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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Fruits & Nuts

TIP OF THE DAY: The New “Dirty Dozen”

The “dirty dozen” of produce refers to those fruits and vegetables that have the most pesticide residues. If you’re going to buy organic versus conventional produce, these are the foods to buy.

Since agricultural practices change, The Environmental Working Group (EWG) creates an annual Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides to reduce your exposure to chemical pesticides.

It ranks 48 popular fruits and vegetables by their pesticide loads. The rankings are based on lab tests done [mostly] by the USDA, which tests more than 34,000 samples of common food crops for pesticide residue.

Rinsing and peeling conventional produce does not remove all of the chemical residue. Some plants absorb pesticides through the peel.

Nor does washing and peeling change a food’s ranking, because the USDA lab tests produce as it is typically eaten: washed and, when applicable, peeled.

But the EWG underscores that the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks from pesticide exposure. In other words, eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating enough fruits and vegetables at all.

Crops differ in their hardiness—whether they’re more or less susceptible to intense heat, cold, rainfall, drought, fungus or other disease, etc.



An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but it also has the highest amount of pesticide residue. The solution: Buy organic! Photo courtesy US Apples.

In the case of bugs, some crops are more readily attacked and destroyed by the hungry little critters. So chemical pesticides are used to kill the bugs, fungus, etc. before they kill the crop.

Organic farmers use natural pesticides and fertilizers—no chemicals. The expense of growing crops this way leads to the higher cost of organic produce.

Some shocking statistics:

  • The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other produce.
  • A single grape sample and a sweet bell pepper sample contained 15 diffent pesticides.
  • A whopping 99% of apple samples, 98% of peaches and 97% of nectarines tested positive for at least one pesticide.
  • Single samples of cherry tomatoes, nectarines, peaches, imported snap peas and strawberries each showed 13 different pesticides.


    Eat all the asparagus you like: They’re one of the most pesticide-free veggies. Photo courtesy California Asparagus Commission.



    Ranked from highest (dirtiest) to lowest (cleanest of the Dirty Dozen) are some of our favorite fruits and vegetables:

  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Imported Snap Peas
  • Potatoes

    We’ve been buying organic celery for years (it’s been on the Dirty Dozen list for a long time). But we’re going to go our of our way for organic apples and strawberries, two fruits we eat almost daily.

    We’ll also buy more of the Clean Fifteen, produce with the least amount of pesticide residue.

  • Avocados
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Frozen Sweet Peas
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Mangoes
  • Papayas
  • Kiwi
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet Potatoes
    As an American consumer, the choice is yours!


    PRODUCT: Green Almonds

    After limited pickings during the winter months, spring has begun to yield food treasures. But you may have to be a good treasure hunter to find things that are new (to you) and special.

    One tip is to ask when you see something unfamiliar, like the fuzzy green “beans” in the photo. They’re actually green (unripe) almonds.

    For a window of three to four weeks, reports Hannah Kaminsky, green almonds may be hiding in plain sight at your local farmers market. You may need a sharp eye: Less known products are often placed behind the more popular fare. Writes Hannah of these immature nuts:

    “One would never mistake them for the raw or roasted almonds they can become, which is part of the appeal. Catch familiar nuts on the unripe side and you’ll be treated to a whole new snacking sensation.

    “The fuzzy exteriors belie a firm, crunchy texture, wholly edible and entirely delicious from the outside shell to the kernel. Their short window of availability is dictated by the maturation of the almond, as it grows and transforms into the crunchy nut we all know and love.



    Unripe green almonds, fuzzy on the outside, remind us that almonds are botanically related to peaches. The soft green shell will harden into the tough brown shell of the mature almond. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.

    “Before that happens, the immature almond has a pleasantly bitter taste, with an overriding flavor of lemons and cucumbers, sometimes with a hint of tart grape in the background. Juicy yet crisp, they’re impossibly addictive when eaten with just a light pinch of salt.

    “You can also add them to salads, whole or chopped; use them for garnishes on chilled soups (make Spanish chilled almond soup with them!); combine them with spring peas; or otherwise toss them into any raw or cooked food.

    “But they’re best when allowed to shine solo. At most, cure them in a lightly sweet and sour brine, and you’ll have the stuff of pickle plate dreams.”

    Their soft-yet-firm texture can be like a grape, depending on how unripe they are when picked. But there’s a sense of the nut it’s going to become.

