- Author: Lauria Watts
There is an alley I walk and down that alley is a Meyer Lemon tree that is just LOADED with fruit. If there was some hang-over fruit, I would feel free to pick some, but not so with these. The fruit is just out of reach on the other side of the fence AND there is a young, extremely alert and noisy dog that ferociously announces my passage--every time!
Meyers are not quite so tart as regular lemons and are more aromatic. They ripen to a lemony-orange color and are more spherical than the usual store-bought fruit. They make a beautiful display on the tree, bright and cheery.
There are certain recipes I would like to indulge in and preserve if I can get some of those Meyers. Lemonade concentrate, Strawberry Lemonade concentrate, lemon jelly, lemon marmalade, lemon curd! Good lemon products are great to make at home when your main ingredient is free.
Maybe I should stop writing and walk down to the street and approach this problem from the front of the house where the Lemon tree resides. A promise of some lemonade concentrate could be made in return for a load of lemons. . . It could be a win-win situation: sweets plus a tree clean-up for the owners and sweets and more for me!
If you should come upon some free lemons, or even if you have to pay for them, try the lemon curd recipe that I wrote about last year: Lemon Curd--try this with those new-found powers of HOME CANNING! It really is a very good recipe and is rich and flavorful and eminently worthy of eating by the spoon. Of course, try some as a cake or tart filling, eat it on sugar cookies, it's great.
Here's a fact sheet for lemon curd: Preparing and Preserving Lemon Curd.
Is there room for lemon curd in your future life--yes, and I know you want it!
- Author: Lauria Watts
Interesting fruit, no? Our blood oranges were supposed to be Cara Cara Navels, but we got a dark, dark blood orange; it is mostly darker than the one pictured here. Ours definitely has a "red" taste to it, sorta like berries or raspberries, and are generally much darker than the orange at right--that pigment is what gives them that berry flavor.
Now is the time of year a lot of citrus comes ripe all over southern California. That's when the significant-other-hubby-type-person starts to gently urge (read "nag"here) me to do taste the blood oranges and do something with them. For a semi-dwarf tree, it sure bears well. And for some reason, the wildlife ignores the fruit, so we always have plenty.
He usually picks them a little too early. When I taste them they have flavor but are much too sour to eat right then. If I wait, they never seem to get so ripe that I really want to eat them out of hand, but they make a great jelly or marmalade. I think they would make a great syrup too.
Here is a recipe from the National Center For Home Food Preservation for some spiced orange jelly. I leave the spices out so the flavor of my blood oranges shines through.
Spiced Orange Jelly with powdered pectin (Omit items below and will have plain Orange Jelly)
Yield: About 4 half-pint jars
2 cups orange juice (about 5 medium oranges)
1/3 cup lemon juice (about 2 medium lemons)
2/3 cup water
1 package powdered pectin
2 tablespoons orange peel, finely chopped (omit for plain orange jelly)
1 teaspoon whole allspice (omit for plain orange jelly)
½ teaspoon whole cloves (omit for plain orange jelly)
4 sticks cinnamon, 2 inches long (omit for plain orange jelly)
3½ cups sugar
Procedure: Sterilize canning jars and prepare two-piece canning lids according to manufacturer's directions.
To make jelly. Mix orange juice, lemon juice, and water in a large saucepan. Stir in pectin. Place orange peel, allspice, cloves, and cinnamon sticks loosely in a clean white cloth; tie with a string and add to fruit mixture. Place on high heat and, stirring constantly, bring quickly to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Add sugar, continue stirring, and heat again to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Remove spice bag and skim off foam quickly.
Pour hot jelly immediately into hot, sterile jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a Boiling Water Canner.
Process in a boiling water canner, for half pints or pints:
At 0 to 1000 ft. -- 5 minutes.
At 1001-6000 ft. -- 10 minutes.
Over 6000 ft. -- 15 minutes