How to Section Citrus Fruit

For gorgeous peel- and pith-free citrus sections that add flavor and sparkle to fruit compotes, salads, desserts, and more, follow these quick steps. When you know how to cut a lime, lemon, orange, grapefruit, or other citrus fruits into sections the easy way, you'll start adding them to all kinds of citrus recipes.

This sectioning method works for grapefruit, oranges, lemons, limes, or any kind of citrus fruit. It makes the sections pretty and enjoyable to eat without the membrane that usually covers each slice.

Use this easy method for sectioning citrus fruits to enjoy a few slices for breakfast or a snack. You'll be able to section citrus like a pro.

If you're looking at a citrus fruits list including oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, kumquats, blood oranges, tangerines, mandarins, clementines, tangelos, pomelos, and ugly fruits (aka uniq fruit), you'll find that sectioning citrus is ideal for many of the fruits, especially oranges and grapefruits. Much of the bitterness of grapefruit comes from the membranes, so if you remove the membranes by sectioning, the sweet flavor comes through more. Oranges are often sectioned to add to recipes such as salads.

Peel the Citrus

Using a paring knife, cut off a thin slice from both ends of the piece of citrus fruit. This gives you a flat surface to cut from. Place a flat end of the fruit on a cutting board and cut away the peel and white part of the rind, also called the pith, working from top to bottom.

Tip: Citrus fruit peels are not usually eaten, but the exceptions are using the oils in cocktails and citrus zest in recipes. Be sure to capture any needed citrus oils or fresh citrus zest before you peel citrus fruit. There is a ton of flavor in here!

Section the Citrus

Holding the fruit in one hand, tip the fruit to its side and cut into the center between one section and the membrane. Cut along the other side of the section next to the membrane to free the section. Continue with the remaining fruit sections.

Tip: You may want to section the citrus fruit over a bowl to catch the juices that escape while sectioning. Make sure to squeeze any juice from the membranes after sectioning.

    How to Use Sectioned Citrus

    Ideas to Use Sectioned Citrus

    • Quick Snack or Breakfast: Combine assorted citrus sections and top with yogurt and granola.
    • Chicken Salad: Add citrus sections and chopped cooked chicken to a green salad and top with vinaigrette made with citrus juice.
    • Black Bean-Citrus Salad: Toss citrus sections with rinsed and drained black beans, chopped jicama, chopped green onion, chopped red pepper, finely chopped jalapeño, and a little snipped fresh cilantro. Drizzle lightly with salad oil and lime juice to taste.
    • Cake Topper: Place slices of angel food or pound cake on dessert plates. Toss orange sections with a drizzle of honey, a sprinkle of snipped fresh mint, and a pinch of ground cinnamon. Spoon on top of the cake pieces. If desired, top each with a dollop of vanilla yogurt or sweetened whipped cream.
    • Mocktails: For a refreshing sipper, fill a glass halfway with ice. Top with several citrus sections, pressing gently to release a little juice. Fill the glass two-thirds full with cranberry juice. Add sparkling water or tonic to fill the glass.

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