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Florida Citrus Recipes For The Holidays

If you’re going to be in the Sarasota area for the winter holidays, you’re in luck: It’s high season for citrus.

Since the 19th century, the Sunshine State has been cultivating its groves commercially. Today, it’s the country’s largest supplier of sweet, sweet citrus, with the additional honor of being the biggest producer of grapefruit in the world. A whopping 90% of U.S. OJ is made from our oranges, which come from 569,000 acres of groves and over 74 million trees. Our fruits are fresh, juicy, and blooming from October to June, peaking from December to May. Where can you find them growing? In the central-to-southern part of the state, where damaging frosts are least likely. In fact, there are three growers and retailers in our immediate area: Bradenton’s Mixon Fruit Farms, Fruitville Grove in Sarasota, and Nokomis Groves just to our south.

Their proximity means you have every reason to grab some fresh citrus and whip up a Florida-style treat for the holidays. Along with oranges and tangerines and grapefruits and tangelos, Florida is a trove of citrus-forward recipes (Key Lime Pie, anyone?). Read on to find two of our favorites, perfect for the holiday season.

Sunshine State Orange Bread

Most of the country is trying to warm up in the winter, so their holiday menus follow suit. Rich, decadent meals are the name of the game. But in Florida, we’re still trying to cool off. Therefore our dishes blend the seasonal with the refreshing, which is where oranges come in. If you don’t think oranges read as a holiday flavor, think again: Holiday pomanders (oranges studded with cloves) have been hung in homes since the 18th century.

This flavorful recipe works beautifully with Valencia oranges. It’s also the perfect Christmas Eve snack—next to a plate of cookies, of course.

Grapefruit Pound Cake

Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten Christmas morning. There’s nothing like this delicious pound cake with a mug of steaming hot Cuban coffee to make you feel warm and cozy in the 60-degree weather. Try flame or ruby red grapefruit in this cake, which calls for the rind and also the juice. Pro tip: you’ll get 1 cup of juice per grapefruit, but you can reserve any leftovers for a Paloma cocktail. We recommend you enjoy that recipe while wrapped up in light blankets on the beach watching the sunset later.

There’s a long list of homegrown citrus recipes out there, representing everything from strawberry parfait to orange caramel flan. Create a new holiday tradition for those winters you spend with us here in the Sunshine State and add one to your menu.