12 Days of Christmas Meets 12 Days of Citrus

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It’s the most, won-der-ful time, of the year! I like to fully submerge myself into the Christmas season with all the sights, sounds and flavors. I stock low-fat eggnog, make real pumpkin spice lattes and holiday tea. And keeping a fruit bowl stocked with in-season citrus is a beautiful daily reminder to enjoy more produce. This time of year, I always keep Sunkist® citrus on hand since it is peak season, grown in California and Arizona, and has a premium taste.

Since I work with Sunkist (and love it), they asked me to create a little ditty about my favorite ways to enjoy their refreshing fruits.

12 Days of Christmas Meets 12 Days of Citrus

Mandarin_Gold Nugget

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me: A mandarin snack in an orange tree

Every cute little mandarin packs a nutritional punch, being an excellent source of vitamin C, and offering more than 10 other vitamins and minerals. Kids love their small size, juiciness and easy-to-peel and seedless factors. You can fill a bowl with mandarins for a bright, edible seasonal décor. Tasty on-the go snack pairings include almonds, pistachios, yogurt and dark chocolate. They’re also great in recipes, like in salads, and with chicken or shellfish.

Sunkist citrus fruit

On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me: Two Bries with oranges

Brighten your cheese board with citrus. With its balance of sweet and tart, citrus pairs well with creamy Bries and goat cheese. Try orange zest with ricotta cheese. Citrus is also the perfect palate cleanser after a rich, hearty meal or between courses.

Sunkist citrus fruit basket

On the third day of Christmas my true love sent to me: Three citrus baskets

Give the gift of health with a DIY citrus gift basket. Make it special by adding some varieties that your friends and family haven’t tried before, like Moro blood oranges, Pummelos, Cara Cara Navel oranges and Meyer lemons. People will appreciate a light and healthy snack that they can use in holiday recipes or as a snack, amidst the decadent indulgences that are abundant this time of year. A pretty presentation is accomplished by filling a wooden crate (from a craft store) with bubble wrap or newspaper, covering with red crinkle paper, and filling with citrus. Then sprinkle with wrapped dark chocolate squares and pine cones. Adorn with a festive bow.

Citrus Fizz

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: Four cocktails calling

My favorite cocktails are those with the perfect balance of sweet and tart from natural juices. For the best taste, squeeze citrus to make fresh juice, using a lemon or lime press, or a citrus reamer and strainer. These holiday recipes suit a variety of palates: Grapefruit Mule, Meyer Lemon Vanilla Smash, Winter Spice and Merry Meyer.

For a simple non-alcoholic mocktail, try my Orange-Pomegranate Roy Rogers, one of my go-tos when I’m craving a flavorful, non-alcoholic drink in the evening.


On the fifth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: Fiiiiiiiive Melo Gold grapefruits!

This variety of grapefruit is a cross between a white grapefruit and a pummelo and is really sweet. Get them now through mid-February. Half of a grapefruit provides 60 calories, 2 grams fiber and 100% of the Daily Value for vitamin C.

Roasted Orange-Bringed Chicken

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: Six chicken brining…

…in my Roasted Orange-Brined Chicken. Marinating chicken in fresh orange juice produces a juicy interior, crackly brown exterior, and delicately infused, slightly sweet orange flavor. The acidity of the citrus and vinegar adds a bright balance to the dish, while reducing the need for excess salt. One more great chicken recipe to add to your arsenal.

DIY citrus salt

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me: Seven citrus salts

Citrus Salt is an easy-to-make, classy DIY gift and just takes two ingredients: citrus zest and salt. You’ll want to make extra to keep for yourself. Use it as a finishing salt on vegetables and fruits and for rubbing on seafood, poultry and meat.

Citrus zest

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: Eight lemons zesting

My motto is, “if you’re going to juice it, you may as well zest it, too.” Otherwise you’re just throwing away that deliciousness. Contrary to citrus juice, zest is more mellow, not acidic. So you can really go deep. I love zesting citrus over all kinds of seafood and roasts, and in my Sweet and Sour Shell Mac and Cheese a creamy holiday side dish that goes great with beef and poultry.

Dried Citrus

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: Nine oranges drying

I love these Dried Citrus slices. They have an elegant look and serve as a crispy grain-free, gluten-free cracker for pairing with cheese, smoked or cured fish, and prosciutto. They garnish plates and drinks impressively, and any gourmet will welcome it as a holiday gift.

Citrus platter

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: Ten fruit platters serving

This time of year, when summer fruits are out of season, take advantage of winter fruits like beautifully pink and extra sweet Cara Cara Navel oranges, show-stopping Moro blood oranges, and Pummelos. You can peel them and slice them thick for a fruit platter, or cut into bite-size pieces for a fruit salad. A winter fruit salad is my go-to dish to bring to get-togethers and also for class parties at my girls’ schools. Everybody loves it.

IPA Twist

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me: Eleven Hefeweizens

Don’t forget to serve your beers with citrus, like Hefeweizens with orange wedges, Mexican beer with lime, or in a Grapefruit IPA Twist. Citrus amplifies the taste of these beverages with a colorful presentation.

Cinnamon-Citrus Tea with Thyme

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: Twelve teas steeping

Boost your everyday black tea bag to “Nom, Cozy!” in seconds by adding citrus. While lemons are tried and true with tea, orange adds natural sweetness. I make my no-sugar-added Cinnamon Citrus Tea with Thyme in the afternoon on a regular basis during the cooler months. And here’s a festive Citrus Spiced Tea.

So, get out there. Get in the spirit of things! Enjoy the season. I know I am.

Disclosure: Sunkist compensated me to include them in this post. Written 100% by me.

Click Here to Get My Free Meal Planning Cheat Sheet

 You might also enjoy:

Sunkist Family Stories (about the growers and their family farms)
Soy Honey Cod with Sunkist Lemon, a scrumptious dinner for busy weeknights
Check out this handy Seasonal Availability chart (at the bottom of the page)

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