The Gift of Citrus

Amid the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping, I remember turning to my husband in the kitchen and saying, “You know, I remember when kids would just be thrilled to get an orange and a peppermint stick for Christmas.”

He gave me “the look.” The one with the raised eyebrow that means, “What in the HECK are you talking about?”

I clarified. “Well, I guess *I* don’t remember it personally. It’s something I remember reading about in the Little House on the Prairie books. So I guess it was a long time ago. And not really my own memory.”

He let it pass. After all, I’ve been saying some rather strange things lately during this pregnancy. But the citrus thing stuck with me. When did we become so discontent with the gift of fresh fruit? Or have we?

Several days before Christmas I was out and about running errands and asked my mother if there was anything I could pick up for her. Yes, there was. Citrus. For Christmas gifts. Ironic.

I was in the Whole Foods neighborhood, and took this as a perfect opportunity to use my platform as a Whole Foods Blog Ambassador. While there were other grocery stores on the way home, I just knew that the citrus I’d find at Whole Foods would be a little more special, and perhaps, unique. I was right.

If there’s one thing that drives me batty about grocery shopping, it’s buying produce. The most perfect looking apple can be deceptively disgusting. I’ve yet to bring home a bad apple from Whole Foods (or any other bad produce for that matter), so my confidence level is high.

Right through the front doors, the bright orbs beckoned. Oranges and grapefruit and other sweet-yet-tangy options were not only abundant, but on sale. Citrus is in season, after all.

Samatsuma from Whole Foods

These stem & leaf satsumas from Whole Foods were the most delicious peel-and-eat variety of orange I’ve ever had. So. Good.

I was drawn to the stem & leaf satsumas, which were on sale for $1.68/lb. They looked so exotic and special, perfect for gifting. I was tempted to dig into these on the way home, but decided to wait. Once I did get a chance to peel and eat these little beauties, let me tell you, they’re the best citrus I’ve ever had. They’re unbelievably easy to peel, and have a mild, smooth, perfectly orange taste.

You just can't beat a simple navel orange, especially the organic variety at a great price.

You just can’t beat a simple navel orange, especially the organic variety at a great price.

Next on my list was the basic, yet beautiful, navel orange. This staple of winter-time citrus eating adds flavor and even a pop of color to brighten up any cold, dreary day. I was especially pleased to find the organic option at such a great price. After all, I planned on impaling one with whole cloves and letting is bob around in our annual batch of wassail. It’s nice knowing there weren’t any extra chemicals floating around in our delicious holiday drink.

These oroblancos were an intriguing find from Whole Foods. I'm always up for a culinary adventure!

These oroblancos were an intriguing find from Whole Foods. I’m always up for a culinary adventure!

The third citrus selection I made was one I’d never seen before. A green grapefruit looking thing. An oroblanco (white gold) grapefruit to be exact. Sure, why not? I love grapefruit, and was eager to try a different variety. It was very good, although I’m not sure it won me over more than just your standard variety. Its flavor was a bit less sweet, but also less tart, so overall more mild. And it was SUPER juicy. I was reminded of that episode of Sesame Street where the Count wears grapefruit goggles. Anyone remember this? Anyone?

You know, I sometimes long for simpler times when children squealed to see a single orange in their stocking, instead of asking, “Is this all?,” after opening boxes and boxes of plastic wrapped commercial goods. Fruit is beautiful. And citrus for Christmas is a tradition I’d like to continue.

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