It’s Orange Harvest Time
Sweet, juicy oranges bring a ray of sunshine in the cold winter months. We have been busy harvesting a bunch from a friend’s tree. What a project just picking them. The tree we picked from had been growing for thirty years before it began to produce, but wow, when it started producing, it has been loaded. This tree, but not all varieties, has huge green thorns that you must watch out for or they’ll get you! It took three people, one to cut and the other two to catch the fruit. No, we didn’t run around trying to catch each one, we used an 8 foot sheet of shade cloth (‘cause that’s what we had handy) held by two people. If oranges hit the ground, they split open. Once the branches came down into the net, we could roll them over gently onto the ground and separate them. We worked two days harvesting fruit and enjoyed sweet oranges so fresh, the tree didn’t even know they were missing.
Let the Orange Processing Begin
Once home, we began the washing and juicing process. Squeezing the oranges first by hand and then with an electric juicer, we had juice and pulp everywhere. We saved pulp and rinds for other projects, and froze the juice.We prepared some oranges for marmalade by cutting them on a mandolin into 1/4” slices, rind and all. After removing the seeds, we cut the slices into quarters, then added more de-seeded pulp along with some squeezed juice to the slices. We used Alton Brown’s marmalade recipe. Following the cooking process to get the sauce to thicken required lots of cooking time because of the quantity we were working with (6 quarts). We used a water bath canner to process the marmalade.
So Many Orange ideas
While this simmered on the stove, we cleaned the insides of remaining rinds, boiled them in water for 10 minutes, allowed them to cool and scraped off the inside pith. These will become orange rind candy. We mixed some of the remaining pulp with honey and spread on dehydrator trays to make orange fruit leather. The last of it with water kefir microbes to make homemade orangina.
Billie Nicholson, Editor