Citrus sections are a delightful way to eat up the abundance of oranges and grapefruit this time of year. With all the pithy white and membranes removed, even the pickiest of eaters will delight in a bowlful. When I first had sectioned oranges at my in-laws' house, I wondered how on earth they had spared the time to de-membrane each little piece. So tedious!
There is a trick to sectioning citrus efficiently. It isn't difficult, and it makes the most elegant dessert:
1. Start with fresh citrus. The closer to it having been plucked from the maternal tree, the better, as the whole process is easier when the peel is fresh and crisp, and not soft and leathery as it will get after awhile.
2. With a sharp knife, cut off both ends of the orange or grapefruit.
3. Beginning at the top, cut away the peel on the sides (in one long curl if possible. It looks so impressive when you are done!). Be sure to cut down through the white pith to the very edge of the fruit. Now you are left with a naked grapefruit/orange, the sections exposed.
4. Over a bowl (this is a fairly juicy process) insert the knife carefully between one of the sections and the white membrane. For the first section, you have to cut on both sides where the membrane is clinging to. After that, you usually only have to slice on one side of the membrane, and the section rolls away into the bowl, as shown below:
You can either stop along the way to pick out seeds, or pick them out post-sectioning.
Repeat the process with as many fruits as you wish, and soon you will have a big bowl of fresh citrus sections! Don't forget to give the husk of the orange a little squeeze afterwards. There will still be lots of juice left.