Although fresh citrus is available year-round from one or more of the U.S. growing areas, the peak season is November through April.
The basic rule in buying citrus -- which includes lemons, limes and tangerines as well as oranges and grapefruit -- is to look for a smooth-skinned fruit that is firm and heavy for its size.
The heavier the fruit is, the juicier it is.
Although lemons can ripen off the tree, most other citrus is picked ripe. So even if the skin has a bit of green, it's ready to eat, Ms. Leventhal said.
Thick-skinned California citrus can be stored at room temperature for a week or two, although it will last longer if refrigerated. Florida and Texas citrus should be refrigerated for best storage.
Orange granola drop cookies
Makes about 4 dozen.
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 medium navel orange, unpeeled, finely chopped in food processor, blender or by hand to equal 3/4 cup
2/3 cup granola
1/2 cup raisins
Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In large bowl, cream margarine and sugars. Add egg and chopped orange; beat well. Gradually blend in flour mixture. Stir in granola and raisins. Cover and refrigerate.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets. Drop dough by teaspoon onto cookie sheets; bake 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
Pork chops with citrus rice
Makes 6 servings.
6 pork chops (about 2 pounds), 1/2 - to 3/4 -inch thick
2 tablespoons salad or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 cup raw regular rice
1 (10 3/4 -ounce) can condensed chicken broth
1/3 cup water
grated peel of 1 tangerine
3 tangerines, peeled, segmented and seeded
1/3 cup walnut halves
In large skillet, brown chops in oil. Remove chops; pour off fat. In same skillet, saute onion in butter with poultry seasoning. Add rice, chicken broth and water; bring to boil. Reduce heat; arrange chops over rice. Cover and cook over low heat for 25 minutes or until pork is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove chops; keep warm.
Add tangerine peel, segments and nuts to rice mixture and heat. Arrange chops and rice mixture on serving platter.