Citrus 101

Buying, Storing, and Handling

In addition to being delicious and so good for you, Sunkist® citrus fruits are readily available in stores everywhere. They store well, are easy to prepare and offer an unlimited array of uses.

buy handle store



Buying Citrus

Look for fruit that are firm and heavy for their size, with bright, colorful skins. Avoid fruit with bruised, wrinkled or discolored skins; this indicates the fruit is old or has been stored incorrectly. Citrus fruit peel may vary in thickness, depending on weather conditions during the growing season.

Western climates make for bright colored oranges. However, don't worry if you see a Valencia with slightly green-colored skin. "Regreening" is a natural process that can occur in warm weather, even though the fruit is deliciously ripe!

• For more information about oranges, click here.
• For more information about lemons, click here.
• For more information about grapefruit, click here.

Back to top



Storing Citrus

Most citrus will keep at room temperature for several days. For best results, store citrus in a plastic bag or the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.

Freezing Citrus
Take advantage of times when your favorite citrus fruits are plentiful by preparing and freezing some for later.

The fresh-squeezed juice and grated peel or zest may be refrigerated or frozen. Grated peel can be frozen and used as needed to provide zest to recipes. Whole citrus fruit should not be frozen, but for a dramatic and healthy dessert, freeze hollowed out citrus rinds filled with orange, lemon or grapefruit sorbet.

Back to top



Peeling and Handling Citrus

There's more than one way to peel an orange! Here are a few of our favorite techniques for getting the best from every piece of fresh citrus. For best results, be sure to use a sharp knife.

The "Basketball" Peeling Method
Slice off the stem end of the fruit. Without cutting into the "meat" of the fruit, score the peel with a knife or the Sunkist Citrus Peeler™ into quarters like a basketball. Pull the peel away with your fingers.

The "Round and Round" Peeling Method
Using a slightly sawing motion, cut only the outer colored peel away in a continuous spiral, leaving the white membrane. Cutting lengthwise with curve of fruit, remove the white membrane.

Citrus Segments
Peel an orange, grapefruit, or tangerine by hand, or with the Sunkist Citrus Peeler™. Gently separate the fruit along the natural divisions.

Citrus Sections
With knife, peel an orange or grapefruit. Working over a bowl to reserve the juice, cut along both sides of each dividing membrane and lift out sections from center.

Bite-sized pieces
Cut a peeled orange or grapefruit in half lengthwise and, with a shallow "V" shape cut, remove the white center core. Place the halves cut-side-down; cut lengthwise and crosswise.

Basic Wheel Slices
Cut a thin slice from both ends of peeled or unpeeled fruit. Then slice the fruit crosswise into the desired thickness. Cut cartwheels in half for half-cartwheel slices.

Unpeeled Smiles or Wedges
For easy-to-eat orange "smiles," cut the fruit in half crosswise; then cut 3 or 4 wedges from each half. For traditional wedges, cut the fruit in half lengthwise; then cut each half into wedges.

Grated Peel
Wash and dry the fruit. Using a citrus peel grater, with quick downward strokes, remove the outer colored layer of peel, also called the zest. If using a cheese grater, be sure to use light pressure and avoid the white pith.

Grate the zest over wax paper then put the desired amount into a measuring spoon; do not pack. Grated citrus zest freezes well. Seal some in a plastic bag and pop it into the freezer for next time!

Back to top