It is citrus harvest time. We have been blessed with a gift of a bowl of navel oranges, but in our own garden we have Meyer and Eureka lemons, pink grapefruit and limes ready now. Our mandarin tree has not produced fruit this winter, but as it is finally growing, I am happy just to let it be. (Four years of sulking brought us near to giving up on this one).
We have been seeing some Mediterranean fruit fly in the garden and the fruit, so it is important that we harvest the fruit, and don't just leave it on the trees. We have bought and made our own fruit fly traps, but the other control trick is to ensure we don't leave the fruit on the ground, and dispose of the spoiled fruit by freezing first so there are no live larva in the compost.
In this picture you can see some of the ways we deal with the citrus harvest. I was given a dehydrator, and we absolutely love having dried grapefruit peel (right hand jar) , as it adds so much depth of flavour to a casserole.If you don't have a dehydrator, I guess you could do this with the residual heat in your oven after a cooking episode. I need to do this with lemon zest -in the past I have also frozen zest and it has been very useful. I freeze it in tiny packages -one lemon's worth at a time. This year I want to dehydrate it as there is only so much space in my freezer.
DH makes marmalade (left hand jar) . He likes small batches, and recently has taken to making it with just the juice of the fruit -not the pulp. He made some this week with lemons and a variety of spices including star anise, and it is SO GOOD.
My jar of preserved lemons (behind at the right) is more than half empty, and has gone that wonderful deep amber colour. Time to make some more! A small jar makes a great gift to someone too.
Lemon juice ice blocks are versatile -I add them to cooking and to my G & Ts when necessary! They have a strange property -if left in the freezer uncovered -they evaporate! It is necessary to take them from their trays and pack them in a covered container.
We had to remind ourselves recently that we can make fresh fruit juice out of our crop! It feels utterly decadent to drink freshly squeezed juice for breakfast! I like to think that, as my poor DH recovers from a serious bout of illness -he was eventually diagnosed with pneumonia- that this will help to boost his immune system again.
We also have some great recipes for using citrus in our meals: we had grapefruit & red onion salad the other day. I have a couple of new cook books with great ideas to try.
Finally, I guess my yellow quilt is continuing the citrus theme! Now pinned together as a quilt sandwich, it is a burst of lemony goodness.
I am going back to work this week. I have another trip to Victoria in a couple of months to look forward to, but meantime I have my lovely simple life with it's seasonal workload to keep me busy.