Knowing how to supreme citrus is a useful kitchen skill. The fruit gets peeled and trimmed perfectly so that it is completely free of pith, fibers, and seeds — all you’re left with is wonderful-tasting lovely citrus. At first, it might seem like an extra-special loving step that might be a bit tedious. But once you get the hang of it, it is fast and easy. And the results are so worthwhile!
When I prepare fruit salad in the summer, I take a little extra time to supreme the oranges. And in cooler months, when the tangerines, grapefruit and pomelos come into season, there is nothing like a delicious wintery salad with supremed citrus as a garnish. Sunshine on a plate.
How to Supreme Citrus: A Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1: Find the Right Knife
First, you’ll want to choose the right knife. A thin-knife works best because it is flexible. Turn your knife on its side, with the tip of the knife on your work surface and push down. See how the knife bends and bows? That’s perfect for you for the flexibility you’ll need to peel the fruit.
Step 2: Trim the Top and Bottom
Once you cut both the top and bottom, set the bottom on your cutting board. You’ll see that the citrus lies flat (good, that’s safe), and the top exposes the line of peel and pith. You can easily find your entry point so that you can “peel” the citrus with your knife
Step 3: Peel the Citrus with the Knife
Take advantage of the flexibility of the knife, and “peel” the citrus with it. You’ll see that with some practice, you’ll be able to trim the peel and pith without sacrificing much of the beautiful fruit.
See how I’m working over a bowl? It catches the drips and provides the place for me to off-load the fruit.
Step 3: Remove the Segments of Fruit from the Citrus
This is the fun part! Hold the peeled fruit in your hand, and insert the knife along the right side of the membrane that forms the segment. Next, insert it along the left side. Now, you can lift that segment free.
Step 4: Repeat!
Keep going! You see how you can turn each fibrous membrane like the pages of a round book? Cool!
Step 5: You’re Done!
Once all you have left is the star-shaped fibrous inside, and beautiful melt-in-your-mouth segmented fruit in the bowl below, you’re done . . . almost! Give that star a squeeze! Extra juice and your reward for a job well done!