Citrus fruits - the special one among the berries
There is fruit that we can hardly do without in winter: citrus fruits. Not only because we bring a little bit of sun and warmth into the house with them when it is cold and uncomfortable outside. It is above all the high vitamin C content that makes the aromatic fruits so popular. Even an orange or grapefruit is enough to cover the daily vitamin requirement. But what exactly are these fruits?
Botanically, citrus fruits belong to the berries, but to a special kind of berry fruits, the so-called endocarp berries. They are characterized by the fact that the fruits are not completely meaty and juicy. In addition to the delicious pulp, there is a white layer (albedo or mesocarp) and an outer, yellow to orange-red skin (flavedo or exocarp). The thin skin that surrounds the individual fruit compartments or slits is botanically referred to as the endocarp and contains innumerable juice tubes.
The seeds are embedded between them. They are supplied with nutrients and water from the stem through bundles in the middle of the fruit. The white part of the fruit skin becomes more fibrous with increasing ripeness, thus allowing the individual slits to separate. Depending on the type and variety of citrus fruit, the fruit peel has different thicknesses. With lemon citrus, for example, it takes up most of the fruit.
All citrus plants come from a family of plants, but their appearance is quite different. The fruit shapes and colors of the citrus fruits are correspondingly diverse: there are oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, grapefruits, kumquats, limequats, mandarins - and here again "ordinary mandarins", "satsumas", mandarin hybrids and "clementines" «- to name only the most important.
Citrus fruits are healthy: they contain few calories, with 51 mg per 100 g a lot of vitamin C and carbohydrates such as glucose and fructose. Together with fruit acids and aromas, the sugars ensure the taste typical of the variety and stimulate the appetite. Flavonoids as health-promoting secondary plant substances are supposed to protect human cells from free radicals, slow aging processes and reduce the risk of cancer. Since they can be found especially in the albedo - the spongy, white tissue under the skin - one should not completely remove the "white" from oranges or clementines. The mineral content of citrus fruits is low compared to other types of fruit, but there are still significant amounts of potassium, calcium and phosphorus. Citrus fruits should always be bought fully ripe, since the fruits do not ripen.
Citrus fruits are very versatile in the kitchen. They taste fresh or squeezed into juice, in fruit salads, desserts or processed into jams and jellies. You can also spice up salads, fish and meat dishes and pastries. The bowl of untreated citrus fruits is ideal for flavoring and seasoning. Simple dishes can be decorated with lemon and orange slices.
By the way: If you want to prevent a cold, you should use cold water for a "hot lemon". Vitamin C is sensitive to heat and therefore stays in cold water longer. The drink made from the juice of a squeezed lemon in a cup of water, sweetened with a spoonful of honey, provides vitamin C and the germ and anti-inflammatory substances from the honey. However, since vitamin C has less of an effect on an acute cold, it should be used as a preventative measure. The course of a cold can at least be shortened. Heike Stommel, respectively