Kitchen Basics: Prepping Citrus

December 31, 2012

In her biweekly column, Kitchen Basics, Susan Pachikara of Cardamom Kitchen demystifies essential cooking skills with step-by-step instructions and her own handsome photos. Whether she's showing us how much brown sugar we're meant to "pack"(or is it cram?) into measuring cups or how to detect when our onions are properly caramelized, Susan is the nonna we never had -- until now. Now, go on and get cozy under her wing.

This week, Susan demonstrates how to peel, slice, and segment citrus.

orange

- Susan

At its peak during the winter months, citrus brings a summery radiance to the table. To jazz up holiday punch or fresh fish (or to enliven I-resolve–to-eat-more-healthfully salads in the new year), try adding a few slices of your favorite citrus. (And if it's zest you're after, check out my post on zesting citrus!)

Note: I've used an orange to demonstrate the techniques below, but these methods work with any citrus fruit.

How to Slice Citrus with the Peel 

To start, thoroughly wash the fruit. Place the citrus on its side on a cutting board. Using a chef’s knife, slice off one end just until the flesh appears.

Continue to cut across the fruit widthwise to produce rounds, making the slices as thick as you like.

orange slice

How to Peel a Citrus Fruit

Thoroughly wash the fruit. Place the citrus on its side on a cutting board. Using a chef’s knife or paring knife, slice off each end, stopping just before you reach the flesh. 

orange

At one-inch increments around the entire fruit, carefully score the peel lengthwise with a paring knife, making sure that you don't cut into the flesh. 

orange

Peel off the strips. 

How to Segment Citrus

Thoroughly wash the fruit. Place the citrus on its side on a cutting board. Using a chef’s knife or paring knife, slice off each end until the flesh appears.

Rest the fruit on the cutting board on one of the cut ends.

orange

Using a paring knife, cut off the skin and all the pith in strips following the contour of the citrus, from top to bottom.

orange

Holding the peeled fruit in one hand, slice into the citrus flesh alongside one membrane to release one side of a segment, and then cut alongside the membrane on the other side of the segment to release it. Rotate the fruit and repeat until all segments are removed.

citrus cocktail
Orange slices enliven glasses of vibrant holiday punch

I’d love to see your tips for prepping citrus! Share them with your fellow cooks in the comments section below.

Are you new to cooking? Tell me what skills you'd like to learn and your idea could be featured in an upcoming post!

Photos by Susan Pachikara

Want more basic tips from Susan? Check out her previous post: Kitchen Basics: Ganache.

Susan writes the blog Cardamom Kitchen to share her culinary experiences as an Indian-American rooted in the Midwest. 

susan cardamom kitchen

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