As we step out onto dewy grass in the morning, grasp a steering wheel cold to the touch, we feel in our bones that winter is drawing near. Undoubtedly the cosiest quarter the year has to offer, winter is the season of pumpkin soup and sipping piping hot mugs while wrapped up in blankets, of woollen jumpers and football jerseys, of frost and dogs in coats. It’s also the season of vitamin deficiency, with reduced sunlight and an abridged array of fruit on supermarket shelves. Fortunately, one colourful category comes alive to save winter’s day: citrus!
Citrus – even the word is juicy. Just saying it conjures the sour wince of lemon or lime juice, the rejuvenating surge of an orange quarter between soccer halves, and the fragrant burst of the peel, lingering long after like a favourite perfume. Then there’s the orange’s younger brother, the mandarin – just as aromatic and easier to peel, these are little hacky sacks of vitamins and vibrancy. And let’s not forget the sassy older sister of the citrus family, the grapefruit – a sour sensation dressed in sunset. Finally there’s the family’s non-binary sibling, the tangelo, bringing a delightful flavour that defies definition – you’ll just have to try it for yourself!
As we head towards winter, the whole citrus siblingry are ripening on their trees, which stand row upon row with their boughs outstretched like Japanese Kabuki actors on an enormous rural stage. At LaManna Premier Group, we work with a number of growers across the country, which means if one growing region is affected by adverse weather conditions, we’re still able to maintain a constant supply – like not keeping all your eggs in one basket, but with mandarins and farms. Mandarins come in multiple varieties, such as the regally named Imperial, characterised by its great flavour, minimal seedage and excellent peelability, Imperial mandarins and grapefruit start off the season up north in Queensland from April to May, after which they both move down to South Australia and Victoria from June onwards. Here the tangelo joins the fray, with the darker hued and famously juicy Afourer variety of mandarin coming in from July to October.
It’s a good thing we’ve got these guys to get us through these wintry days. The high vitamin C content of citrus not only keeps your skin smooth and elastic, it also strengthens the immune system – an essential defence at the best of times, and even more so in the era of coronavirusand the common flu. In addition, citrus fruits are full of other vitamins, minerals and fibre, as well as naturally occurring compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, and they may even boost heart health. With so much to offer, there are no better friends for the season ahead than the citrus siblings, available now in a store near you.