Farmers' Market Report: Choosing Your Citrus

All the talk of flu season right now is a good reminder to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those packed with the immune-boosting vitamin C found in citrus. But given the staggering variety of oranges and grapefruits found this time of year in Southern California, which to choose?

This week at the farmers' markets, two in-season fruits in the citrus family will round out your mid-winter selections: the low acid, dark orange-pink fleshed-Cara cara navel oranges and the show-stopping, giant greenish-yellow skinned pomelo.

As vendor Fabian of John's Farm in Woodlake, California, tells us this week at the West Hollywood Farmers' Market, Cara cara oranges are low in acid so they're easier to digest than many other citrus fruits. These fruits were originally discovered at the Hacienda de Cara Cara in Valencia, Venezuela, three decades ago -- hence the name -- and are now grown locally.

Pomelos are also grown locally, though they originated in Southeast Asia centuries ago. They are only in season for a few weeks, so find yours while they last (and they are hard to miss). The pomelo is the largest of the citrus family, and close to a grapefruit in taste, with pink-colored flesh. The thick white pith and low juice, however, make this a tough fruit to eat with a spoon, so peel it and tear or slice it into segments to eat. The upside is that this fruit is sweeter than many grapefruit varieties and easier to eat on the go. Plus, the size of the pomelo makes for a great conversation starter.

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About the Author

Sometimes known as the Doctor of Pastrami, Lara Rabinovitch is a writer and historian in Los Angeles.
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