    Almond lovers: Head to your farmers market, or find a friend with an almond tree!



    TIP OF THE DAY: Eat Sunny Food

    It’s no fun looking out the window on the first day of spring, waiting for the snowfall to begin. So to counter the gray skies and eat something bright and sunny.

    Anticipating the weather, we acquired a ripe papaya and other fruits for this recipe from Hannah Kaminsky, who is wintering in Hawaii.

    “At the Salted Lemon Smoothie & Juice Bar,” she writes, “they’ve perfected the art of building an unsinkable papaya boat. Local orange and pink-hued fruits, more brilliant than a sunrise in paradise, are hollowed out and stuffed to the brim with granola, yogurt, banana slices and blueberries, and finished with a light shower of chia seeds.

    “The contrast between creamy yogurt and crunchy cereal, flavored with the ripe and juicy fresh fruits, is so simple yet so satisfying,” she concludes.

    And on a day like today, in the gloomy Northeast, it provides something bright that says “Happy spring!”


    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 1 medium or large papaya, peeled and seeded
  • 1 cup granola
  • 1 6-ounce yogurt, fruit, plain or vanilla
  • 1 medium banana, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries or raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds


    Have papaya as part of a sunny breakfast or lunch. Photo © Hanna Kaminsky.

  • Optional: sweetener to taste* (agave, honey, maple syrup)

    *If the fruit isn’t sweet enough.



    A halved papaya with a fanciful cut. Photo ©
    Hannah Kaminsky.



    1. DIVIDE a half cup of granola between two plates to set up a “foundation” for the papaya boat. This will help prevent it from capsizing when you eat it, and it also provides a layer of crunchy cereal to enjoy.

    2. PLACE the remaining granola inside the papaya halves (1/4 cup inside of each) and top that with the yogurt, spooning equal amounts into the two boats.

    3. ARRANGE the sliced banana and berries as desired. Top with a sprinkle of chia seeds.

    4. FINISH with a light drizzle of syrup as desired.

    1. When papaya ripens, the green skin will turn mostly yellow with patches of red. Smell the fruit at the stem end; a ripe papaya will be fragrant.

    2. Squeeze the papaya gently; it will give a little if it is ripe. Avoid papayas that are overly soft. You can ripen the papaya on the counter in a brown paper bag overnight, or place it in a sunny spot for a day or two.

    3. You can refrigerate a ripe papaya in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 3 days.

    You can use papaya in any number of recipes, or simply eat it like a melon. Wash the outside, cut the fruit lengthwise and discard the seeds.

    But do the seeds have any other use?

    While there is no scientific evidence, in some circles the seeds have caught on as a potential health food. They are nontoxic, should you want to try them.

    You can eat papaya seeds whole, or can grind them up. Here’s how to do it from WikiHow, which claims that the taste is “fairly similar” to ground pepper.

    The skin should not be eaten.

  • Yellow/Orange fruits: apples, apricots, cape gooseberries, cantaloupe, golden kiwi, grapefruit, lemons, mangoes, nectarines, oranges/mandarins, papapyas, peaches, pears, persimmons, pineapples, tangerines, yellow figs, yellow watermelon.
  • Yellow/Orange vegetables: acorn/butternut/pumpkin/other squash varieties, beets, bell peppers, carrots, corn, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, summer squash, Yukon gold/other yellow potatoes, yellow tomatoes, yellow winter squash varieties.
  • Red/pink fruits: apples, blood oranges, cherries, cranberries, grapes, grapefruit, pears, pomegranates, raspberries, red pears, strawberries, watermelon.
  • Red/pink vegetables: beets, bell peppers, radicchio, radishes, red onions, red potatoes, rhubarb, tomatoes.


    TIP OF THE DAY: Cherimoya


    When our colleague Hannah Kaminsky mentioned that cherimoya was her favorite fruit, we were curious. Depending on where you live, you may not come across this heart-shaped subtropical fruit often.

    We had to head to a Latin American supermarket uptown. But seek it out we did, and the trip was worth it. The fruit’s blend of banana, mango, passionfruit and pineapple notes is luscious. The ivory-colored flesh is creamy, similar to a ripe peach.

    Also called a custard apple in the U.S., cherimoya is believed to have originated in the Andes Mountains. The name originates from the Quechua (Inca) word chirimuya, meaning “cold seeds” (because the seeds germinate at high altitudes). It grows as a shrub or tree.



