Eat local grown. That is one of my principles on food and cooking. I always try to buy local food because it always fresh and cheaper. Cyprus has a good reputation for delicious and varied fruit in Europe. The ‘fruit year’ starts with strawberries, apricots, watermelons, cherries, grapes, figs, dates, pomegranate and citrus fruits.
My family and I, especially my hubby likes citrus so much. So since we came to Nicosia 18 months ago, we’re spoiled by citrus fruits. Fresh oranges juice is almost available everyday in our fridge and please note it’s not from a juice box, but 100% squeezed from fresh orange and without sugar. Though oranges are good refreshment for summer, but during winter, many Cypriot parents want their children to eat oranges during winter to protect them from colds and influenza.
In Cyprus, though we may be able to find oranges (almost) all year around, but the most delicious is when the peak season of citrus, on winter time. You will notice there are more and more varieties popping up at the market and grocery store. And since that, I know more and more about citrus varieties, But still, I do a lot of searching and reading when I write this post.
Cyprus offers a full range of citrus fruit available from October to June, with many of the popular varieties of oranges, lemons, grapefruit and soft citrus.
Cyprus had wide number varieties of oranges and earned reputation for its high quality. Below are the main varieties that grown in Cyprus and you will easily find in the market.
Navel (or Merlin or Washington)
Navel is the best eating oranges.The fruit is of round shape and has a light orange peel color with a sweet and naturally very juicy flesh. Navel can be eaten out of hand, juiced, or used in jam and dried fruit production. In Greece, navel are known under the name “Merlin”, the English botanist Lord Merlin who brought them to the island of Corfu in 1925. In Cyprus, Navel is also popular as Merlin orange. The Merlin is available during November through April, with peak supplies in January, February and March.
Jaffa (or Oval)
Jaffa or Oval is easy to distinguish by its oval shape. The skin is thick, deep orange in color and normally very easy to remove from the fruit. The taste is sweet, almost seedless, but has very little juice and has tendency delayed bitterness.So this variety is less satisfied for juice production
Valencia’s skin had deep orange color and smooth texture. It’s have seeds and bright orange color inside. Valencia is primarily grown for processing and orange juice production because it’s very juicy with excellent taste, though it is also common to eat as snack. Since the Valencia harvest time is during Feb/March – June, which is consider as a late fruit compare to other orange, Valencia orange is the only variety orange during summer, when other oranges are out of season.
For Cypriots, lemons are important ingredients and are used extensively in their local cuisine. On salads, souvlaki, or other meals, lemon is definitely presents at every meals, either in slice or just drops/squeezed. Cyprus lemon is internationally renowned for its top quality lemon fruits, described as thin skin, rich flesh and strong aroma. The Cyprus variety name is “Lapithiotiki” is came from name of Lapithos village where the lemon was extensively cultivated in the past.
I never knew about grapefruit before I am living in Cyprus. The only I knew is “Jeruk Bali” which is also sometime available in Cyprus called Pomelo. At least there are 2 types of grapefruits that I easily recognized here :
White Grapefruit/Marsh Seedless ; pale yellow skin, bitter-sweet taste. Usage : Eaten fresh, for salads, in cooking, beverages and dessert.
Red Grapefruit/Star Ruby : the red color blush to the skin. Usage: Eaten fresh, for salads, in cooking, beverages and dessert. The oil from the peel/skin is used for aromatherapy oil.
Another word for soft citrus is easy peeler. Clementine, Nova, Minneolas and Mandoras are the variety that grown in Cyprus.
Clementine is (mostly) small, had deep orange color, smooth and glossy skin appearance, but it is not always easy to distinguish from varieties of mandarin orange. The taste is very sweet and mostly seedless. Perfect for quick and easy snack
Nova is hybrid Clementine and Orlando tangelo, has a thin reddish orange skin, easy to peel. It may bigger than Clementine (medium size), moderate seedy with dark orange flesh, juicy and sweet rich flavor (personally l would say that the taste is very sweet almost cannot taste the acid).
Mandora (Mandarin hybrid cultivated in Cyprus)
Mandora is a cross of two super quality fruit mandarin and orange that grown in Cyprus. The fruit’s appearances look much like orange with tough skin and contain seeds. It is easly mistaken for a Clementine, but Mandora usually bigger than clementine. The taste is extremely sweet but well balanced with acidity, juicy and has a strong aroma. Mandora is currently the largest Cypriot agricultural product citrus fruit.
A table shown orange season in Cyprus.
And this is what you going to see along the street, sidewalk, and house yard during oranges season in Nicosia (and maybe all the island) The ripe oranges hanging on the trees and at the end of the season, lots of oranges fallen on the ground/street and and no one seems to ever collect them :).