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How to segment citrus fruit

Juicy citrus segments and pinwheels

Right now is probably not the most exciting time of the year for fruit, even in Southern California.  Sure, we have amazing citrus coming our of our ears, but that’s pretty much it.  Pomegranates and persimmons just finished.  Even the apples we  buy now were picked a few months ago and kept in cold storage.  They’re great for cooking in desserts or on top of morning oatmeal, but they’re not as crunchy, crispy, and juicy as they were in November.  Mr. Picky keeps asking me, “are strawberries in season yet?”  Almost, little guy.

slice off a little from the top and bottom

But like I said, citrus fruits are in full force and I buy a wide assortment every week, including blood oranges, navels, Satsuma tangerines, and grapefruits, to name a few.  You probably already know that citrus fruits contain tons of Vitamin C, a very powerful antioxidant which is so helpful during cold and flu season, but keep in mind fresher is better since fruits lose 10% of their Vitamin C every day they are off the vine.  My family goes through quite a bit of citrus fruit between breakfast, lunch boxes, and after school snacks.  Sometimes I’ll even put some citrus segments in salads just for fun.  Blood oranges are especially tasty in Raw Kale Salad or mixed greens with an Asian vinaigrette.

hug the fruit as you cut with the knife

 

But I have made an interesting observation about grapefruit and my family.  They absolutely love grapefruit, but when I buy them, they seem to sit around untouched.  Everyone seems to think of grapefruit as a breakfast-only food and no one takes the time in the morning to cut them for eating.  Is it that we’re always short on time in the morning?  Is it that everyone is too lazy?  Perhaps a little of both.  I supposed grapefruits do take a few minutes more to prep than other citrus fruits since merely peeling a grapefruit leaves the white bitter pith which no one really cares for.   But if I segment a bunch of grapefruits when I come home from the market and put them in a container in the fridge, the kids fight over the last bite.  I’ve even seen Mr. Picky sitting at the kitchen counter with a bowl of grapefruit, a fork and his homework.  Would you call this “healthful convenience food?”  If so, I’ll take the extra time in the beginning of the week to do this for my family if it means they’ll eat fruit instead of the Halloween candy they don’t know I know they have stashed under their bathroom sinks behind the extra toilet paper.  What, was I born yesterday?

segmenting citrus

cut alongside the other membrane and wedge the segment out

this will get eaten lickety split

While I was segmenting grapefruits, a technique you can also use for larger oranges, I decided to demo how to cut smaller citrus into “pinwheel” slices.  These take a little less time and make for a beautiful presentation for citrus salads or to add to winter salads.

segmenting citrus

pinwheels

pinwheels

I didn’t have any images for this post, but I have done a citrus pinwheel salad with oranges, blood oranges, and tangerines which is just so pretty.  On the  site I posted a salad with spinach, blood oranges and beets to which you can add seared wild salmon.  That is a great light meal for a weeknight or guests.  Grapefruit and avocado is a classic pairing.  However you slice them, citrus fruits are worth the effort!

segmented and pinwheel citrus | pamela salzman

how to segment citrus fruit

  1. Using a very sharp knife, slice a bit off the top and the bottom of the grapefruit so it sits flat on a cutting board.
  2. Starting at the top of the grapefruit, cut the peel away from the fruit following the natural curve of the fruit down towards the cutting board.  The idea is to take off the peel, white pith and membrane, but not to remove too much of the fruit.  Continue around the entire grapefruit until no more peel is remaining.
  3. Take the grapefruit in one hand positioned over a bowl (to catch the juices) and the knife in the other hand.  Identify the white lines in the grapefruit which separate the segments from each other and slice as close to the white line as possible cutting down to the center of the grapefruit.  Cut alongside the membrane holding the segment and wedge the piece out with the knife.
  4. Continue with the remaining segments.  The leftover membranes can be eaten if you like.

 

how to cut citrus pinwheels

  1. Using a very sharp knife, slice a bit off the top and the bottom of the fruit so it sits flat on a cutting board.
  2. Starting at the top of the fruit, cut the peel away following the natural curve of the fruit down towards the cutting board.  The idea is to take off the peel, white pith and membrane, but not to remove too much of the fruit.  Continue around the entire piece of fruit until no more peel is remaining.
  3. Place the fruit on its side and slice crosswise into pinwheels.

 

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Comments

6 Comments

  1. Hi! Love your book and videos!
    Thank you!
    What is your knife ( pink one)
    Happy New year

  2. Hi Pamela,

    This looks like fun and I look forward to trying with my kiddos. Thanks for sharing!
    Lisa

    • Just be prepared for your kids to eat the fruit faster than you can cut it!

  3. Seems simple enough, yet I would have never figured this out without you! Love grapefruit but have been avoiding them not wanting to deal with the work involved but this changes everything….now im bringing them back! Thank you once again….

    • Let’s bring those grapefruit back, Rafaela!


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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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