Wednesday, April 17, 2013

When Life Gives You Lemons (and oranges, and limes...)


Please don't think I'm complaining, but we are seriously surrounded by citrus right now
First off, our Meyer Lemon tree is going bonkers. 

Actually, technically only the left side is going bonkers. 

We've got so many lemons, it is awesome! As you can see, it's right by our front door, which is really beautiful. Lemon trees are so bright and cheery. I mostly use lemons in salad dressing, or in various recipes that call for lemon (which happens pretty often, mercifully). 


Meanwhile, the right side of the tree is full of future lemons! It's covered in pink buds and white blossoms. Citrus blossoms are so magically fragrant. I like to stick my nose in there and take a sniff every time I head in and out the front door. 


Nearby, the driveway is a busy place too. A few years ago I planted a Bearss lime tree (foreground), a Trovita orange (back), and a Cara Cara orange (little guy in the middle). This is the first year we've had any oranges, and it's really super exciting!

You might think I'm crazy, but these are actually limes, even though they look like lemons. I don't know what's up with that, but I assure you, they are super limey and we have LOADS of them.


I love limes so much, and I use them all the time - squeezed over Indian food, squeezed over beans and rice, in salsa, in a glass of water, a little here, a little there. Nonetheless, the ground under the tree has usually got 5-6 limes that fell before I could get around to them. Nice problems to have!


Every time I pop out the front door to pick a lime off my lime tree, I am so super happy and grateful to have lime access!

Our Cara Cara orange tree has proven to be the most fickle, and is definitely the runt of the litter. We usually have a few below freezing spells each winter and last year this poor Cara Cara really got worked over, and it's been struggling along all year. But! I'm SO delighted that it made it through this winter with flying colors - and LOADS of bright green spring growth and many blossoms!!! Huzzah!  Way to make a comeback, little friend!

Unlike its delicate neighbor, the Trovita orange is charging along full speed ahead. When I was shopping for varieties at the nursery, I purposely picked a Trovita because they said it would do well in our climate. I knew the Cara Cara was a bit of a gamble (but it is my favorite orange variety of all time, so I had to have it!), so I wanted an "Old Reliable" variety too. Clearly, Trovita has delivered.


It's sort of amazing, because the first couple of years we got no fruit, or maybe 1-2 sad oranges - but ho!  - this year is Orange City! The poor branches are drooped and sagging with the glorious weight of oranges. Honestly, these are not the best oranges you've ever had. The rind is very thick and the flavor is good, but not exceptional. Nonetheless, they're OUR orange babies and I'm very proud of them!

One of my delicious Cara Cara oranges!

I don't really know what to with so many oranges though! I made some candied orange peel, which I've used in various recipes... and I put oranges in my smoothies sometimes, and sometimes I'll just have an orange for a snack.

 One great thing about citrus (unlike apples or pears) is that you can pretty much leave it on the tree for what seems like an eternity, and it just gets better and better. With the apples, they all come on at once and for a few weeks it feels like my whole life is revolving around apples and applesauce and canning jars. The oranges are much less demanding, but still - I'd welcome your orange (and lemon and lime) suggestions! What are your favorite orangey recipes?

23 comments:

  1. I SO wish I had fruit trees! A couple of my coworkers have Meyer lemon trees and I sometimes am lucky enough to benefit from their harvest.

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    1. Yeah, people with lemon trees usually end up trying to shove bags of lemons at everyone they meet! The problem is that they come in waves - so many you can't use them all, and then none at all.

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  2. I just had an idea, how about making a 3 citrus-y marmalade/jam/preserve (not sure what you call it in the states)? Or something along those lines :) You can also pickle lemons, I think. The homemade marmalade is delicious in the morning over wholegrain toast ;)

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    1. this is such a great idea!! I really want to do this!!! I love marmalade, but even though I've made loads of jam, I've never made Marmalade. And I love your 3-fruit idea! Thanks for a great idea!!

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    2. No problem! I'm happy to inspire, keep us posted on how it goes ^^

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  3. My favorite thing to do with extra citrus is juice them (fresh OJ is the best) and then freeze any juice you won't use immediately in ice cube trays. You can stick the citrus ice cubes in freezer bags and have them all year round. Great to stick in a big jug of ice tea, punch, or sangria for the summertime (I prefer juice ice cubes because they don't water down your drink)! And you'll also have an easy stock for any recipes you want to make down the road - sorbets, lemon bars, all sorts of fun. Enjoy the bounty!

