Friday, November 4, 2011

Citrus Season

Citrus season is upon us! If you ever wondered why stockings were filled with oranges, I know I did when I was little, it's because this is the time when it's easiest to get a good orange or grapefruit. Lemons and other small citrus is a little easier around the year but are still easer now.
Leaves of course are a year round thing and so the thai basil noodles my wife likes so much don't have a season but that's neither here nor there. Maybe it should be here...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lemon Tree Died

Ok, it's official, the lemon tree has died. I left it out this winter in hopes that it might survive and be a super hardy lemon tree. It didn't happen but I don't feel too bad about it. I was out and about today and saw a citrus tree that had to be fifteen years old or more. The trunk was thick and had many branches. It was dead. The frost probably hit it pretty hard this last winter as it did a lot of trees in the area. Good news... The kaffir lime tree lives! Of course I kept it inside and under a grow light with plenty of water and babying but I really really like it.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Blood Orange Chesecake

We made a cheesecake using blood oranges for flavoring. It didn't turn it red but there is a slight pink tint to it. The flavor really is the best part anyhow.

If you have never had a blood orange, they're very sweet and juicy. Unfortunately the ones we had had been sitting for a while and had lost some of their juice but we still got enough for the recipe.

This should work with most cheesecake recipes but if it turns out horribly wrong when you try it then I'm glad I said "should".

In a small sauce pan comgine 1 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons orange zest.

Boil until sugar dissolves then lower heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes.

Chill in the fridge to at least room temperature.

Pretty simple and tasty.

Nom nom nom nom nom...

Monday, February 21, 2011

How to Eat a Kumquat

Most citrus fruit is really easy to eat. Even grapefruit is a cinch if you know what to do.
The task I'm going to explain though is eating a kumquat. The problems eating a kumquat are that it's small and there are a lot of seeds in it. You can eat the peel and have a more bitter experience or you can easily remove the seeds and peel.

First you cut around the outside of the kumquat most of the way into the center.

Second, twist the two halves apart. This takes some practice since you might not have cut it quite right.

Third, remove the seeds and plant them if you want to. They will grow an a wide variety of locations or even indoors.

Fourth, Scoop out the inside with a teaspoon. The peel isn't very thick so go slowly and work your way around and down the peel. You might have to pull it out a little once it reaches the bottom but it should be easy to remove.

After you have peeled your kumquat you can dry the peel and use it in your potpourri. It has a wonderful mix of citrus oils and is quite fragrant.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pruning the Lemon Tree

This winter it has gotten very cold. I decided early on that I wasn't going to bring the lemon tree in this year, sink or swim as they say. As you might know, lemon trees are evergreens and don't usually loose their leaves. Apparently they loose them if it gets too cold so as to protect the branches and the rest of the tree from freezing to death.
I took this opportunity to trim up the branches so they weren't competing so much. They had gotten pretty tangled. This also gives a good look at the thorns it has. Up the right side is a good view of some that are over two inches long.

This gave me a great idea. Cats have been sleeping and lounging in my vegetable bed. Someone told me that if you lay bamboo or other poky sticks across the area that cats won't want to lie in it anymore. I had my doubts but it seems to work pretty well with citrus trimmings. I went out there today and it looked like a cat tried to move them out of the way but without success. I pushed some of the thorns into the ground to anchor them.
I know my indoor cats don't like the thorns and so far the outside strays don't either.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Buddha's Hand

I have never had a citrus go bad so quickly. I didn't take any pictures since it was pretty much a powdery green coating on the fingers of the fruit which started from the middle of the fruit and spread outward, but I felt that I had to describe it.
I cut it open to look for seeds since I was obviously not eating it. Inside it had a very sweet smell, not at all unpleasant, and no seeds. I hear they're pretty uncommon in this variety. Next time I get one I will cut it open right away to see exactly what the deep inside tastes like. I would guess that it's probably much sweeter than it's relatives.
The bit I did cut off, before the powdering started, and tasted a little of was strong but not as rindish as you might expect. It also might be possible to ferment the insides due to a higher sugar content.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Buddha's Hand Citrus

I didn't know what to expect but it's an obvious choice for variety. I went ahead and got the large one since they were priced by the piece even though it had a few pieces already cut off of it.
The peel has large oil nodules in the skin and is very fragrant, a cross between orange and lemon somewhere.

Centrel Market is having their Citrus Fest going on and they were handing out these handy reference booklets for ideas on what you can use the different kinds for. The Buddha's Hand is typically candied and is the recomenation they give. I hope to getting around to trying it in the next day or so.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Etog Heart

At first I couldn't figure out exactly what this citrus was. It was with the etogs but didn't look the same.

After I got it home I split it open and took a look. It was strange to see the outer peek cutting through the middle of the fruit but at least I could now identify it. It was an etog but it had two fruits combined into one.

This split shows an even better view of the inner peel. Plenty of seeds here to plant even though the inside had little juice. Another zester.

Blood Orange Syrup

My first attempt at making this has not turned out as well as I hoped. I cooked it on too high of a heat and the sugar started to caramelize. It still doeasn't taste bad but the color is more of a red-brown. I think I will try reducing the juice first next time and see if that helps any.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Yuzu Citrus

This has to be one of the more bitter citrus fruits I have come across. The flavor is mixed in well with the equally strong tart flavor and gives a good overall flavor. There isn't much juice in one of these. When I first picked it up I wondered if it had gone bad. They all had the same feel to them and so I bought a couple.
Below is a whole yuzu that has some of the zest removed. The green color from the rind gives the zest and interesting look to it. Some of the fruit is greener than others so it depends on what color you want from it as to which one you decide to pick up.
The zest is very flavorful and gives off a very lemony scent with a hint of orange.
They more than make up in seeds what they lack in juice. After taking this picture I took all of the seeds out of the first one and came up with a total of 18 seeds. They were large too and totally plantable. If you want to try growing citrus this is a good pick.