Sectioning Citrus Fruit Is a Cinch Using This Simple Technique
Not only does knowing how to cut a lime, lemon, grapefruit, or orange into sections reveal a prettier cut of fruit for your favorite citrus recipes, it can actually make it taste better, too! For gorgeous peel- and pith-free citrus that adds flavor and beauty to fruit compotes, salads, desserts, and more, follow these quick steps to learn how to section an orange (or an other citrus fruit).
If the idea of taking a bite of grapefruit makes you squint, you're probably eating it wrong. Sure, citrus is naturally tart, but it doesn't have to be unpleasantly bitter. Much of the bitterness in citrus fruit comes from the thin, white membranes. We're not talking about the outer peel or white pith, but those thin membranes dividing each section of your fruit. If you remove the membranes by sectioning, the sweet flavor comes through more. That's right, you can actually change the flavors you taste simply by knowing how to section citrus properly. By using this easy sectioning method for all your citrus fruits (grapefruit, oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines, mandarins, clementines, ugly fruits (aka uniq fruit), tangelos, pomelos, etc.), you'll get seemingly-juicer, membrane-free sections. Eat as a snack or in your favorite citrus fruit recipes.
Peel the Citrus
Knowing how to peel an orange, grapefruit, or any citrus isn't hard. Using a paring knife (Farberware Edgekeeper 3.5-in. Paring Knife, $12, Walmart), cut off a thin slice from both ends. This gives you a flat surface to cut from. Place a flat end of the fruit on a cutting board (Epicurean Natural Cutting Board, $22, Sur La Table) and cut away the peel and white part of the rind, also called the pith, in a rounded motion working from top to bottom.
Test Kitchen Tip: Don't waste those peels! Citrus fruit peels are not usually eaten, but there are exceptions. So be sure to capture any needed citrus oils or fresh citrus zest before you peel citrus fruit. You can make homemade candied citrus fruit peels to top your desserts (or snack on their own), or extract the oils into cocktails. Keep a fine handheld grater around (Microplane Classic Zester, $12.95, Amazon) for finely-zested citrus peels in recipes.
Section the Citrus
Holding the fruit in one hand (or holding still with one hand on a cutting board), put the fruit on its side and slice just inside the membrane on both sides of one segment. Continue with the remaining fruit sections.
Test Kitchen Tip: You may want to section the citrus fruit over a bowl to catch juices that drip while sectioning. Make sure to squeeze any juice from the membranes after sectioning.
How to Use Sectioned Citrus
Now that you've got some lovely sectioned citrus fruit ready for eating, there are all sorts of ways to incorporate that grapefruit or orange into your everyday meals for a bright burst of flavor. Upgrade your avocado toast with some grapefruit for a healthy breakfast option. Keep your lunch salad fresh with oranges and shrimp. Use sections to top your favorite cake recipes or add even more citrus flavor to desserts like our grapefruit olive oil cake.