We’re so close; we can almost feel the sunshine and trust that it will stick around for longer than a day. Almost, but not quite. Still, I’m ready to take a leap of faith, put on some flip-flops and start drinking fruity beverages with little umbrellas in them.

In order to get myself and my family in a sunnier state of mind, I like to cook with citrus. There’s something about the flavor that makes me feel the warmth. Perhaps I’m envisioning the sunshine states that the fruit is coming from, but the bright notes that lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit lend to any food doesn’t hurt, either.

As citrus fruits are at their peak from fall to spring, now is the time to take advantage of them before they’re out of season. Like any produce, there are a few tips to keep in mind when it comes to choosing and storing that will help you get the most out of those little bursts of sunshine.

Choosing: For the juiciest, most flavorful fruit, choose those that have a blemish-free rind and feel heavier than they look. Try to avoid the ones that are as hard as a rock or ultra-mushy. A fruit that yields slightly is your best bet.

Storing: While a beautiful bowl of fruit makes a wonderful table centerpiece, they’ll quickly lose their moisture, which will diminish the vibrancy of their zest, arguably the best part of the fruit. A better way is to place citrus in a produce bag in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for up to a week. Some varieties will last much longer. To add the essence of citrus easily to dishes, store grated rind in the freezer.


Meredith Deeds of Edina is the author of “Everyday to Entertaining” and “The Big Book of Appetizers.” Reach her at meredith@meredithdeeds.com. Follow her on Twitter: @meredithdeeds.