Joe has an orange tree and he no longer bothers harvesting the fruit. He knows what keen garden produce people we are so he offered Frank a tree’s worth of oranges if he’d come pick them.
Frank trundled over on foot (it’s just a couple of blocks away) with a big bucket in his hand. About an hour later Frank and Joe came back in Joe’s car – way too many oranges for one bucket and way too much for one man to carry in his hands.
After giving away baskets and bags full to friends and neighbours, we still have enough for freshly squeezed orange juice every day. And then some.
It’s what to do with the “and then some” that had me thinking. Frank will make some marmalade – okay, there’s a kilo gone. But I was more interested in preserving some for my various recipes that hinge on fresh citrus. Especially my newly beloved citrus sherbet (originally made with lemons, but oranges work as well) and my regular staple friand (originally made with mandarins but oranges work as well!). It dawned on me that both of those really only require the juice and zest of citrus. So I devised a clever saving scheme.
First I juice then zest 4 oranges.
Then I put the juice and zest of those 4 oranges into a ziplock bag, place the bag on 2 chopsticks (forming a cross) and place the whole thing in the freezer.
Finally, I separate the 4 orange-equivalent portions and stack them for easy freezing.
I’ve tried one round including defrosting a portion which became sherbet. It works really well. So I’ll be doing 4 a day for a while until I have “enough” (defined more by freezer space than by actual need).
This reserve is fantastic as I’ve become quite the citrus lover. What started as me hunting for creative ways to use up the variety of citrus in my back yard (mandarins, oranges lemons and kumquats) has become a list of recipes that I’d love to be able to prepare even out of season. Voilà, I’ve now can do just that.