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    California Citrus for the Holidays

    By Debra Morris–

    Oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, lemons, and pomelos are here to brighten up the holidays. Mandarins and oranges are available in large quantities, little kumquats fill bins and boxes, giant pomelos and grapefruits cover market tables, and both blood oranges and Cara cara oranges hold colorful surprises inside. You can’t beat the selection of citrus at your farmers’ market in the winter months!

    Serve them sliced fresh in salads and desserts; juice them for holiday beverages, dressings, and marinades; or decorate them with cloves for holiday centerpieces. Make a batch of orange nut bread, lemon bars, or lemon pound cake with citrus glaze. Toss together sliced red onions, orange and grapefruit segments, spinach leaves, and a balsamic vinaigrette for a refreshing salad. Slice fresh citrus and add to your favorite fruity red wine for a winter sangria.

    Use colorful citrus for fragrant holiday decorations.

    • Stud large oranges with cloves in interesting designs and add to a carved wooden bowl. Swirl colorful ribbon throughout and add a candle or two.
    • Tie small tangerines, kumquats, and lemons to a fresh wreath at your front door for fragrance and color. Add to fresh garlands throughout the house.
    • Add lemon (or orange) juice to water in a shallow bowl and float thin slices of lemon or orange and eucalyptus leaves to add fresh fragrance to your room.
    • Select an array of citrus—lemons, oranges, limes—and intersperse with garland, pine cones, and cinnamon sticks along your fireplace mantle. Add a string of LED lights.

    At the Divisadero Farmers’ Market at Grove and Divisadero Streets, Allard Farms from Westley will have tables filled with Satsuma and Tango mandarins; navel, Cara cara, and Washington oranges; Meyer lemons; and other delicious fresh citrus.

    Sour Candied Citrus Peels

    Use as candy, in baking, in salads, or as cocktail garnishes.

    4 large oranges, 3 grapefruits, 6 lemons or limes, halved through stem ends 
    3 cups sugar, divided 
    2 tablespoons citric acid (8–10 tablespoons of lemon juice) 

    Tear out flesh from all citrus halves, being careful not to create any holes in peels. It’s okay if you can’t remove all of the pith. Save flesh for another use, cut peels into 1/4-inch strips. 

    Bring peels and 4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan and cook 5 minutes. Drain and return peels to pan. Repeat process twice more, using fresh water each time. Return peels to pan; add 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil and cook until peels are soft and translucent and vibrant looking, 30–40 minutes (about 10 minutes longer for grapefruits, or 10 minutes less for lemons or limes). Drain and transfer peels to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet; chill until cool, about 15 minutes. 

    Whisk citric acid and remaining 1 cup sugar in a medium bowl. Add peels; toss to coat. Return to rack; let sit at room temperature 1 hour. Toss peels again in sugar mixture. Return to rack; let sit 4–12 hours to dry out. 

    Note: Citrus peels can be candied 1 month ahead. Store airtight at room temperature. 

    The Castro Farmers’ Market is closed for the season and is scheduled to reopen on April 3, 2024. In the meantime, please visit the Divisadero Farmers’ Market at 1377 Fell Street or the Inner Sunset Farmers’ Market at 1315 8th Street. Both are in San Francisco on Sundays year-round from 9 am–1 pm. For information about additional local farmers’ markets, as well as on recipes and more, visit the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association website:

    Debra Morris is a spokesperson for the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association.

    This Month at the Farmer’s Market
    Published on December 7, 2023