Part of our family Christmas tradition is sharing a leisurely Christmas morning breakfast, with a set in stone menu: scrambled eggs (grated cheese and salsa allowed as toppings if desired), yeast-raised coffeecake, and "Grandpa's Citrus Cup." I remember this fruit salad from my grandmother's holiday breakfasts decades ago, and my kids christened it with Grandpa's name because of the many Christmas Eves they spent helping their own grandfather peel the fruit and cut up the cherries for the mix. This is truly one of our family heritage recipes.
Christmas may be past for this year, but Grandpa's Citrus Cup is a recipe ideal for brunches throughout this winter season--and what better way to greet the New Year than with a healthy, bright dish like this that takes advantage of oranges and grapefruit at what is often their seasonal best prices.
The dish is simplicity itself, but the addition of maraschino cherries adds a special flourish that can make even a family breakfast seem above the ordinary. And don't forget, this is great for bumping up the Vitamin C levels of our diets in this flu and cold season too.
Grandpa Stirmel's Citrus Cup
oranges--juice oranges are preferred, but navel oranges are fine too
maraschino cherries and juice
sugar (optional, to taste)
Allow about 1 grapefruit and 2 oranges for each 2 to 4 servings. Use as many cherries as your budget and tastes prefer.
1. Cut the grapefruits in half and cut around each section to loosen the fruit. Squeeze this fruit into a bowl. Using a juicer, squeeze out remaining juice from the grapefruit shell. Remove any seeds before adding the juice to the grapefruit pieces.
2. Peel the oranges, removing as much of the white pith as possible. Pull the sections apart and then cut each into about two to three pieces. (For small to medium oranges, you can keep two to three orange pieces together before cutting.) If using juice oranges, remove any seeds. Add to the grapefruit.
3. Cut each cherry into four to six pieces and add to the fruit. Pour some of the juices from the cherries into the fruit mix as well. (This is a great use for the cherry juice left in the jar after using cherries for other purposes.) In our family, there are never too many cherries!!
4. Stir the fruits and taste, adding a bit of sugar if necessary. I sometimes add a few teaspoons of water if the mix is not very juicy--something that can happen if you use navel oranges instead of juice oranges.
Serve immediately or chill for several hours or overnight.
If you have family members who cannot eat grapefruit because of drug interactions, it will be nice to make a dish of just oranges cut up, with some cherries cut into them too.
We usually make a huge batch (about 1 to 2 grapefruit and 4 to 5 oranges per person) because this is a great thing to keep in the refrigerator as a healthy snack alternative to all those sweets surrounding us over the holidays.
Frugal: Make this when oranges and grapefruit are at their best prices. If your budget is really tight, make the servings slightly smaller and put in your prettiest small dishes.
Fast: Peeling and cutting the fruit is not difficult and is something that kids can get involved in at a relatively young age.
Fun: This is a great dish to prepare with kids because of the flexibility; add a little more or less grapefruit or oranges to taste--no need to measure carefully. The results are impressive too, so the kids (or you!) will get lots of oohs and ahs with little effort.