Winter is generally the time of year that North American citrus fruits ripen and taste the sweetest. In the springtime, we enjoy the scents of lemon and orange blossoms in the air, with hopes that by the end of the year, those flowers will become ripe, juicy citrus ready for picking. Kumquats, lemons, mandarins and oranges all have their time to shine as they ripen from November through the new year. Although it's hard to choose from the over 60 varieties that we grow, we do have some favorite varieties that we consider to be citrus tree must-haves.
Here are our top 3 Favorite Winter Citrus Varieties:
1. Meyer Lemon: Meyer Lemon trees can be ever-bearing in certain areas, and we can count on the winter crop of lemons to flavor our tea and comfort us during those cold, shorter days. Meyer Lemons trees are a popular choice for indoor and container growing. They thrive in temperatures that stay consistently between 50-80 degrees F, so if you live in areas that have freezing temperatures, growing your Meyer Lemon tree in a pot is ideal. The fruit is a lemon-mandarin cross, and is sweeter and juicier than a classic lemon. It tastes wonderful in drinks, desserts and dressings.
2. Calamansi: Calamansi (Kalamansi), also called Calamondin, is another ever-bearing citrus tree that produces blooms and fruit at the same time throughout the year. The tiny, sour mandarin flavored fruits are about the size of a kumquat, but rounder. They are popular in the Phillipines, where the juice is used in beverages, soups and pancit, a traditional noodle dish. The trees grow very well in containers and can be pruned to keep a lovely round shape. The tiny fruits and white flowers decorate the tree like little ornaments.
3. Owari Satsuma: Owari Satsuma mandarins reach their peak during the early winter months, and these seedless, easy to peel mandarins are the dose of vitamin C that we all need during cold season. They are early ripening, so you can harvest your mandarin crop before the winter cold hits. The flavor is tart and sweet, and they store very well after harvest. This productive mandarin variety is a great choice for those who love mandarins and require a more cold hardy variety.