While citrus is a year-round favorite, recent trend reports indicate the category of fruits that includes grapefruit, orange, and lemon is poised for a bigger 2015 than years past.
Driving the renewed interest in citrus and grapefruit is consumers’ inclination toward bold, distinctive flavors as well as ingredients with a healthy perception. Citrus creates a balanced dish when combined with other ingredients, allowing restaurants to serve full-flavor meals that are not laden with fat and unnecessary calories.
Citrus adds the component that allows each and every bite of the item to be refreshing. Whenever you use citrus, it brings out the flavors of the other items.
According to Technomic’s MenuMonitor from the third quarter of 2014, at chef-driven restaurants including independents and smaller fine-dining chains—often looked to by the rest of the industry to lead innovation—grapefruit reached 9.5 percent operator penetration for appetizers and 5.8 percent for entrées. The fruit also appears as one of the top three citrus flavors for spirits and cocktails on Technomic’s Adult Beverage Flavor Trends report, earning 14.3 percent year-over-year growth on menus.
Citrus remains a popular staple on both the food and beverage sides, up 10.6 percent in year-over-year menu penetration at the bar. Grapefruit was up 14.3 percent.
Some tips for restaurants that want to incorporate more citrus is to purchase fruit fresh, not fruit in a bottle or as a concentrate. The peels have natural oils that come out when the fruit is squeezed, creating a more aromatic end product.
Bartenders, just like chefs in the back, they’re creating cocktails using juices that are squeezed to order. It doesn’t come from a bunch of stuff in jars and bottles. When you do that, it becomes homogenized and tastes sweet; it’s not really distinctive. Using fresh citrus, makes a lot of the flavors pop. A little bit of citrus tartness really goes a long way in having all those zones in your mouth hit off each other.
Navel and Valencia oranges are available almost year-round, as are Eureka and Meyer lemons. Grapefruit, however, has a shorter seasonal lifespan: the Rio Red, Texas Rio Star, Pummelo, and Florida varieties are in season only from September through April.
While seasonality plays a part in when citrus can be menued, it’s readily available in the Western Hemisphere, so seasonality is not as much of a hindrance—though if it needs to be shipped from South America, cost is a consideration.
Source: fsrmagazine.com, 2-11-2015