How to Segment Citrus Fruit

Here’s how to segment citrus fruit. Segmented oranges, grapefruit and pomelo are beautiful additions to salads, entrees and desserts.

Peeling and eating an orange for lunch or snack is fairly straight forward.  Make a cut in the rind, peel it back, remove any white bits and eat one piece at a time. Easy-peasy, even if  your chin and fingers end up covered with sweet sticky juice.

cut out core of mandarin

But if you’re diving into a grapefruit or dicing or slicing oranges for a special recipe like the orange and celery salad, the fennel and orange salad, the tangerine and blood orange salad or the grapefruit parfait, you’ll need an alternate, faster method.

celery and orange salad

Here’s my favorite technique for when I’m making salads, preparing grapefruit or making recipes that require segmented citrus pieces. I even made a YouTube video that demonstrates these steps in action. There’s a separate video for Honey Pomelos too.

Peeling and Segmenting an Orange

1. Slice the top and bottom of the orange.  Try to feel for where the pith (white skin) and the flesh of the fruit meet.

2. Place the orange or grapefruit on a cutting board and using a sharp knife cut between the flesh and the peel from top to bottom.  Make several cuts like this all the way around the orange.

Peeling Orange

The challenge is to cut as little of the flesh as possible while getting as much of the pith as possible. Ahh, don’t you love a good challenge?

peeling oranges

When you’ve gone all around, you may need to trim off any extra white parts to get naked oranges.

naked oranges

3. For round slices, lay the orange on its side and cut slices.

sliced citrus varieties

For diced pieces, split orange in half and remove the white center core.

removing center

Separate into individual pieces.

dicing oranges

Cut into diced pieces.

diced oranges

With oranges, because the membranes separating the segments are relatively tender and not very bitter, it’s not necessary to remove them. With grapefruit however, (or if you want to be uber fancy with your oranges) you’ll want to remove the membranes. The video does a great job of describing this process.

When you’re cutting out the white center core, make a fairly deep v cut into the center of the grapefruit so that you are cutting open all the segments. This will expose any seeds and allow you to slide your knife between the membrane and the flesh of the fruit.  Repeat this with each segment, they should be fairly easy to pop out.

Segmenting Grapefruit

Here’s the video if those instructions weren’t clear enough.

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If you’re looking for information about how to peel and segment a Pomelo, check out this link and/or YouTube video.

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What’s your favorite citrus recipe? While I love all kinds of different recipes, my daily go to is the grapefruit and yogurt parfait. I eat it almost daily until I can’t get sweet Texas grapefruit anymore.

yogurt grapefruit parfait

Getty Stewart is an engaging speaker and writer providing tasty recipes, time-saving tips, and helpful kitchen ideas to make home cooking easy and enjoyable. She is a Professional Home Economist, author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, mom and veggie gardener.

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