    A cherimoya. Now you know! Photo courtesy Baldor Food.



    The pale green, shingled skin must be handled with care to avoid bruising. Choose unblemished fruit that is firm and allow it to ripen at room temperature.

    As it ripens, the skin will turn a darker green and will yield to gentle pressure. Refrigerate soft fruit and consume it as soon as possible for the best flavor.

    To serve, chill the cherimoya, cut it in half, spoon out the seeds and eat the flesh with a spoon. It can also be turned into desserts, such as crêpes, custard (hence the name “custard apple)”, dessert sauce (purée), fruit salad (as with apples, dip cut fruit in lemon or orange juice to prevent darkening), mousse, pie filling, pudding and sorbet.

    You can freeze the cherimoya and eat it as ice cream, from the shell. Definitely try this!

    And you can drink it. Whip up a shake, smoothie, cherimoya Daiquiri or other fruity cocktail.

    To usher in spring, which began today, make Hannah Kaminsky’s tropical cocktail or smoothie, Cherimoya Lava Flow.



    Celebrate spring with this Cherimoya Lava Flow. Photo and recipe courtesy Hannah Kaminsky.



    From Hawaii, where her local farmers market has plenty of cherimoyas, Hannah writes: “It’s a pricy treat to be sure,” even though grown locally. Her favorite way to enjoy the ripe, custard-like flesh is to dig in with a spoon.

    “With an overripe fruit, though,” she advises, “the only thing one one can do is blend and drink it. That’s where the idea to create a tropical shake came from, playing off the classic umbrella drink, the lava flow.

    “Fiery red rivulets of strawberry ‘lava’ flow throughout a classic coconut-pineapple rendition of this refreshing island staple, finished with a kiss of light rum. The sweet, creamy richness of cherimoya transforms the drink into an exotic new experience, which is just as luscious with or without the booze.

    “In lieu of fresh cherimoya, you can substitute either 1 medium banana or 2/3 cup young coconut meat for a different, yet still delicious, taste.”

    Of course, you can leave out the rum for a tropical smoothie. Substitute an equal amount of pineapple juice.



    Ingredients For 2 Servings

    For The Strawberry Lava Sauce

  • 1 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen/thawed
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar or light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    For The Creamy Cherimoya Cocktail

  • 1 medium cherimoya
  • 1 cup diced fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4-1/2 cup light rum
  • Optional garnish: fresh pineapple wedges

    1. PREPARE the strawberry sauce first by combining the strawberries, sugar and lime juice in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook gently for about 10 minutes, just until the berries have softened and the sugar dissolved. Transfer to a blender and thoroughly purée so that no chunks of fruit remain. Strain out the seeds if desired and set aside.

    2. RINSE and dry the blender bowl and return it to the base. Slice the cherimoya in half and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh, discarding the black seeds as you encounter them. Add the cherimoya to the blender, along with the pineapple, coconut milk and 1/4 cup of rum. Blend on high speed until completely smooth. Add more rum to taste.

    3. DIVIDE the cocktail between two glasses and drizzle the strawberry “lava” into each one, aiming for the sides of the glass to create the greatest visual impact. Serve with a tall straw and an additional wedge of fresh pineapple for garnish.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Kumquats


    Kumquats are the size of large olives. Photo courtesy White Flower Farm.


    How can it be that we’ve never published a piece about the kumquat? Today’s tip remedies that oversight.

    Native to China and now grown throughout Southeast Asia (plus the U.S. and elsewhere), the kumquat is a tiny citrus fruit that is entirely edible, skin and all. The orange flesh is juicy, acidic and tart (some varieties have are more tart than others). The skin is fragrant and sweet.

    Kumquats grow on small trees or bushes. They looking like wee, oval oranges, the size and shape of a large olive.

    The word “kumquat” comes from the Cantonese kin kü, meaning golden orange. The earliest historical reference appears in China in the 12th century.

    The tiny fruits were introduced to Europe in 1846 by Robert Fortune, a collector for the London Horticultural Society. Not long after, they arrived in North America, and found a happy growing ground in Florida.


