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When Life Gives You Lemons (and Oranges)…


. . .what do you make? Our answer: As much as we can! When Shawn and I first moved into our little house in 1997, we were fortunate to find our lot already graced with established and producing trees: one orange, one lemon and one pecan. We didn’t know a lot about how to care for them and ensure that they would continue to thrive, but we’ve made some mistakes and learned a lot during the past 13 years—and while we apparently still have a lot to learn (such as how to keep the heavily laden branches of our lemon tree from breaking under the weight of all the fruit, and why some of our oranges aren’t as juicy as others), we somehow manage to have a pretty decent harvest each year. Right now, the citrus is in its prime and ready to be picked. Though our trees are about the same size (and presumable the same age), the orange tree yields probably about 100 to 150 pieces of fruit each season, while its proliferous neighbor gives us about two or three times as many lemons.

So what do we do with it all? Well, we give some of it away and trade more of it with neighbors and friends who grow other fruit (grapefruits, tangerines). But most of it we keep! For the next few weeks, we’ll be picking, zesting, juicing and freezing what we can to use throughout the year. Sure, we drink some of the orange juice and make plenty of lemonade. But we try to keep plenty on hand for use in a few of our favorite recipes, too—including a batch or two of bite-size lemon tarts (from a recipe in The Lemon Lovers Cookbook, by Peg Bailey) to citrus-roasted chicken, flavored by stuffing halved lemons and oranges into the cavity before cooking (a method recently shared by a friend).

Right now, lemons, oranges and pecans are the only foods we grow—although we hope to expand on that in the coming years. I’d love to know what you grow—and how you handle all that you harvest!

And speaking of growing, I’m also hoping to expand on my knowledge of traditional food-preparation methods by enrolling in the GNOWFGLINS Fundamentals eCourse offered by my friend Wardeh Harmon, who has planned a 15-week online class to teach simple methods for making healthy foods. I hope you’ll read what I wrote about the eCourse by clicking here, and consider joining us! And you have until next Wednesday (Feb. 3) to enter a giveaway for free enrollment. Click here for details!

This post is part of the Tuesday Twister blog carnival hosted by www.gnowfglins.com. To link to today’s Tuesday Twister on that site, click here.

Please note: It is my goal to provide a top-quality, content-driven, ad-free blog. That said, I do occasionally include affiliate links in some of my posts. For example, if you click on the book cover above, you will link to Amazon.com, where you will have an opportunity to purchase it—and if you do buy it after clicking through from my site, I will receive a small commission to support my work here, as well as my own book-buying habit. :-) Seriously, though, I’d be just as happy if my recommendations inspired you to check out the title from your local library or borrow it from a friend. And the banner for the GNOWFGLINS Fundamentals eCourse is also an affiliate link to much more information about the eCourse and its offerings, as well as an opportunity to sign up when enrollment begins.

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1 Wardeh @ GNOWFGLINS { 01.26.10 at 8:05 am }

What a blessing to have fruit trees! That is my dream – fruit and nut trees. Maybe someday. 🙂 I also think it is great that you trade and do so much with it.

Thanks for helping to spread the word about the GNOWFGLINS eCourse – I’m glad you’ll be there!

2 Paula { 01.26.10 at 1:05 pm }

You could make lemon curd and then process it for later in the year. With my lemons, I juiced them and put them in 2 cup capacity in the freezer for lemonade in the summer. I love lemon curd….yum yum.

Unfortunately for us, some lousy kids in our area decided to vandalize my citrus trees about 3 weeks before they were ready to be picked. I have a orange & a lemon that were loaded with fruit. This was going to be my best harvest ever. I ended up with 2 dozen lemons and about 10 oranges. The rest were smashed on the road. Bummer. Then we had a hard freeze and I’m not sure the lemon is going to make is. 🙁

I’d love to grow figs, peaches, and blueberries. I was supposed to plant those this fall, but we were short on money, then the rains came, so it’s actually good that I didn’t plant them because they would have drown!

3 Lanise { 01.26.10 at 3:49 pm }

I’m in Mesa and we’ve been loving the citrus. We don’t have any mature citrus trees, but know plenty of people who do. So far we’ve juiced a whole big box of lemons and made them into ice cubes for the coming year. We’ve also been eating TONS of oranges. Our neighbors have given us a whole bunch of pecans and my kids have been busy cracking them. The problem is we eat them faster than we can crack them. My next plan is to peel a whole bunch of oranges, divide them into segments and freeze like that. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to just throw them into smoothies like that. Our favorite smoothie right now is coconut milk, oranges, bananas and shredded coconut. Sometimes I’ll throw in frozen pineapple or mango. The citrus is the only thing that gives me comfort when others talk about all the fresh and local berries they get in the spring.

4 Juli Lonas { 01.26.10 at 7:46 pm }

Hello Sonya!

I just stopped by to see what was new in your household. I wish I could say we eat as healthy as you do, but . . .

Anyway, we have plenty of grapefruit that we’re more than willing to part with if you want some. They are very small this year, but seem to taste alright to me. I have to admit that I put sugar on them, so I guess I may not count as an accurate taster.

Let me know if you want any and I’ll bring some on Thursday afternoon.

5 Sonya Hemmings { 02.01.10 at 7:13 am }

Hi, Lanise! Your harvest sounds like ours! I like your idea of freezing the oranges in segments. I might try that, too. And your smoothie recipe sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing it!

6 Sonya Hemmings { 02.01.10 at 7:17 am }

Hi, Paula! Lemon curd IS good, but I’ve never made any. And what do you mean by “then process it for later in the year”?—canning it, perhaps? I’d love to know how you do that. Good idea to store the juice two cups at a time for making lemonade! Sorry about the vandalism, and I hope your lemon tree is hardy enough to withstand the freeze. I hope you get to do your planting next fall!

7 Some Sweet Stuff | hemmingshalfdozen.com { 02.09.10 at 6:50 am }

[…] friend Juli supplied me with after she read my recent post about our backyard lemons and oranges (click here to read about our citrus supply). As we dug into the grapefruits—eating some and juicing some—I […]

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