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Color your life orange, yellow and green with citrus fruits

Updated on March 7, 2012

Vibrant citus colors.

This goes against the logic that limes are smaller than lemons and that oranges are much larger than limes.  Pictured are a Cara Cara orange, a lime and Meyer lemon.
This goes against the logic that limes are smaller than lemons and that oranges are much larger than limes. Pictured are a Cara Cara orange, a lime and Meyer lemon. | Source

Citrus Summary

Citrus fruits, as shown in the picture above, can be very colorful, and they often have a very lively, acidic flavor to match. They have a distinct, fresh, lively, and,at times, invigorating aroma, pleasurable to many people. The orange and lemon scents, derived from the oil found in these fruits are sometimes used as air fresheners. The zest, or outermost part of the rind, can be used as flavoring.

However, when many people think citrus, they can, in their mind, taste a lively juice, or combination of juices. While noticeably acidic, the flavors of citrus fruits and juice can be anything from sweet, like an orange, to somewhat tart like a grapefruit, to sour like a lime or lemon.

The top 4 Citrus producing states in the U.S. are, according to e-how are Florida, California, Texas and Arizona. The top 5 citrus producing countries, according to are China, Brazil, The United States, Mexico and Spain.

The Lemon family

The two most notable characteristics of the lemon are the bright yellow color and the sour, acidic taste. Some lemons can be only slightly larger than a golf ball, and some can be two or more times that size. Lemon zest is sometimes used in baking cakes or flavoring sauces.

Lemon juice is not usually consumed by itself. It is often mixed with other beverages, such as soda, alcoholic drinks, or tea or used in a sauce. Some people like to start their day by mixing the juice of a lemon in a glass of water.

There is one particular type of lemon that is worth buying if you can find it. It is called the Meyer Lemon. While advertised as being the sweet lemon, because it is a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange, I found that, while it may not have been as strong as a regular lemon, it was definitely very tart. I can honestly say, I sucked on this lemon, like I would an orange and it was sour. It tasted better when used in other ways, such as diluted in water, or mixed with Canadian whiskey or when used to make a lemon pepper sauce.

The Orange family

Oranges often have a sweet to sweet-tart flavor. Many oranges are very juicy. Valencia oranges seem to be good for juicing.

A person is more likely to eat an orange than a lemon or a lime. Many oranges are easy to peel. The easiest to peel and eat seems to be the Clementine. Clementines are a type of Mandarin orange. They have rounded a middle with a flat top and bottom, and an orange color. Clementines are small, so it sometimes takes 2 or 3 to feel like you've had a serving. While I have found an occasional seed in them, for the most part, they are seedless.

Navel oranges are what I usually eat because they are most readily available in my area. The ones I eat come from California. Some are harder to peel than others. Most seem to be about the size of a tennis ball, but I have seen them much larger. I peel them and eat the sections. One orange is enough for me at one time. Naval oranges are a little tart, but mostly sweet.

My favorite orange, when I can find it, is the Cara Cara, a type of Naval orange. This has a bright orange skin. On the inside of this high fiber fruit, it looks like a ruby red grapefruit and has a similar sweet-tart taste, but is less acidic than the naval orange. The Cara Cara is known as the power orange.

The Grapefruit family

The grapefruit is usually larger than an orange. The Ruby Red variety is usually on the sweet side, but white grapefruits are usually tart. Like they orange, they are high in fiber and Vitamin C and can be used for juice or eaten in sections.

A Pummelo is the largest of all citrus fruit and looks like a very large grapefruit. In addition to that feature, the Pummelo is known for it's thick peel and spongy white membrane. It is rather difficult to peel this fruit. Once you do, however, you will discover something that is less acidic than a grapefruit with a sweet and tangy flavor. The peels can be simmered in a pot of water, as they produce a pleasant, tropical aroma.

Cousin lime

In the case of the lime, sometimes it is easy being green, as the lime is known for it's (usually dark)green skin.

Limes are usually tart, but not quite as tart as a lemon. They can range in size from the tiny key lime to slightly larger than a lemon, as demonstrated in the photo at the top of this article. The key lime is famous for it's use in key lime pie. It is also commonly used, like lemon, in sauces and in drinks.

One big, happy family

The citrus family makes for a colorful and flavorful addition to the diet. Rich in Vitamin C and flavor, this type of fruit is another way you can eat and drink healthy and not have to sacrifice flavor or pleasure.

Citrus juices are wonderful, but like anything else, enjoy these in moderation. A few times a week is a good idea.


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    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I like navel oranges very much in the mornings. The vitamin C and great punch of flavour are a nice way to start my day. Well written hub Tom!

    • Tom Vogler profile image

      Tom Vogler 5 years ago from The Shenandoah Valley

      I first tried the Cara Cara last year. They don't seem to be as widely available in our area as the Navel oranges or the Clementines, but that could just be our supplier. Many of the Clementines we get in December are from Spain, but now in February, they have been coming from California. During the Northern Hemisphere's Summer, I have seen Navels come from South Africa and (if I remember correctly) Chile.

    • profile image

      Agnes Penn 5 years ago

      Clementines were always my favorite. I had never heard of Cara Cara. I will now consider new recepies with this hub!

    • Tom Vogler profile image

      Tom Vogler 5 years ago from The Shenandoah Valley

      Thank you, Lori. Part of the fun of writing these articles is doing hands-on research and experimentation.

    • profile image

      Lori 5 years ago

      I love my citrus and I found this post very informative. I learned much, even considering myself a citrus expert :)