Thursday, February 2, 2012

Citrus Madness 2012

So here it is, most of the varieties from the annual trip to "Mecca", the UC Lindcove Experimental orchard past Fresno, California.

Featured in this photo are, large back left to right: Sarawak, Melogold, Oro Blanco, Chandler; bright orange are tangelos, then a Moro; two kinds of lemons, one small Michal mandarin, all flanked by Allie's favorites, the Bergamots. Total fruit picked and brought home was probably around 80lbs.

Who didn't show up for the photo? Yuzu Papeda and Hand of Buddha, who have all been processed, and the Wekiwas, Sevilles and Bouquetier de Nice were avoiding the camera.

So, what do you do with this much fruit? How do I love thee... let me count the ways:

  • I do eat them. I put them in the kids' lunches. But for the first week I couldn't eat any because of my recent oral surgery, so I started processing right away.

  • Lots of juice. I have actually drunk plenty of mixed fruit juice the past few days.

  • Champagne sorbet with Limonero Fino lemon juice (more, with Oro Blanco, on the list).

  • Candied citrus peel - Hand of Buddha and Yuzu. More coming. Must candy some Bergamot.

  • Curd: Bergamot (2 batches - one with brown sugar and one with white - this is Best in Class so far this year), blood orange, Chandler, and Limonero Fino

  • Frozen yogurt: Yuzu so far. Lemon tomorrow.

  • Booze: Limoncello using Limonero Fino, Sarawak, Yuzu/Melogold, and Hand of Buddha. Still on the list: Bergamot and Grand Marnier. And I might just toss a bunch more lemon zest into the big Limoncello jar and double it. Who can have too much Limoncello?

  • Marmalade: mixed blood orange and Limonero Fino. Lots more on my list.

  • What I'm calling "crack". When I candy the peel, I save the sugar water that's left, and if it has reached the crack stage, it becomes brittle little infused pieces of goodness that go into my chai in the morning.

  • Dried finely ground peel: Lemon, Pommelo and Orange.

  • Dried peel from eating fresh fruit: I just toss this into my chai when it's simmering. Yum.

Some fruit has wended its way to Allie (YuminTum, who makes fabulous recipes and it's the least I can do for someone whose heart is in cooking while her head is in college textbooks), and some has gone to Tod, who is a fabulous chef who cooks at my annual knitting retreat in Ben Lomond each year. He picked his up personally, and was thus able to taste a bunch of the booze I made last year with the Mecca haul. He got half the Yuzus, because they're very loved by chefs, especially for Asian food. I had never picked the Yuzus before, and they began to rot rapidly. So you never know, maybe Yuzus will become one of my new favorites - the flavor certainly is distinctive.

Allie has lots of ideas, and I'll probably follow some of them. I have about another week of processing to go. Wish me luck...

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