    People who have never tried kumquats may look at them in the produce aisle, wondering what to do with them. As a citrus fruit, they work wherever other citrus fruits are employed. You don’t peel them or juice them, but serve them halved, sliced or whole. Some opportunities:

  • Braised, with fish or poultry
  • Breakfast breads and muffins
  • Cakes, cookies, pies, frostings
  • Candied
  • Dressing/stuffings
  • Fruit salads (sliced)
  • Garnishes/decorations, including cocktail garnishes
  • Green salads (sliced)
  • Ice cubes, whole, haved or sliced
  • Jelly/marmalade/preserves
  • Liqueur
  • Tea, hot or iced (sliced)

    Here are dozens of kumquat recipes from Kumquat Growers of Florida—from kumquat ice cream to kumquat tea to kumquat cranberry relish.
    Kumquat recipes from THE NIBBLE:

  • Field Salad With Kumquats And Strawberries (recipe)
  • Limoncello-Kumquat Cocktail (recipe)
  • Pernod Fruit Salad (recipe)
    A final idea: halved kumquats, topped with cream cheese and pepper jelly, as an hors d’oeuvre or tea time snack.

    Look for firm, blemish-free fruit with a fresh scent. Avoid kumquats with green skins—they aren’t ripe and won’t ripen off the vine.

    You can refrigerate kumquats whole for up to one month, in a plastic storage bag. Freezing is not recommended.



    Use kumquats in cocktails or as a garnish. Photo courtesy Limonce Limoncello.




    FRUIT: Ugly And Uniq


    The Ugli fruit has inner beauty, and snappy citrus flavor. Photo courtesy


    Our recent daily tips have included vegetables to cure the winter doldrums. That goes for fruits, too.

    Take the Uniq fruit, wrinkled and rough with splotchy coloring and surface scarring. Its skin is wrapped very loosely over the pulp. It’s the shar-pei of fruits.

    But Uniq tastes delicious: a cross of grapefruit and tangelo, a refreshing citrus taste that’s very juicy. It looks like a grapefruit’s great-grandfather (no disrespect, great-granddad). It has been sold under the brand name Ugli fruit since 1934.

    And its thick, loose skin makes it much easier to peel than other citrus fruit.

    It’s now in season. You can find the fruits ranging in size from a large orange to a large grapefruit, the color ranging from yellow mottled with lime green to darker green to light orange. You can smell the fragrance through the peel.

    The Uniq/Ugli fruit was discovered as an accidental hybrid seedling in Jamaica. is a variety of tangelo, a citrus fruit created by hybridizing a grapefruit (or pomelo, the parent of the grapefruit, another accidental hybrid).

    Store the fruit at room temperature for up to one week or two weeks in the fridge, and enjoy it as you would any citrus.

    If you can’t find it locally, you can order the fruit from

    Keep your eyes peeled for:

  • Kumquats
  • Starfruit (carambola)


    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Applesauce & Applesauce Bar


    Set up an “applesauce bar” for breakfast,
    dessert or snacking. Photo courtesy U.S.


    Mom always made applesauce from scratch. Her apple of choice was the McIntosh, and she cooked them with the peel. It generated a pretty pink color when strained through a food mill.

    When we first had commercial applesauce from a jar (that would be you, Mott’s) at a friend’s house, we couldn’t believe the difference in flavor and texture. That is to say, Mom’s was the winner by far.

    For breakfast, lunch or a healthful dessert or snack, set up an apple sauce bar with custom toppings.

    We share our Mom’s stove top recipe—so easy!—as well as a slow cooker recipe from the U.S. Apple Association.

    If you’re avoiding refined sugar, you can cook the apples without sugar and sweeten the cooled applesauce with a noncaloric sweetener, agave, honey, etc.


  • Fruit: fresh berries; dried blueberries, cranberries, cherries, raisins
  • Nuts, raw or toasted: almonds, walnuts
  • Seeds: chia, flax seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds
  • Spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice
  • Sweeteners: agave, honey, maple syrup


    This applesauce is delicious in its natural state, but if you like to experiment you can try adding spices or lemon zest. Test your preference by seasoning half the batch after you remove it from the heat.

    We easily devoured the two quarts of applesauce in a week; but if it’s too much for you, rather than reduce the recipe, stick it in the freezer. It freezes beautifully.

    Ingredients For 2 Quarts

  • 4 pounds McIntosh apples
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar (add another 1/4 cup if the apples aren’t sweet enough)
  • Optional: 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg or lemon zest, or a combination

    1. QUARTER and seed the apples; don’t peel. Add to a pot of boiling water that covers the apples, top the pot with the lid, reduce the heat to simmer and cook slowly, until the apples are mushy, about 15 minutes.