    Many thanks for the blog - I always enjoy your posts!

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    1. Hi Lesley! Yeah, this is a really good idea. I don't have tonnes of freezer room, but I'm working on getting a little more space in there. Then, I could fill it up with citrus juice! I love the idea of juice cubes. I've thought of freezing lemon juice, but freezing OJ too is a great idea.

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  4. Wow, wow, wow! You are so lucky with that citrus bounty. I love citrus in anything and everything so it's especially sad that we can't grow it in our crummy climate in England :( I didn't know that citrus can stay on trees a long time either, thanks for the education!
    As for recipes, my immediate thought was a raw orange creamsicle type tart or shake..but baking with citrus is amazing too- orange and date muffins, orange and almond cake, choc chip cookies with orange...Obviously salads with citrus vinaigrettes or creamy tahini and citrus work well, citrus glaze on tofu or tempeh...getting carried away. Have fun in the kitchen!

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    1. SO Many Great Ideas!! Thank you Coconutandberries!! Maybe I should plan my menu around citrus and only pick recipes that use at least one fruit. That would be fun!!! :)

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  5. I cannot even begin to explain to you my level of jealousy. :-P

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  6. I like to use whole lemons and oranges in my smoothies. You strike me as the type to have a vitamix, am I wrong? If so, what I do is peel the lemon using a regular vegetable peeler and include the peel in my smoothie, because it's good for you, especially your skin! Then I trim off all the white pith, then throw the whole lemon, lime or orange into my smoothie. You could also make preserved lemons, if you're into that.

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  7. all your photos are so beautiful! i wish i could smell all the flowers and citrusy goodness!

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  8. I really like to through quartered lemons in with my roast veges, they kind of turn out like preserved lemons. Sweet, caramelised but also sour. Leave the skin on while roasting and then eat/suck off the flesh once it is cooked.

    Orange peels are really useful for making your own house cleaner. You can make juice or snack on the orange flesh and then use the left overs to clean with! Fill up a jar with the orange peels and pour white vinegar over until fill. Let it sit for a couple of weeks and then use it to make household cleaners, or rinse aid for dishwashers or fabric softener or whatever. Google how to use vinegar in household cleaning and use this in any other way.

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  9. Jackie8:16 PM

    I haven't tried it yet but roasted oranges in a savory dish like this one: http://www.edibleperspective.com/home/2013/1/25/orange-ginger-veggie-noodle-bowl.html

    Also, Indian lime (or lemon) pickle! The perfect spicy, sour condiment to all things Indian food. I'm sure Kittee has a recipe.

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  10. If you like scones, perhaps a lemon poppy seed scone or orange cranberry scones. Orange cranberry bagels are also amazing. :)

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  11. Anonymous12:32 PM

    I like the orange cake from Joy of Cooking for using a bunch of oranges.

    Unrelated, this looks amazing:
    http://www.saveur.com/article/recipe/Thandai

    Have you tried anything like this? I'm sure it would be good without the gin.

    :) jen e.

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  12. yellow limes! how cool! lucky you to have a produce aisle in your backyard:)

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  13. Meet the Shannons has a great tuscan lemon cake and fatfreevegankitchen has a yummy chocolate orange cake. Apparently I like cake! :)

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  14. I am seriously jealous. My dream has always been to have a lemon tree, but I currently live in an uncooperative climate. Lemon is my very favorite flavor.

    I don't think your lemon-lime is odd. In Brazil, lemon-limes are one fruit, called Limão. Lucky, lucky you with all thta lovely citrus abundance!

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  15. Beautiful photos of a beautiful fruit! Besides making pickled lemons, which was already suggested, you could also try using lemon juice as a hair conditioner. Lemon juice can also help with skin problems like acne because of it's disinfecting effect.

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  16. How beautiful, Amey! We don't usually have the weather and warmth for it, but my uncle has several lemon trees that he stores indoors and puts outside in the summer. I love their smell so much.

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  17. WOAH!! Citrus trees!!! That's it, I'm coming to live with you!

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  18. Having citrus trees right by the front door is so lovely! Orange bluberry muffins sound great right now, orange juice is great in a stir-fry sauce too. Piccata is always a good use for lemon, or gremolata.

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