It’s hard to argue with the appeal of oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, and other popular citrus fruits. Flavor profiles range from sweet to tart to intensely sour — and of course, these colorful fruits are known as an excellent source of immune-boosting vitamin C, too. In fact, a medium-sized orange can deliver an entire daily recommended serving of vitamin C!
Citrus also serves as a low-calorie source of fiber, flavonoids, and antioxidants that could help to improve brain and heart health, reduce risk factors for kidney stones and certain cancers, and generally contribute to a healthy and balanced diet in moderation.
Anyone looking to branch out from the average oranges and grapefruits will find plenty of seasonal varieties to choose from, but there are also some exciting new citrus fruits to consider. Here are a few that could spice up all kinds of recipes.
This Philippine lime, also known as calamondin or golden lime, is a cross between an orange and a kumquat. It features a greenish-yellow rind and yellow pulp and tastes like a blend of lemon, lime, and orange flavors with notable tartness.
Ripe fruit is easy to spot as the rind turns from green to yellow. Orange signals an overripe fruit.
Calamansi is great in refreshing cocktails, as well as dishes that call for more common citrus, where it will alter the flavor profile slightly. It pairs well with sweet, sour, savory, and spicy dishes alike.
Fresh calamansi isn’t easy to find stateside (try Asian markets), but you can find bottled juice and even puree more readily.
A citrus fruit native to East Asia, yuzu is about the size and shape of a tangerine and has a tart/sour flavor profile that blends lemon, lime, and grapefruit. The rind of ripe fruit will be yellow to pale orange.
While a few California growers have started producing yuzu, most crops are imported from Asia and can most easily be found in Asian markets.
Yuzu is too tart to eat outright, but the fruit is prized for its zest and juice, which make for a bright, acidic addition to a range of recipes. It’s most commonly added to cocktails, dressings, and marinades.
Native to Southeast Asia, this tiny fruit has bright orange skin and is only about the size of an olive. Unlike other citrus fruits, kumquats are meant to be eaten whole, rind and all. The sweet rind balances the tartness of the juice and pulp.
There are several varieties of kumquat, but the two most common are nagami and meiwa, with meiwa being slightly sweeter. Because of its blend of sweet and sour, together with an edible rind, kumquats make for outstanding marmalades. They’re surprisingly good pickled, as well!
Kumquats can add brightness to squash, carrot, lentil, or bean soups. They’re also a tasty and surprising addition to savory sauces and stews, especially those featuring rich, red meat.
You might know bergamot best for its inclusion in Earl Gray tea, but the bergamot orange, featuring a floral fragrance and a sharp, sour combination of lemon and orange flavors, is gaining popularity in other applications.
This Mediterranean citrus is ripe when the rind is the color of a lime and the fruit is roughly the size of an orange — but it is not edible as-is.
Instead, the fruit is harvested for its zest or the essential oil found in the rind. Both can be added to a variety of recipes that call for citrus flavor, including sweets like baked goods and marmalades, cocktails, and marinades for meat or fish. It also makes for an interesting addition to savory sauces like pesto.
A Japanese citrus fruit, this round, green lime isn’t edible, but is harvested for its juice, which adds refreshing tartness to a range of dishes. What sets sudachi apart from other lime varieties is its high juice content.
Also called pummelo or shaddock, this giant, Southeast Asian citrus tastes like grapefruit, but with the addition of delicate, floral notes and sweetness that mellow the sourness of grapefruit. Honey pomelos are particularly popular and feature a pale, yellow rind.
Pomelos can be eaten fresh by removing the rind and pith, but the sweet-grapefruit flavor is also fantastic in juices, cocktails, marmalades, dressings, marinades, salsas, salads, and more.
Citrus is no longer limited to just oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits. With new citrus fruits hitting the market, there’s plenty of room to expand flavor profiles and innovate recipes to delight even the most discerning palates.