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Tangy treats

We sometimes think of citrus fruits as winter treats - something to get us through the cold and snow. But, with their bright colors and tangy taste, citrus fruits work well in summer, too. They combine well with other summer fruits and can add zip and flavor that are perfect for lighter summer dishes: fish on the grill, fruit or vegetable salads and light, frothy desserts.

Fresh citrus fruits are, of course, an important source of valuable nutrients. Consider this:

Oranges: A medium-size orange has only 50 calories, no fat, cholesterol or sodium. It supplies 120 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C, 270 milligrams of potassium and 6 grams of dietary fiber.

Lemons: A medium-size lemon has only 18 calories, no fat or cholesterol and just 10 milligrams of sodium. It supplies 35 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C and is a good seasoning if you're trying to reduce your sodium or calorie intake.

Grapefruit: Half a medium-size grapefruit has only 50 calories, no fat, cholesterol or sodium. It supplies 90 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C, 230 milligrams of potassium and 6 grams of dietary fiber.

Tangerines: A medium tangerine has only 50 calories, no fat, cholesterol or sodium, 180 milligrams of potassium and supplies 50 percent of the day's requirement for vitamin C.

When selecting fresh citrus fruit look for smooth skins, free of soft spots. The fruit should feel firm and heavy for its size.

If you are storing citrus for more than a few days, it is best to refrigerate it in a plastic bag or covered vegetable crisper. The vitamin C in fresh citrus is quite stable, but refrigeration does help to retain vitamin C over a longer period.

Citrus fruits are colorful, versatile and easy to use. The folks at Sunkist offer these suggestions for savoring the flavor of citrus fruits this summer:

- Lemons are a natural when it comes to fish, whether you're cooking on the grill or in the oven. A lemony sauce is the perfect accompaniment.

- To keep cut fresh fruit - peaches, pears, nectarines, apples or bananas - from darkening, sprinkle with fresh lemon or orange juice.

- Lemons and oranges yield more juice when left at room temperature and then rolled on the counter with the palm of the hand just before squeezing.

- The flavedo or outer colored peel of citrus has tiny oil sacs full of subtle and distinctive citrus flavor. When grated, the peel adds lemon, orange or grapefruit zest to sauces and dressings for fruit compotes or salads.

- When a recipe calls for grated citrus peel, grate the peel over waxed paper before cutting and squeezing the citrus for juice. To measure the grated citrus peel, measure lightly into a spoon.

- Fresh citrus fruits make nice garnishes and add eye and taste appeal to fresh fruit salads and desserts.

- For a special touch when entertaining, serve fresh fruit combinations in citrus shells. Cut an orange, grapefruit or large lemon in half crosswise. Carefully ream out juice or cut out the "meat" with a curved grapefruit knife. Then scrape the shell "clean" with a spoon. Notch edges with kitchen shears or paring knife. To prevent tipping, cut a thin slice from bottom of shell. Place in plastic bag, seal and store in refrigerator or freezer until ready to use.

- Fresh fruit kabobs make an ideal accompaniment for your favorite sandwich. Just cut up a selection of fruit, brush with fresh orange or lemon juice and arrange on small wooden skewers.

- For old-fashioned lemonade, remember the one+one+one rule. Use one cup of sugar to one cup of fresh lemon juice for every one quart of water. Add ice cubes and one unpeeled lemon cut in cartwheel slices.

- For a quick lemonade for one, combine 1/2 to 3/4 cup cold water, juice of 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons sugar and ice cubes. Makes about a cup.

- For a fresher, lively flavor, substitute fresh lemon juice for vinegar when making salad dressings from packaged mixes or in homemade dressings.

- One medium lemon yields about 3 tablespoons juice and 3 teaspoons grated peel. Five to six lemons yield 1 cup of juice.

- Blend fresh tangerine juice and grated peel into a little unsalted butter and serve over broccoli, cauliflower or cabbage wedges. Top with tangerine segments.

- For tasty chicken, place slices of lemon in bottom of pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray; top with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Sprinkle with lemon juice, a little olive oil and a favorite herb. Bake uncovered until tender. This is also good with fish steaks.

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RECIPES

EASY FRESH LEMON ICE CREAM

2 cups heavy cream or whipping cream of half-and-half

1 cup sugar

Grated peel of 1 lemon

1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

6-10 lemon boats or shells, optional

In large bowl, combine cream and sugar; stir to dissolve sugar. Blend in lemon peel and juice. (The mixture will thicken slightly.) Pour into shallow pan and freeze until firm, about 4 hours. Serve in lemon boats or shells or in dessert dishes. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and strawberries, if desired. Makes 6 to 9 servings.

