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Behold, the Citrus You've Been Longing For
It's time for the Bi-Rite x Bittman CA Citrus Box, and we're so glad
There’s at least one conversation that we can count on consistently happening every year: people asking us when the Bi-Rite x Bittman CA Citrus Box is coming back. We understand, because we love it too. And – bragging rights – it was my idea!
A little background, for newcomers: A few years ago, I called my friend Sam Mogannam, founder of Bi-Rite Market, to ask if we could figure out a way to fill a pre-paid USPS shipping box with citrus and send it to my house. (The USPS thing because, sure, anyone can ship you citrus, and charge you $100 for shipping, but only the post office can do it relatively inexpensively.) I was tired (as surely anyone with taste buds who lives in a non-citrus-growing zone is tired) of supermarket citrus that’s dry and tasteless, actually borderline repellent.
So Bi-Rite made it happen. And once I got a shipment, and my citrus jones was partially cured, I couldn’t stop talking about it, and wanted to find a way for others to partake. Sam was into it, too, and the Bi-Rite x Bittman Citrus Box was born.
I know this reads like ad copy but it’s also true: During peak citrus season – like, now — the Bi-Rite produce team selects sustainably sourced, mind-blowing citrus from local growers, so juicy you can’t believe it, insane with peak-of-the-season flavors. Each box weighs eight to ten pounds and contains several varieties of the kind of fruit you can’t get “back east” – super Cara Cara oranges, Oro Blanco grapefruits, Kishu mandarins, and more. It’s the best way I know to get top-notch California citrus without going to California.
Of note: Bi-Rite is handling orders a bit differently this year. You’ll decide which week your box ships. Due to limited availability, and to ensure that the fruit arrives in peak condition, boxes will be shipped the weeks of January 9 (last day to order is January 5, yes, tomorrow), January 23 (last order date: January 19), and February 13 (last shipment of the year, order by February 9).
Excited? I know I am (full disclosure — I’ve already eaten two boxes, with some help). Naturally, we’ll be giving you some citrusy recipes for inspiration, starting with today’s Citrus Sprinkle, from How To Cook Everything Vegetarian, below. And if you have any citrus recipes you’d like to share, please say so in the comments below!
Makes about 1/4 cup
Sun-dried citrus peels or leaves from citrus trees are popular seasonings throughout the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the Mediterranean, where they’re often blended with other so-called warm seasonings like cardamom, cinnamon, and coriander seeds. Unfortunately, these citrus ingredients are often tough to find in the United States and their quality is often suspect.
Here, then, is an easy and versatile substitute, a tangy blend that works on everything from egg dishes to fresh fruit to rice pudding. And because it’s mostly citrus, you can also use it to add character to other spice blends.
2 oranges (any kind)
1 tablespoon freshly ground black peppercorns (optional)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1. Preheat the oven to 200°F. Use a vegetable peeler or zester to remove the peels from all the citrus; take care to remove only the peel, leaving the white pith behind. Spread the peels on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until dry, curled, and slightly golden, about 1 hour. Shake the pan occasionally to promote even drying.
2. When cool, put the peels, the pepper if you’re using it, and coriander in a spice or coffee grinder and grind into a coarse powder. Store in a tightly covered opaque container for up to a month.