Fruits and nuts require a range of preparation skills so that they can be presented at their best. Whether you are cooking fruits or serving them raw, whenever possible retain the skins and juices since these contain nutrients.
Citrus fruits are very versatile and are used in both sweet and savory dishes. Make use of every part of these fruits, including their zest or peels, juice, and flesh, which can be sliced or cut into segments. Always wash wax-coated fruits before removing the zest or cooking whole.
Juicing Citrus Fruits
• Warming fruits: If citrus fruits have been stored in the refrigerator, they will yield the most juice if allowed to come to room temperature first.
• Using a microwave: Pierce the skins of the fruits and heat for 10 seconds on High to increase the juice yield.
• Squeezing easily: To make a citrus fruit easy to squeeze, first roll it under the palm of your hand on a counter.
• Zesting and juicing: If you need both juice and zest from a citrus fruit, remove the zest before squeezing the fruit.
When making lemon wedges for garnishing, slice off the strip of pith running down the ridge of each wedge so that juice.
Hold peeled citrus fruits such as oranges or grapefruit over a bowl when removing segments to catch excess juice. Add this squeezes easily, without squirting juice to fruit salads or drinks.
Garnishing with Fruits
Decorating slices Before slicing citrus fruits for garnish, score grooves in the peel with a canelle knife or a fork; this gives the slices rippled edges.
Twisting lemon and lime
Cut thin slices of lemon and lime. Place a lime slice on top of a lemon slice, and cut a slit halfway across the two. Twist the slices into a spiral, making an unusual fruit garnish.
Peeling & Zesting
• Removing pith: To peel an orange cleanly, immerse the whole fruit in boiling water for four minutes. Drain and cool, and the pith will come away with the zest.
• Using a peeler: Pare citrus fruit rind with a vegetable peeler rather than a knife to avoid peeling the pith as well.
• Saving zest: If you are squeezing fruit for juice but do not need the zest at the same time, remove it anyway, and freeze for later use.
• Reusing skins: After squeezing citrus fruit halves, scrape the remaining flesh from inside the skins. Freeze the empty skins, and use as serving bowls for fruit salad, compote, or sorbet.
Using Leftover Peel
Flavoring vodka Place strips of thinly pared orange, lemon, or lime zest in a canning jar, and pour vodka over to cover. Mature in a refrigerator for 6-8 months. Add the vodka to drinks, or stir a tablespoonful into desserts such as fruit salad, ice cream, or chocolate mousse.