Citrus season is upon us here in Mexico. Catherine explores a variety of citrus fruits available to us in Mexico and how to stock up now but use them later
Citrus season has arrived in Mexico, and it is the perfect time to stock up on limes, oranges, and lemons. Although citrus is cultivated and grown commercially in over 100 countries, it is an economic mainstay for Mexico. Due to its high yield, it exceeds that of any apple, peach or pear tree.
Because limes have some of the most acidic juices of all citrus, they were used by sailors for centuries to prevent scurvy. Other than alcohol they are a main ingredient in margaritas, caipirinhas and mojitos, giving them a well–deserved acidic punch. Don’t confuse limes with key limes, which are actually yellow in color and more tart in flavor. They are grown in South Florida and Mexico and are used in that ubiquitous key lime pie. When the price of limes is low, buy as much as you can and simply juice and freeze in small baggies or plastic containers for future use.
Oranges. Veracruz is the most important producer of oranges in Mexico with almost 50% of overall production, followed by Tamaulipas and San Luis Potosí. The vast majority are of the Valencia variety. Although not as acidic as limes, use freshly squeezed orange juice on any meat to tenderize and give flavor.
Lemons have a low tolerance for cold weather, which restricts the area for cultivation. Just one lemon tree can have an annual yield of 3,000 lemons, a great income producer. Although Mexico is a major producer of lemons, the majority are used for export, juices and oils. Try to find an actual lemon here in Quintana Roo, and it might seem like a fruitless task. When you do, stock up and like with limes, juice and freeze them.
Grapefruits are grown in Michoacan and Veracruz producing both white and red varieties as well as deliciously sour sweet pomelos, with only 50% fruit juice and 50% pith, but a great substitute for most other citrus fruits.
Since citrus is an excellent source of vitamin C, as well as essential for healing wounds and producing collagen, it is essential to incorporate into our daily diet, giving us an excuse to have another margarita.