How to Segment an Orange (or Any Citrus Fruit)

Home Hacks

We love the jeweled look of clean-cut citrus wedges in the salads and side dishes we order at fancy restaurants. In culinary terms, these are called citrus "suprêmes" - a fancy name for a simple technique! This is one restaurant trick that's easy to reproduce at home. Here's how:

What You Need

Ingredients
Any kind of citrus fruit

Equipment
Small, sharp paring knife
Cutting board

Instructions

1. Citrus Fruits - You can use this method to cut any citrus: oranges, grapefruits, even lemons.

2. Slice a little off the top and bottom - This gives you a stable cutting surface and will also make it easier to trim away the rest of the peel.

3. Trim away the skin and pith - You can use any knife you feel comfortable with for this step. Start at the top and slice downwards following the curve of the fruit. Try to cut away all of the skin and the pith without also taking too much of the fruit. We usually err on the side of caution and then go back afterward to trim up spots that we missed.

4. Cut into one of the segments - Use a paring knife for this step and have a bowl ready to catch the citrus juices. Slip the knife between one of the segments and the connective membrane. Cut until you reach the middle of the orange, but don't cut through any of the membrane. Go slowly and keep your fingers out of the way!

5. and 6. Scoop out the segment - Use a scooping motion to turn the knife back on itself, hook under the bottom edge of the citrus segment, and pry it away. The side that is still attached to a membrane will peel away, leaving you with a perfect wedge.

7. and 8. Repeat with all the other segments - Continue on with the next segment. Slide your knife between the membrane and the segment, and then pop the segment out. We find that the first segment is always the hardest to get out and the rest are a lot easier!

This takes a bit of practice. It also helps if your orange is fresh - we think ours must have been a little old because the flesh kept tearing (or we might just be out of practice!). Once you get the hang of popping out each segment, it's actually pretty fun. Just go slowly at first to avoid any knife accidents, please!

Related: Do You Know the Best Knife for Cutting a Tomato?


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Post originally published September 16, 2009

(Images: Emma Christensen)