It is that time of year when the Kishu Mandarins, Honey tangerines, Ruby Red grapefruit, Meyer lemons and Cara Cara oranges are among the many citrus trees ready to be plucked. Why not make an easy quickbread bursting with citrus flavor? Our Citrus Loaf is a great breakfast addition or take it on the go. We added some candied zest and a light glaze on the top for just the right amount of sweetness. A crowd pleaser that is fast and easy to make on a budget.
A Citrus Loaf quickbread is the perfect solution for taking advantage of the many citrus fruits in season. Some of you may be fortunate to live in the right growing climate for citrus. Here is a list of our top 14 favorite citrus fruits and their respective seasons. See our post for our recommended list of online produce suppliers with curated bundle options delivered fresh to your door.
What fruits should I use for the Citrus Loaf?
Citrus fruits are well known for their antioxidant abilities. Many of them are high in lycopene, fiber, potassium, beta-carotene, vitamin A and vitamin C depending on the fruit. Citrus fruits tend to be acidic with moderate levels of natural sugar. They range in beautiful colors from yellow to pink, orange, green and reddish hues. Use any combination of fresh citrus fruits in season. Try to balance this with a combination of sweet, tart and sour.
1. Cara Cara Orange ~ January – May
If you love sweet and juicy oranges, then the Cara Cara is it. While the outside looks like a typical orange, the pulp is a deep rich hue of pink almost like a grapefruit. But, don’t let the color fool you, they are very mildly acidic with an attractive sweetness and flavor that will make you an addict.
2. Clementine Mandarin Orange ~ November – February
A hybrid variety belonging to the mandarin family that includes tangerines, these are easy to peel and great for snacking.
3. Kishu Mandarin Orange ~ November – February
Small, seedless, very sweet and easy to peel, the Kishu Orange is popular in cooking applications. It is a common citrus tree in the backyards of California.
4. Oroblancos ~ September – December
This is a cross between a pomelo and a grapefruit with an exterior rind that ranges from green to yellow. The Oroblanco are closer to the white grapefruit variety, but less acidic. They are a seedless variety known for their sweetness also referred to as “Sweeties Grapefruit”.
5. Meyer Lemons ~ November – January
Originating in China, Meyer lemons are grown all over the world. They are known for their smooth skin and less acidic slightly sweeter juice. It is a highly sought after fruit used by chefs and pastry chefs. Alice Waters of Chez Panisse is credited as one of the pioneers that elevated this once obscure fruit to the top of the culinary world. See our post on preserved Meyer lemons.
6. Minneola Tangelo ~ January – March
Tangelos are very distinct in that they look like an orange with a small protrusion that sticks up from the top stem. A go to fruit for cooking when Cara Cara Oranges are sold out, they have a good balance of sweetness with a subtle tartness. They are a hybrid of a grapefruit and mandarin orange. The rind is on the slightly thicker side with a bright orange juicy interior.
7. Navel Oranges ~ October – February
The top of the these oranges resembles a tiny navel, hence the name and the discernible visual difference between other oranges. They are one of the most common commercially cultivated oranges on the market alongside their cousin the Valencia Orange. They are perfectly round with a nice orange interior making them the poster fruit of oranges. Versatile in many cooking applications, their peak season is during the winter months.
8. Pink Grapefruit ~ November – June
Another common variety in the U.S., the Pink Grapefruit has a pale yellow rind with light pink fruit. It is a nearly seedless variety with exceptional juiciness and also a good balance between sweet and tart. They are slightly larger than the Ruby Red Grapefruits.
9. Pomelo (Pummelo) ~ October – May
Somewhat larger than the largest grapefruit, they are known as the mother fruit. Many grapefruit varieties descended from the Pomelo. I have friends that have never bought a Pomelo because they grew abundantly on trees in their neighborhood. The outer rind is greenish with a pale yellowish green interior. The inner segments are very easy to pick apart by hand. The flesh is is sweet, but not as juicy as other citrus fruit. However, it makes a great travel snack that is fun to eat and kids always love this fruit.
10. Ruby Red Grapefruit ~ November – May
Ruby Reds are common in local grocery stores. A product of hybridization, the rind is a yellow-orange with vibrant colors on the inside that range from pink to almost deep red. Often used in juice, these fruit are described as having a good balance between sweet and tart.
11. Satsuma Orange (Mikan) ~ October – January
From the Mandarin Orange family, the Satsuma is known as the “honey citrus”. They are of the sweeter variety and easy to peel. It is another hybrid fruit with deep origins in China. Today it is a popular citrus tree grown in California and Japan.
