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A Quick Guide To Citrus - Colorful Plates
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A Quick Guide To Citrus

Citrus never goes out of style. With a vast array of popular fruits, each with their own underlying varieties and subcategories, tackling the citrus world head on can be a daunting feat. Know your Pomelos from you Persian limes with this compilation of some of our favorite citrus fruits.


The king of sour. Lemon’s natural acidity is equally advantageous in sweet and savory dishes since it can lighten up your overall flavor profile. Although lemon juice can sometimes hog the spotlight, don’t forget the zest, as it’s a great overall flavor enhancer.

  • Flavor: Sour, acidic
  • Peak season: Year-round
  • Best for: Seasoning, desserts, and sauces


Fragrant, tart, and dependable, limes are a commonplace fruit around the world. Limes have some subtle differences between varietals, so be sure to check out “Walk The Lime: A Guide To Varietals”  before getting started on your dish.

  • Flavor: Bitter, acidic,
  • Peak season: Year-round
  • Best for: Latin cuisine, cocktails


Pomelos are one of the oldest citrus fruits out there, and are actually the botanical ancestors or oranges and grapefruit! With a flavor most easily described as a less bitter grapefruit, pomelos have been particularly popular in southeast Asian countries for generations.

  • Flavor: Tangy and sweet, but without bitterness
  • Peak season: October-April
  • Best for: Asian cuisine


Combining sweet and bitter aspects, grapefruit serves as the middle man in the citrus world. As such, grapefruit is a fantastic complimentary flavor, capable of rounding out sweet and savory dishes. Explore “Citrus Season”  and see why grapefruit is our preferred wingman.

  • Flavor: Acidic, sweet, tart
  • Peak season: November-May
  • Best for: Cocktails, pairing with fish


Breakfast wouldn’t be the same without the original citrus superstar. Every part of the orange has a popular culinary application, with chefs discovering new and exciting ways to use orange juice and peels everyday. Flavor can change quickly from orange to orange, so use this helpful guide from our friends at Sunkist to determine the perfect variety for you dish.

  • Flavor: Sweet to sour depending on variety
  • Peak season: January-November
  • Best for: Juice, marinades


The smallest and sweetest offshoot of the standard orange, clementines are particularly popular with children due to their size and lack of seeds. That doesn’t meant that adults can’t enjoy clementines though, as you’ll find them in many dishes around the holidays!

  • Flavor: Supremely sweet
  • Peak season: November-February
  • Best for: Eating whole, holiday dishes


Tangerines have carved their own space in the citrus world be remaining extremely user-friendly and approachable. Grown in seeded and seedless varieties, the flavor and size of tangerines lies in between clementines and common oranges, making them great alternatives fruits.

  • Flavor: Sweet yet slightly sour
  • Peak season: October-January
  • Best for: Salads, desserts