    2. TASTE and adjust the sugar if needed. If the texture is too thick for you, add water, a tablespoon at a time, until the desired thickness is reached. After adjusting either, re-boil for a second or two to blend.

    3. LET cool. Process through a food mill. (If you remove the peel before cooking, you can pulse in a food processor). Serve at room temperature and refrigerate the extra.



    Ingredients For 3-3/4 Cups

  • 3 pounds apples, peeled and cut in chunks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 pinch salt

    1. PLACE the peeled apple chunks in the slow cooker and sprinkle with sugar, lemon, vanilla and salt. Stir to mix. Cover the cooker and cook on low for 4 hours.

    2. UNCOVER the cooker and use a potato masher to coarsely mash the apples. For a really smooth sauce, you can purée in a food processor or blender, or use a food mill. Be careful when handling the hot apples and juice, cover the lid of the processor or blender with a folded towel and hold it closed as you turn on the machine.

    3. TRANSFER the applesauce to sterilized jars and let cool. Cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks.



    McIntosh apples, Mom’s favorites for applesauce. Photo courtesy Baldor Food.



    The U.S. Apple Association tells us that the United States has approximately 7,500 apple producers who grow nearly 200 varieties of apples, on approximately 328,000 acres. Nearly 100 varieties are in commercial production; the remainder are heirloom varieties grown in backyards and small-scale farming, generally sold at farmers’ markets.

    The 2013 crop was estimated at 248.6 million bushels, with a wholesale value of the U.S. apple crop is more than $2.7 billion. Sixty-seven percent of the crop is grown for fresh consumption and 33% goes for processing (applesauce, pie filling, juice, fresh slices, etc.).

    Apples are grown commercially in 32 states. The top ten apple producing states are, in order of size of crop:

  • Washington
  • New York
  • Michigan
  • Pennsylvania
  • California
  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Ohio
  • Idaho
    The Top 10 apple varieties grown in the U.S. are, in order of crop size:

  • Red Delicious
  • Gala
  • Golden Delicious
  • Fuji
  • Granny Smith
  • McIntosh
  • Honeycrisp
  • Rome
  • Empire
  • Cripps Pink (Pink Lady)


    TIP OF THE DAY: Citrus As A Cake Garnish Or Base

    With a limited offering of sweet fresh fruit during the winter, turn to seasonal citrus to dress your desserts.

    Angel cake, cheesecake, olive oil cake, pound cake, sponge cake: all are highly receptive to a garnish of citrus segments (or, depending on how you look at it, a citrus fruit salad).

    In addition to cheery color, if you use the citrus as a base you can place a smaller piece of cake atop a larger amount of fruit.

    Go for a blend of color—rosy blood oranges, pink cara cara oranges, conventional oranges, pink or red grapefruits (with perhaps some white grapefruit for contrast). You can also add some kumquats and something from the Mandarin group: clementines, satsumas, tangelos and tangerines.

    Cut some of the fruits into disks, and supreme others into segments. “Supreme” is the term that refers to removing the skin, pith, membranes and seeds of a citrus fruit and separating it into segments (wedges). Here’s a YouTube video showing you how to do it.

    One note: You may not want your cake sitting in the citrus juices. If so, be sure to drain the citrus well—but save those delicious juices and drink them or add them to a vinaigrette.



    Create a colorful citrus garnish for plain cakes. Photo of olive oil cake courtesy Frog
    Hollow Farm.



    I am not an orange: I’m a mandarin! Photo courtesy Noble Juice.



    A mandarin is erroneously called “mandarin orange”, but the two are separate species. Even Produce Pete calls clementines and mandarins “oranges,” so do what you can to spread the truth.

    There are three basic citrus types—citron, mandarin and pummelo—from which all modern citrus derives via hybrids or backcrosses.

    While they look like small oranges and are often called “mandarin oranges,” mandarins are a separate species that includes the clementine, mineola (red tangelo), murcott (also called honey tangerine), tangelo, temple and satsuma, among others.

