Blood oranges, bergamot lemons and your more humble varieties: we are generally happy with our deliveries from riverford.co.uk – I would not say the same of their veg boxes which sometimes feel punishingly full of unappetising cabbages. We’ve also been underwhelmed by their clementines.
All the supermarket chains are hit and miss when it comes to citrus fruit. A good batch can be followed by a disappointing one in the space of days. I’d always suggest that you ignore the packaging and pay attention to the variety as well as the supplier and farmer behind the fruit you buy. This information can generally be found near the barcode, and once you find a batch that you enjoy, make a mental note of that supplier in anticipation of your next trip to the supermarket.
Alternatively, it might be worth developing a good relationship with your local grocer, if you have one. Zena on Moscow Road (now sadly closed) used to keep Sicilian blood oranges for me because I had an open dialogue with them about this winter highlight.
I’d like to remind you that citrus fruit is at its best in European winter, and that (November to February) is the time to enjoy it at its best if you live in London. Of course it is available out of season as well, but you can’t expect the same standards and sap from jet-lagged fruit.
If you live in the United States, or have family and friends there, I find that Harry and David’s wonderful boxes of navel oranges make a marvellous gift or selfish treats.