Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Musings on a Perfect Citrus

I love citrus, especially those of the orange variety. There's almost no dessert that can compare with a perfectly ripe orange, picked from the tree, and eaten on the spot. No soda can compare with the lemonade you make with the fruit you just harvested from the tree. A cocktail just isn't a cocktail to me without a squeeze of fresh lime in it.

Our house resides in a former lemon grove. All traces of that farm are long gone, although some of our neighbors still harvest and sell their oranges.

While I don't get the quantity of fruit I'd like, the quality is sure there. 

We have three trees...a navel orange, a tangelo that I rescued from a trash pile, and a Meyer lemon. All three are dwarf trees.  

I definitely have my idea of what a perfect fruit from each tree will be...

On the orange, it has to be round. Like a globe, not oblong like an egg. The navel has to be small...almost non-existent (this gives you a bonus of a large, interior navel made exclusively of tasty, juicy pulp). The skin should be rather thick to make peeling easy, I like to peel and eat the sections more than I like to cut it up into pieces with a knife. The color should be a dark orange, signifying that it has absorbed all the UV the sun could pour on in and converted that into life-giving ascorbic acid.

The orange at the top of this post looks like it meets most of these qualifications, I think I'll pick it today.

A tangelo should also be dark orange for the same reasons. They're easy to peel naturally, so the skin doesn't have to be as thick but it helps to have a large head of rind on the top. Now, you pop that off like the pin of a hand grenade and strip of from top to bottom. 

This last fruit from this year's crop meets that criteria. It's coming off today too.

The Meyer lemon needs only to be a deep yellow. It's naturally sweeter than most lemons. I don't have a use for it this week, so I'll leave them on the tree a couple of more days before we take them off and make lemonade or maybe lemon cake.


Copyright 2014 - Darryl Musick
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