  • Oranges are from the order Sapindales, family Rutaceae, genus Citrus and species C. × sinensis. They are believed to have originated in southern China and northeastern India. They were first cultivated in China around 2500 B.C.E.
  • Mandarins are from the order Sapindales, family Rutaceae and genus Citrus but differentiate at the species level: C. reticulata. Reticulata, Latin for reticulated, refers to the pattern of interlacing lines of the pith. Mandarins, which originated in Southeast Asia, are also identifiable by their loose skin.
    According to the horticulture experts at U.C. Davis, the mandarin reached the Mediterranean basin in the early 1800s, and arrived in Florida about 1825.You can read more here.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Meyer Lemons

    During the cold winter months with most fruits out of season, citrus become a go-to fruit. Calamondins, clementines, grapefruits, kumquats, lemons, limes, mandarins, oranges, pomelos, satsumas, sweet limettas, tangelo, tangerine, ugli fruit and even more exotic varieties: All are waiting for you to enjoy.

    Cut them into salads, mix them into sauces, turn them into desserts and enjoy [most of them] as hand fruit.

    While your local stores and farmers markets may not carry calamondins or sweet limettas, they should be able to scare up some Meyer lemons. Deep canary yellow, these citrus treats are sweeter and less acidic than other lemons.

    A cross between a true lemon and either a sweet orange or a mandarin, Citrus × meyeri was first brought to the U.S. from China in 1908 by Frank Nicholas Meyer, an employee of the United States Department of Agriculture who, as an “agricultural explorer,” discovered it there.

    Of course, it was no discovery to the Chinese, who had long been growing the lemon in pots as an ornamental tree. Ornamental trees were planted in California yards, and the Meyer became popular in the U.S. when “rediscovered” by Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in the 1990s. Other chefs and personalities like Martha Stewart began featuring them in recipes; groves were planted and the fruits showed up in markets.



    Meyer lemons are much sweeter and more flavorful than the Bearss and Lisbon varieties commonly found in American grocery stores. Photo courtesy

    Much smaller than the supermarket Lisbon lemon, with sweeter juice, less acid, brighter flavor, a thinner peel and more floral scent and flavor than other lemon varieties (more juice than Lisbon lemons, too!), Meyers are a hit among those who have brought them home. So today’s tip is: Bag a batch and decide how to use them.

    The rind and juice can be substituted wherever regular lemons are called for, in sweet and savory foods and beverages.

    Check out the different types of lemons in our Lemon Glossary.

    If you find yourself addicted to Meyer lemons, here’s another tip: Squeeze the juice, freeze it in an ice cube tray and then store the cubes in double plastic freezer bags.

    Defrost a cube whenever you need a hit of Meyer lemon.


  • Beer (squeeze a wedge into a lager, wheat beer or other lighter style)
  • Cocktails
  • Espresso (use the peel)
  • Hot or iced tea
  • Lemonade (recipe)
  • Meyer limoncello (recipe)
  • Regular or sparkling water
  • Simple syrup (recipe)


    Meyer lemons were originally houseplants in China. You can still buy them as houseplants. These are from Sur La Table.



  • Aïoli (recipe)
  • Any recipe that calls for lemon
  • Avgolemono soup or sauce (recipe)
  • Beurre citron (lemon beurre blanc), a delicious sauce for salmon or Arctic char (recipe below)
  • Freshly squeezed atop the dish
  • Hollandaise sauce (recipe)
  • Vinaigrette: replace half or all the vinegar and add some of the zest
  • Wedge garnish

  • Baked or frozen soufflé
  • Ice cream, sorbet, granita
  • Lemon chiffon cake
  • Lemon bundt, pound cake or cupcakes
  • Lemon custard (also delicious as layer cake filling)
  • Lemon meringue pie

  • General garnish
  • Gremolata (minced parsley, garlic and lemon zest used as a condiment with meats—recipe)
  • Lemon shortbread (recipe)
  • Meringue cookies (recipe)
  • Whipped cream

  • Candied lemon peel
  • Fruit curd
  • Lemon centerpiece—enjoy the aroma for a few days before you use them
  • Preserved lemons

    This recipe is adapted from Alton Brown, who offers this trick: You can make the sauce in advance and store it in a thermos, where it will stay hot until until ready to serve.


  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces white wine
  • 2 ounces lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • Salt and white pepper, to taste

    1. COMBINE the shallots, white wine and lemon juice in a non-reactive saucepan over high heat. Reduce to 2 tablespoons.

    2. ADD the cream; when the liquid bubbles, reduce the heat to low. Add half the butter, one cube at a time, whisking continuously. Remove from the heat and then add the remaining cubes, continuing to whisk until the mixture is fully emulsified and has reached a rich sauce consistency.

    3. SEASON with salt and white pepper to taste.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Key Limes Are In Season


    Darker green Persian/Tahitian limes and the
    smaller, yellower Key limes. Photo by Evan
    Dempsey | THE NIBBLE.


