Citrus Juice Recipes:
Refreshing Drinks Made with Oranges, Lemons and More
Citrus fruits have long been valued for their versatility and health benefits. Their bright flavors lend themselves well to homemade juices that are perfect for hydration, digestion and immunity support. This comprehensive guide will explore the many citrus juice recipes you can make using common varieties like oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit. Along the way, you’ll learn selection and storage tips as well as nutritional highlights of each fruit. Read on for over a dozen recipe ideas and a thorough explanation of techniques and best practices.
Selection and Storage of Citrus Fruits
Proper selection and storage is important to ensure you get the best nutrients and flavors from your citrus fruits. Here are some tips:
Look for fruits that are heavy for their size, with smooth, unwrinkled skins. Avoid any with bruises, mold or soft spots.
All citrus will continue to ripen after picking, so store unripe fruits at room temperature to allow natural ripening. Once ripe, refrigerate.
Lemons, limes and oranges will last 2-3 weeks in the fridge. Grapefruit may last up to a month.
If you won’t use a whole fruit right away, cut it and store halves or cut wedges in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Wash fruits just before using. Rinse under cool water and gently scrub with your fingers if needed.
Juice immediately after cutting for maximum flavor, nutrients and antioxidant levels. If juicing in advance, store juice in the fridge for no more than 3 days.
Table 1 provides a quick reference of common citrus varieties. See this chart for nutrition comparisons as you select which fruits to feature in your juice recipes. Proper handling helps preserve these health-boosting compounds.
Basic Citrus Juice Recipe and Technique
The basic method for making citrus juices involves squeezing or juicing the fruit to extract the liquid. Follow these steps:
Wash the exterior of fruits thoroughly under running water. Gently scrub tougher rinds if needed.
Slice off both ends of the fruit and stand it upright on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut away the colored outer rind and white pith in wide strips to expose the flesh and juice sacs within.
For juicing, sections can either be placed whole in a juicer or you can remove membrane strings from each section first. Lower speed juicers will require pre-removal of membranes.
Once juiced, strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove pulp and seeds if you prefer a smoother consistency.
Add water or other juices as desired to thin out pulpier juice. Stir to combine.
Drink or store juice in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Shake or stir before serving.
You now have the foundation to start experimenting with endless varieties! Here are some tried and true recipes to inspire you:
4 oranges, juiced
1 cup water (optional)
For a simple sunshine-in-a-glass starter recipe, fresh orange juice on its own really can’t be beat. Adjust water if a thinner consistency is preferred. Serve over ice.
Morning Metabolism Booster
1 grapefruit, juiced
1 orange, juiced
1⁄2 lime, juiced
This combo provides a one-two punch of grapefruit’s fat-boosting properties alongside immunity-supporting vitamin C. Cinnamon adds cozy flavors.
3 oranges, juiced
1⁄2 pineapple, juiced
1 tbsp honey (optional)
Tropical melds with citrus in this refreshing mocktail. Top with a slice of pineapple for extra flair. Honey rounds out the acidity.
3 carrots, juiced
2 oranges, juiced
1″ ginger, juiced
For a veggie-packed beverage option, carrots blend seamlessly with orange for vitamin A and carotenoids galore. Ginger lifts the flavors.
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup lime juice
Mint leaves, muddled or to taste
Water or club soda to taste
This tart, effervescent thirst-quencher is a warm-weather essential for any picnic or party. Mint brightens the mix.
Grapefruit Honeydew Cooler
2 grapefruits, juiced
1⁄2 honeydew melon, juiced
Water to taste
Sweeter melon meets the tang of grapefruit for a low-calorie yet satisfying summer sipper. Skin remains in melon for fiber benefits.
4 limes, juiced
1 English cucumber, juiced
Simple syrup to taste (1:1 sugar:water)
Cucumber’s hydrating properties make it a natural partner for lime in this refreshing alcohol-free cocktail. Customize sweetness with syrup to taste.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I substitute lime for lemon or vice versa in recipes?
A: Yes, citrus fruits are very interchangeable. Using the same amount of lime or lemon juice will work in most recipes. However, do note that lime juice is more tart and acidic than lemon, so you may want to add a bit less or balance it with extra sweetener if substituting directly.
Q: What is the nutritional difference between fresh citrus juice and store-bought?
A: Freshly squeezed citrus juice contains more vitamins, minerals, fiber and plant compounds than bottled or from-concentrate versions. Store-bought juices are often heat-treated which can destroy some heat-sensitive nutrients. They also typically contain added sugar and lack dietary fiber from the pulpy bits. However, shelf-stable 100% juices do provide some vitamins if fresh is not available.
Q: Can I freeze citrus juice?
A: Yes, citrus juice freezes well for short-term storage of up to 3 months. Simply leave 1/2 inch headspace in freezer containers to allow for expansion as it freezes. When ready to use, thaw juice in the refrigerator overnight before serving. The flavor and nutrition will be best maintained by freezing juice in smaller pint or cup quantities rather than freezing a full batch at once.
Q: How can I prevent citrus juicers from rusting?
A: Citrus juicers with fine mesh parts are most prone to rusting over time due to repeated exposure to acidic citrus juices. To prevent corrosion, always wash and dry parts thoroughly after use. Consider soaking lower-quality juicers in a a cup of white vinegar and water solution periodically to remove buildup. Or you can rub juicer parts with mineral or vegetable oil before storing. Storing juicers properly dried and with ventilation also helps prevent rusting between uses.
Citrus Bitters Recipe
Want to take your citrus juice game up a notch and make bitters for cocktails? Here is a simple citrus bitters recipe to experiment with:
Rinds from 3 oranges
Rind from 1 lemon
1⁄2 cup vodka
1⁄4 cup water
2-4 tsp citrus-flavored syrup (orange, vanilla, etc)
1⁄4 tsp dried herbs (optional – try anise seed, coriander, cardamom)
Thinly peel citrus rinds, avoiding any white pith beneath. Cut peels into thin strips.
Add all ingredients to an 8 oz jar and seal tightly.
Allow mixture to steep 6-8 weeks, gently shaking jar occasionally.
Strain liquid through cheesecloth into a clean jar. Bottle and age 2+ months before use.
Use 1-2 drops per cocktail. Flavor will deepen with longer aging. Store at room temperature, away from heat and light.