Concord Farmers Market — Enjoy California citrus for the holidays

Concord Farmers Market — Enjoy California citrus for the holidays

Concord Farmers Market — Enjoy California citrus for the holidays
Pick up some winter citrus at your local farmers market. (Pete Cruz photo)

CONCORD, CA (Dec. 12, 2023) — Oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, lemons and pomelos are here to brighten up the holidays.

Mandarins and oranges are available in large quantities, little kumquats fill bins and boxes, giant pomelos and grapefruit cover market tables, and both blood oranges and Cara Cara oranges hold colorful surprises inside. You can’t beat the selection of citrus at your farmers market this time of year.

Serve them sliced fresh in salads and desserts, juice them for holiday beverages, dressings and marinades, or decorate them with cloves for holiday centerpieces. Make a batch of orange nut bread, lemon bars or lemon pound cake with citrus glaze.

Toss together sliced red onions, orange and grapefruit segments, spinach leaves and a balsamic vinaigrette for a refreshing salad. Slice fresh citrus and add to your favorite fruity red wine for a winter sangria.

Deck the halls

You can also use colorful citrus for fragrant holiday decorations:

  • Stud large oranges with cloves in interesting designs and add to a carved wooden bowl. Swirl colorful ribbon throughout and add a candle or two.
  • Tie small tangerines, kumquats and lemons to a fresh wreath at your front door for fragrance and color. Or, add to fresh garlands throughout the house.
  • Add lemon or orange juice to water in a shallow bowl and float thin slices of lemon or orange and eucalyptus leaves to add fresh fragrance to your room.
  • Select an array of citrus – lemons, oranges, limes – and intersperse with garland, pinecones and cinnamon sticks along your fireplace mantle. Add a string of LED lights.

The Concord Farmers Market is filled with fantastic fresh citrus. You’ll find Diaz Farms with Golden Nugget, Satsuma and Tango mandarins, plus navel, Cara Cara and Washington oranges, Meyer lemons and other citrus. J&J Ramos Farms from Hughson has Eureka and Meyer lemons, Oro Blanco and Ruby Red grapefruit, Gold Nugget and Page mandarins, tangelos, along with Minneolas, Cara Cara, navel and Valencia oranges. Smit Farms out of Linden has grapefruit, tangy lemons and sweet little tangerines.

You can use these Candied Citrus Peels in candy, baking and salads or as cocktail garnishes.

Sour Candied Citrus Peels

  • 4 large oranges
  • 3 grapefruit
  • 6 lemons or limes
  • 3 c. sugar (divided)
  • 2 T citric acid (8-10 T lemon juice)

Halve all fruit through stem ends. Tear out flesh, being careful not to create any holes in peels. It’s OK if you can’t remove all the pith.

Cut peels into ¼-inch strips. (Save flesh for another use.)

Bring peels and 4 c. water to a boil in a large saucepan; cook 5 minutes. Drain and return peels to pan.

Repeat process twice more, using fresh water each time.

Return peels to pan; add 2 c. sugar and 2 c. water. Bring to a boil and cook until peels are soft, translucent and vibrant, 30-40 minutes. You’ll need about 10 minutes longer for grapefruit, or 10 minutes less for lemons or limes.

Drain and transfer peels to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet; chill until cool, about 15 minutes.

Whisk citric acid and remaining 1 c. sugar in a medium bowl. Add peels; toss to coat. Return to rack and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Toss peels again in sugar mixture. Return to rack and let sit 4-12 hours to dry out.

Notes:  Citrus peels can be candied 1 month ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Concord’s Farmers Market happens every Tuesday, 10 AM to 2 PM. For more information, visit