    We love the filling of Key lime pie. Not especially a crust fan, we often make the filling alone, to serve crustless in pots de crème or ramekins.

    If you’ve had Key lime pie made with fresh-squeezed, as opposed to bottled, juice, you know what an exquisite difference that is. But for many years, Key limes weren’t available nationwide, and then, they were limited to their season of June through August.

    So great is America’s love of Key lime pie that the fruits are now available year-round. That means no more bottled juice!

    Key limes (Citrus aurantifolia Swingle), also known as Mexican limes and West Indies limes, are grown in the Florida Keys, Mexico and the West Indies. They are much smaller than standard supermarket limes, known as Persian or Tahitian limes (Citrus x latifolia). You can see the relative sizes in the photo. (See all the different types of limes in our Lime Glossary.

    About the size of a ping pong ball, the Key lime is rounder and more fragrant than the Persian/Tahitian lime, with a much thinner rind. It has more seeds, and we’ll keep it that way: Breeding out features like seeds tends to breed out flavor as well.

    But the real reason people love Key lime is that it’s less acidic than the Persian/Tahitian: pleasantly tart rather than puckery sour. It makes a big difference in a dessert. You can make Key lime pie with regular lime juice, but it will have more tang.


    When purchasing Key limes, don’t worry if the skin is more yellow than green, or vice versa. Choose limes that are heavy for their size, which indicates more juice. The limes can be kept at room temperature for several days, or will keep for a week or more in the fridge (keep them in a plastic storage bag or wrap them in plastic wrap).

    As a general tip, before you juice limes or any citrus, bring them to room temperature; then roll them on the counter under firm pressure from your hand. This will release more juice from the sacs.

    The Key lime, a.k.a. Mexican lime and West Indies lime, originated in neither the Florida Keys nor Mexico nor the West Indies, but in the Indo-Malayan region of southern Asia. It was unknown in Europe before the Crusades and is presumed to have been brought to North Africa and the Near East by Arabs.

    It was brought by European Crusaders from Palestine to the Mediterranean countries. In the mid-13th century, the lime was cultivated and well-known in Italy and probably also in France. It was taken to the Americas by Spanish and Portuguese explorers in the early part of the 16th century, where it became naturalized in southern Florida, notably in the Florida Key. It was grown in southern Florida at least since the early half of the 1800s, often as an ornamental yard tree.

    By 1883 Key limes were being grown commercially on a small scale. When pineapple cultivation was abandoned in the Florida Keys because of soil depletion and the 1906 hurricane, farmers began to plant Key limes as a substitute crop. Because transporting delicate fruit was iffy in those days, Key limes were pickled in salt water and shipped north, where they became a popular children’s snack. (Remember Amy March in Little Women pining for pickled limes?)



    Use them wherever you might use regular lime juice: in cocktails like Gin & Tonics and Margaritas, in salad dressings (including fruit salad, where just a squeeze will suffice), on chicken and fish/seafood, in marinades, sauces and soups.

    But the flavors soar in desserts. Try these Key Lime Bars (recipe adapted from Martha Stewart).



  • 1 cup plus 2-1/2 tablespoons finely ground graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
  • 2/3 cup fresh Key lime juice (about 23 limes)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Garnish: 2 Key limes, thinly sliced into half-moons


    Replace the ubiquitous lemon bars with Key lime bars. This recipe from My Baking Addition incorporates coconut into the crust. Photo courtesy My Baking Addition.



    1. MAKE the crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F. MIX the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter in a small bowl. Press evenly onto bottom of an 8-inch square glass baking dish. Bake until dry and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Do not turn off the oven.

    2. MAKE the filling: Put the egg yolks and lime zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on high speed until very thick, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium. Add the condensed milk in a slow, steady stream, mixing constantly. Raise the speed to high and mix until thick, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low. Add lime juice and mix until just combined.

    3. SPREAD the filling evenly over the crust with a spatula. Bake until the filling is just set, about 10 minutes, rotating the baking dish halfway through. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Cut into 2-inch-square bars. Ungarnished bars can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days.

    4. MAKE the optional whipped cream prior to serving. Place the cream in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the clean whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Garnish the bars with whipped cream and serve.
    Cook’s Note


  • Key Lime Pie Recipe
  • Key Lime Pot de Creme Recipe


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