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50 lbs of orange citruses – What to do with them?


xxchef
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It's citrus season in the south west and several well intentioned (but obviously overwhelmed) friends have shared with us their backyard bounty. I now have well over 50 lbs of mixed orange citruses (oranges, tangerines, tangelos etc).  They are awesome, delicious, sweet, juicy and perfect but how many oranges can 2 people eat?  

 

I'll probably make some marmalade, juice some and puree up some more to freeze for future fruit-based beverage and confection experiments but I could really use some help on a few good, solid everyday uses to put them to.

 

Just got off the phone.  Another friend is on her way with a "big box of citrus" for us.  Maybe it will be lemons or limes?

 

Help?

The Big Cheese

BlackMesaRanch.com

My Blog: "The Kitchen Chronicles"

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"The Flavor of the White Mountains"

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Marmalade itself is a good base for future sweets, of course, and it concentrates the volume more than juicing or pulping.  I don't envy you all that peel to slice !

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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Yes, you can't have too much marmalade it is so versatile. From there you can use it in cakes, muffins and sauces, glazes, etc.

Some other ideas: pâté de fruit, fruit leather, BBQ sauce, marinades. You can slice the oranges, dehydrate and use the dried orange slices and peel in cooking.

"The main thing to remember about Italian food is that when you put your groceries in the car, the quality of your dinner has already been decided." – Mario Batali
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make preserved oranges. sterilize a few glass jars and lids, then pack them with sliced oranges, orange juice, sea salt and if you like, a spice like fennel seeds or crushed black peppercorns. make sure the jars are completely filled with fruit, juice and salt. seal. store the jars in a cool, dark place for one week. each day, shake the jars. after one week, transfer them to a refrigerator. store in the refrigerator for three more weeks. continue shaking the jars each day. the oranges are ready for use after approx. one month.

the obvious choice is Moroccan dishes (tagines, couscous, etc.), but I treat preserved citrus the same as preserved lemon. you'll be using the peel, which will turn into a very soft, faintly sweet, aromatic substance that might remind you of olives.

some ideas: use the peel (approx. 1 tablespoon, chopped up very fine) in stews, in salad dressings, in pasta, to dress steamed or roasted vegetables, in a picada, or as an accompaniment to roast beef sandwiches.

for the zest, you can make candied orange peel. or citrus salt.

Edited by SobaAddict70 (log)
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Easiest:  share the bounty with others.  Bring a big sack to your local public library--see if they'll put them out for patrons.  I take surplus citrus to my gym, where it is put out in a pickup basket near the smoothie counter.  Your neighbors will love you if you share the largesse.  Ditto for your coworkers.  Nothing says you can't share the wealth.  Better to share than to have it all go moldy while you strive in vain to use it.

 

Juice and freeze some for making lemonade and orangeade once hot weather returns.  

Make freezer jam:  you can buy powdered pectin formulated for freezer jam, and you eliminate all of the cooking and tedious canning steps.  

Fresh juice every AM is the biggest highlight of winter.  I recommend the MetroKane L-Press for high-volume manual juicing, esp if you don't like pulp.

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I am always inundated with my own and bounty from others. As noted above re-gifting is a good plan as well as  juicing and freezing in ice cube trays. I do that with the tangerines because they do not keep well off the tree and it is so nice to have the juice later on. 

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It probably won't consume much of your bounty, but if you're so inclined citrus liqueurs are pretty easy to make.  Using a piece of cheesecloth/muslin, simply hang three or so oranges/whatever above (not touching) a litre of 90% (or so) alcohol.  That probably means Everclear for most.  After three weeks remove the fruit (it will look pretty awful, but the insides are still good, if alcohol-infused - squeeze 'em over ice cream).  Make up a simple syrup of sugar and water (say two cups of each, brought to a boil and simmered for a couple of minutes then allowed to cool) and add  this to your now citrus-flavoured alcohol.  Bottle and enjoy in moderation.  Small bottles also make excellent gifts.

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Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
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Citrus-based gelatin (using packets - I use Knox, but I don't know what else is easily available) is another great way to use the bounty.  When I've had an excess, I've juiced a LOT of mandarins, minneolas, oranges, lemons, or a mixture to provide the liquid base for the gelatin mix, then added my choice of chopped fruits for an excellent gelatin-based dessert. It may be a lot of work to squeeze all that citrus, but the final product keeps well and tastes wonderful. It also helps preserve the fresh fruit that's encased in the gelatin.  

 

Another trick is to juice the citrus and freeze the juices, as heidih noted above.  I've read of cooking the juices down and freezing the concentrated results, but I've had mixed results (at best) with that approach.

 

I'm guessing that the oranges are navel oranges, instead of valencias, given the season.  One thing I'd like to point out is that navel orange juice has an enzyme that turns the juice bitter about 1/2 hour after the juice is squeezed or the orange is cut, if theyr'e left at room temperature.  Harold McGee notes in his book,http://www.amazon.com/On-Food-Cooking-Science-Kitchen/dp/0684800012/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1394688706&sr=8-1/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=http://www.amazon.com/On-Food-Cooking-Science-Kitchen/dp/0684800012/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1394688706&sr=8-1&linkCode=as2&tag=egulletcom-20"> On Food and Cooking, that the enzyme is deactivated by heat.  I've found that a certain amount of pineapple also deactivates the enzyme. I've had great luck with high-heat roasting of chicken in citrus juice that included navel orange juice, but bitter (heh) disappointments when I tried to concentrate navel orange juice down by slow cooking.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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Thanks so much for the excellent suggestions.  I don't know why I didn't think of curd.  I love lemon curd but it didn't occur to me for the oranges.  I was not aware about the bitterness factor for Navels and will have to keep that in mind.  Re-gifting is a fun idea too.  Thanks all.

The Big Cheese

BlackMesaRanch.com

My Blog: "The Kitchen Chronicles"

BMR on FaceBook

"The Flavor of the White Mountains"

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  • 1 month later...

Preserved lemons. 

 

Mail a whole bunch to me.  :)

You've probably used all your oranges, tangerines and tangelos by now but I thought Sylvia's idea sounded interesting so made a couple of quick jars of preserved oranges using quartered thin skinned oranges, salt (about 3-4 tablespoons for a 1 pint jar), pure lemon juice. Only a month old but showing promise. Not salty-sour like preserved lemons but salty-sour-sweet. I'll leave them for another 5 months until the brine gets that lovely jelly around the fruit. Might be worth experimenting now just incase your friends innundate you next season. Wonder how a mixed lemon-orange-lime preserve would go?

Edited by TheCulinaryLibrary (log)
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Also probably a bit late to the party, but orange cakes sprung to mind.  The one in particular I'm thinking of uses zest, pulp, and juice - I'll see if I can rustle up the recipe.

Reminded me of a whole orange cake I make (the sbs.com.au, food safari version) . Won't help with a large quantity but it's delish.

http://www.theculinarylibrary.com/2013/05/whole-orange-and-almond-cake-recipe/

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