Louisiana Citrus is always a treat to eat and is especially plentiful this year.
The most widely available Louisiana grown fruit is the navel orange. This seedless variety begins to ripen in November. The large Louisiana navel is a deep orange and has a thin skin. These oranges are easy to peel and real juicy.
Satsumas are a real treat this time of the year. This year’s Satsuma crop is early, sweet and plentiful. They have a distinctive, sweet flavor and a loose skin that makes them easy to peel-especially for children.
Early season Satsumas are usually green with a hint of yellow in the peel. Later varieties are orange. Whichever you choose, you’ll be delighted with the taste. Satsumas make a delicious squeezed juice.
Louisiana grown grapefruit, lemons and kumquats are also a treat. Now is the time to enjoy them.
Oranges, grapefruit and tangerines are loaded with vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid. In fact, one orange provides more than a full day’s supply of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants, acting as a scavenger to neutralize harmful elements naturally occurring with the body. It also helps fight cell and tissue damage that could lead to disease. Vitamin C helps the body fight infection and may help reduce risk of diseases such as cancer. Vitamin C makes a body grow and it helps babies grow and build strong bones and teeth.
Look for firm, heavy fruit with smooth skins free from soft spots. Don’t let the orange color be your only guide. Even light green skins can hide ripe fruit.
Citrus will keep several days at room temperature or for several weeks in the refrigerator in vented plastic bags or vegetable bins.
Small fruit can be just as juicy and sweet as larger fruit. Most citrus fruits make excellent juice, but acids make the juice bitter within four hours. Drink it fresh.
Lemon juice frozen in ice cube trays and stored in plastic bags will provide “fresh” juice for many months.
For more information on Louisiana citrus, contact the LSU AgCenter office at 337-332-2181.