Fruit variation: stir in 1/2 cup mashed strawberries, bananas or kiwi into the slightly thickened lemon mixture before freezing.

- From Sunkist

FRUIT & CHICKEN SALAD

Grated peel of 1/2 lemon

Juice of 1 lemon (3 tablespoons)

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 teaspoon each ground ginger and curry powder

1 cup shredded cooked light meat chicken

1 cup cooked orzo pasta (or rice or wild rice)

2 oranges, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces

1 apple, cut into bite-size pieces

2 medium bananas, cut into bite-size pieces

1 cup seedless green or red grapes, cut in half

1/2 cup celery

In large bowl, combine lemon peel and juice, oil, honey and spices. Stir in remaining ingredients; chill. Serve on salad greens and garnish with lemon wedges and fresh mint if desired. Makes six 1-cup servings.

- From Sunkist

LEMONY FRESH TARTAR SAUCE

1 dill pickle (2 inches long) sliced

1 green onion, cut into 2-inch pieces

3/4 cup light mayonnaise

Grated peel of 1/2 lemon

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

Coarsely chop pickle and onion. Add mayonnaise, lemon peel and juices. Mix until well blended. Cover and chill. Makes about 1 cup.

- From Sunkist

LEMON & MUSTARD SAUCE

1/3 cup light mayonnaise

1/3 cup sour cream

Grated peel and juice one 1/2 lemon

1/2 to 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon salad or seafood herb blend

In small bowl, combine all ingredients; cover and chill. Serve with broiled, grilled or fried fish. Makes about 2/3 cup.

- From Sunkist

FRUIT SALAD WITH ORANGE APRICOT DRESSING

2 oranges, peeled and cut in bite-size pieces

1 grapefruit, peeled, segmented and cut in half

2 bananas, cut in thick slices

2 plums, sliced

1 cup fresh pineapple chunks

1 papaya, peeled, seeded and halved

Orange Apricot Dressing:

1/4 cup apricot or apricot pineapple preserves

1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

Grated peel of 1/2 lemon

Juice on 1 lemon

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon sugar

In large bowl, combine all salad ingredients expect papaya and stir gently. Cut each papaya half into 3 lengthwise wedges. Place wedges on 6 individual salad plates; top with fruit mixture. Serve with Orange Apricot Dressing. Makes 6 servings.

For Orange Apricot Dressing: Combine ingredients in saucepan. Heat, stirring, until thickened. Chill. Makes about 1/2 cup.

- From Sunkist

LEMON LAYERED ICE CREAM PIE

Crust:

9 (2-inch) ginger snap cookies

1/2 cup corn flake crumbs

2 tablespoons margarine or butter

1 teaspoon water

Filling:

1 15-oz. can lemon pie filling

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 quart low-fat vanilla ice cream, slightly softened

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Crush cookie crumbs (or use food processor) until very fine. Reserve 2 teaspoon crumbs for garnish. To remaining crumbs, add corn flake crumbs, sugar and margarine. Add water and mix until blended. Press mixture firmly in bottom and up sides of 9-inch pie pan. Set aside.

In small bowl, combine pie filling and lemon juice until well blended. Set aside.

In large bowl stir together ice cream and lemon peel just until mixed. Quickly spread half of ice cream mixture in crust-lined pan. Top with pie filling, spreading evenly. Spoon remaining ice cream mixture over top; spread evenly to cover. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs. Freeze at least 2 hours or until firm in center.

To serve, let pie stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting into wedges. Serves 8.

- From Pillsbury Fast and Healthy Magazine

LEMON HERB NEW POTATO SALAD

12 small new potatoes, quartered

1 cup frozen peas

1/4 cup sliced green onions

2 teaspoons fresh herbs (such as basil, oregano and/or chives) or 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1/8 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

1/2 cup low-fat lemon yogurt

2 tablespoons reduced-calorie mayonnaise

2 tablespoons skim milk

In medium sauce pan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil; if desired, add salt to water. Add potatoes and return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 5 to 8 minutes or until potatoes are tender, adding peas during last 5 minutes of cooking time.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine all remaining ingredients; mix well.

Drain potatoes and peas; rinse with cold water to cool. Add potatoes and peas to yogurt mixture; toss to coat. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until serving time. Serves 6.

- From Pillsbury Fast And Healthy Magazine

SUMMER FRUIT SMOOTHIE

1 ripe peach or nectarine, sliced

Juice of 1 grapefruit (3/4 cup)

1 cup frozen nonfat vanilla yogurt

1 envelope sugar substitute or 2 teaspoons sugar

In blender, puree peach; add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Makes 2 7-ounce servings.

- From Sunkist