes good but is also good for you. It's usually thought of as a good source of vitamin C, but they actually have an impressive list of other nutrients too. They contain, potassium, folate, calcium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, magnesium, copper and many phytochemicals. In addition, it contains no fat or sodium and is high in fibre.
Lemons are my favourite citrus as they support the immune system (assisting the body to fight colds and flu), aids digestion, balances ph levels, cleanses the urinary tact, detoxifies the liver and the antioxidants properties help combat free radicals. Place the juice of 1/2 a lemon in a glass of water, and you will get the best benefits if drunk first thing in the morning.
I love adding citrus to many of my recipes, not just to enhance the flavour but also for the health benefits. I have included several recipes below that contain citrus for you to enjoy and you will find many more on my website.
Zesty limes flavour this deliciously creamy Paleo cheesecake. You don't get a dessert that's much healthier than this one. Filled with creamy avocados, macadamias and coconut cream, then topped with a drizzling of dark chocolate and sprinkled with pistachios and lime zest. All this is sitting on a chocolaty nut and coconut base. CHOCOLATE & LIME CHEESECAKE RECIPE HERE
The fresh flavour from zesty limes and the sweet warm spices of garam masala in this creamy chicken dish will delight your taste buds. Serve with cauliflower rice and bok choy steamed lightly and tossed in coconut aminos. CREAMY CHICKEN AND LIME RECIPE HERE
A moist melt-in-your-mouth lemon cake topped with a healthy, no refined sugar lemon icing. This delicious and lemony cake will surprise you, it's not too sweet and you can make it as lemony as you like by adjusting the amount of lemon zest. Lemons are known to enhance mood, so you should feel good eating this cake. ALMOND & LEMON CAKE RECIPE HERE
This is a perfect comfort soup. I love the hint of lemon, it gives a deliciously refreshing flavour. My Lemon and Chicken soup is full of healing properties for the gut and immune system. LEMON AND CHICKEN SOUP RECIPE HERE
A delightful, refreshing salad with a sweet-sour dressing using lime juice can be made as spicy as your taste buds would like. Use green mangos that haven't ripened yet, and the flesh can vary in colour from very pale yellow to a deeper yellow depending on the variety. Delicious served with grilled king prawns on top or roast chicken on the side. GREEN MANGO SALAD RECIPE LINK HERE
Lemon zest makes these protein dense balls a refreshing, not too sweet snack. Perfect to keep blood sugar levels balanced and prevent those sweet cravings we sometimes get. LEMON BLISS BALL RECIPE HERE
Tandoori Chicken is an iconic North Indian dish. You will find lemon and lime juice in my Tandoori Chicken. It's a very quick and easy recipe to make. It has a delicious, smokey-spicy flavour. Just pop the spices, coconut cream and lime juice into a bowl, mix and add the chicken. This recipe cooks perfectly in a conventional oven and by making your own spice mix you forgo the red food dye that most restaurants use to get the orange/red hue to their Tandoori Chicken. You will find the Tandoori Spice Mix recipe here. Included in this recipe is my refreshing Indian Green Chutney with lemon juice. Use it as a dipping sauce for your chicken and to cool the palate if needed. TANDOORI CHICKEN WITH GREEN CHUTNEY RECIPE HERE
These mini cakes were inspired by my Orange and Almond Cake recipe in my 1st cookbook "The JOYful Table". They are light, moist, not overly sweet and get their delicious orange flavour from a whole fresh orange. They can be served as is, topped with almond flakes, dusted with coconut flour (to look like icing sugar), or with a dollop of dairy-free cream. ORANGE AND ALMOND MINI CAKES RECIPE HERE
This Lemon Poppy Seed cake has a moist, light, melt-in-your-mouth texture and has a lovely fresh taste. It's laced with fresh lemon juice and zest, and coconut yoghurt. No one will notice I've also used a vegetable (zucchini) to add moisture and extra nutrients to my healthy gluten-free and egg-free cake. I've covered the cake with a delicious lemon coconut icing that contains no refined sugars. The cake keeps well for days and can be served directly from the fridge or at room temperature. LEMON & POPPYSEED CAKE RECIPE HERE
A light fresh, lemon-sesame dressing to toss through your salads. It works well with coleslaw and green salad mixes. This dressing also adds a boost of flavour to chicken salads. Pour over the dressing then sprinkle with a teaspoon of sesame seeds. ASIAN SALAD DRESSING RECIPE HERE
There are lots more recipes containing citrus for you to enjoy on my website and in my cookbooks. You can check them out here on THE JOYFUL TABLE website.
By Susan Joy