12. Sudachi Lime ~ October – November
Other than the Calamansi Lime used in Filipino Cuisine, the sudachi lime is one of our favorites. They are very small, perfectly green with a distinctive, unique, exquisite flavor that is different from the average lime. I admit that they are not easy to find here at home, but very popular in Japanese cuisine. I have a personal familiarity with Sudachi Lime (Citrus) because they are an essential condiment for one of my favorite dishes, Dobin-Mushi (土瓶蒸し). Pictured below is broiled Amadai (tilefish) from a restaurant in Osaka, Japan. Note the perfect wedge of Sudachi Lime.
13. W. Murcott Mandarin Orange ~ February – April
Another hybrid variety that is common in grocery stores, the Murcott is slightly darker in color than the Clementine and more oval shaped. They are similar in flavor to the Clementines, but slightly sweeter.
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14. Yuzu ~ August – February
Yuzu has become a superstar among chefs, foodies and home cooks in the modern world. Little was know about this unique citrus fruit just a few decades ago. The global popularity in Japanese cuisine brought it to the forefront. The interior juice is very sour, but with a flavor unlike any other citrus. The flavor of the rind is very fragrant and commonly used in soups, broths, beverages, raw and steamed applications. It is one of our favorite ingredients for chawan-mushi (steamed egg custard) and Ponzu. You can find bottled yuzu juice online or in many retail stores.
Yamasaki Farms is located in the southwest of the Japanese island of Shikoku, which is also home to extensive yuzu orchards. The eggs come from hens fed a diet of yuzu peel, kale, sesame seeds and corn. Yamasaki says: ‘Greatly reducing the distinctive fishy smell in eggs, we have succeeded in clothing them in a refreshing citrus scent. They taste sweet and full bodied, and the smell stirs the appetite.’mark clements
There’s Something About Citrus
I’m sort of a citrus fanatic, probably because I love acid in food and citrus has a subtle sweetness that brightens up many dishes. When my kids were younger, we could sit in the living room and devour almost an entire bag of Cuties (Mandarin Orange) or Clementine’s whenever they came into season. I used to love making lemon loaf for myself. So, why not combine all the great fruits available in season and make some bread? I also wanted to enter this is in the Instagram Citrus Challenge. Citrus zest is amazing and so underutilized. The cooking applications are endless with baking, meats, poultry, seafood, salads, dressings, sauces and raw dishes.
PREPARING THE CANDIED ZEST
We are going to start by making the candied zest first. For the Citrus Loaf, use any combination of zest. We used grapefruit, Meyer lemon, mandarin orange, tangerine, orange and tangelo. You can also juice your citrus fruit and set aside. The fruits can be juiced by hand or you could use a juicer.
*CrossEat Tip: Completely juice any leftover fruits and enjoy a refreshing citrus beverage or smoothie packed with vitamin C. Any leftover zest can be frozen and used for adding some citrus zing in desserts or savory dishes.
Combine water and sugar in a small sauce pot and bring to a boil.
Add the zest and continue cooking till most of the liquid is gone. Remove from heat.
Cool the zest on wax paper. I made the mistake of using foil. Once it has cooled, lightly chop to separate the zest that may be stuck together in one clump. Set aside till ready to use.
CITRUS LOAF BREAD
The citrus juice for the Citrus Loaf and the glaze can be any combination of fruits that you have already zested. Mixing some sour and tart fruits like lemons and grapefruits with oranges or tangerines is the best way to get achieve a good balance.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a standard sized loaf pan.
In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk eggs until light and frothy. You can use a medium high setting for this.
*Tasting Notes: Alternatively, you can use plain yogurt in place of sour cream for a healthier loaf.
Slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup vegetable oil on low speed and whisk until combined.
Change to a paddle attachment and reduce speed to a low setting. Slowly sift in dry ingredients and mix well.
Lastly, fold in the candied citrus zest.
Pour batter into standard oiled non-stick loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Remove citrus loaf from the oven and set on a wire rack too cool.
In a measuring cup, add 1 cup confectioner’s sugar. Add 3 tablespoons citrus juice and whisk until sugar is dissolved.
Slowly pour over cooled loaf and allow to set for 10 minutes before slicing.
The loaf was good, not too dense and the perfect amount of citrus flavor and sweetness. My family toasted some slices the next day with butter and loved it. For me the bread by itself was perfect. Thank you for reading about our post on homemade Citrus Loaf. Please leave a comment and enjoy!