With a wide variety of citrus fruit at its peak, here are a few ways to prepare and store it:
Juicing: You can get more juice out of limes (or lemons) by microwaving them for 20 seconds or by rolling them around under your palm on the countertop. As you press down, the segments break down, releasing more juice.
You can also use a fork to poke the segments. Freeze any leftover juice in ice cube trays. Once frozen, place the cubes in a freezer bag.
Zesting: This means to remove pieces of the outer rind of the fruit. The rind has aromatic oils that enhance and flavor foods. The white pithy part under the peel is bitter.
If a recipe calls for the “zest of one lemon,” that means to remove strips of rind from the whole lemon. If the recipe calls for grated lemon zest, you should grate the rind on a box grater, a zester or a rasp-style grater.
Store thin or wide strips of lemon zest and grated lemon zest in a freezer-safe container or plastic sealable bag. It will keep for several months.
Several kitchen tools remove the zest of lemons easily to avoid the pith. Here are a few:
Rasp-style zesters and graters. We prefer Microplane-style graters. Their sharp teeth make removing the peel a snap; a swipe of a lemon yields feathery pieces of zest. Graters come in several sizes, colors and styles, producing fine to coarse grates.
Citrus zesters. These typically have five tiny but sharp holes in their tips. When you pull the zester across the fruit, little strips of peel come off.
Vegetable peelers. Chef Aaron Wynn recommends using a peeler that is not super sharp so it “doesn’t dig too deep into the fruit.” “Peel it as if you’re peeling an apple,” Wynn says. If you dig too deep, you’ll remove the white pith. If this happens, use a paring knife to scrape away any pith.
Segmenting: Here’s an easy way to cut oranges and grapefruits into segments. Use a serrated knife to cut a slice off each end of the fruit, revealing some of the flesh. Stand the fruit on one cut end.
Starting at the top of the fruit and cutting to the bottom, slice off pieces of peel along with the pith (you will get some of the flesh), following the curve of the fruit.
Once you’ve removed the peel all around, cut off any remaining pith. To cut into segments, hold the fruit in your hand over a bowl to catch the juices.
Cut on each side of the membrane all the way to the core to cut out the segment. Once you have cut out all the segments, squeeze what you have left to release more juice.
Susan M. Selasky, Detroit Free Press