- Author: Carol Michael
- Editor: Noni Todd
By Carol Michael UCCE Master Food Preserver
It's raining satsuma mandarins and lemons in my neighborhood. What can I do beyond making juice and eating them fresh? Tim C., San Luis Obispo
Just when we need color most to brighten the shorter days, citrus trees through the Central Coast are dripping with ripening fruit. The sunshine colors of lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit are everywhere. Citrus, ripening to their sweetest and juiciest right now, are also abundant at farmers markets and grocery stores. Citrus fruits pack a potent dose of vitamin C and do double duty as a healthy snack during cold and flu season.
There are numerous ways to preserve familiar citrus: limes, lemons and grapefruit, as well as lesser known: blood oranges with their brilliant color and complex flavor; bite-size kumquats, with sweet edible peels; satsumas, a super-sweet tangerine with no seeds plus loose skins for easy peeling; and thin skinned Meyer lemons, often difficult to transport and store. Citrus and its juice can be made into marmalades, compotes, conserves, dried, candied, frozen, added to mustards, and salt preserved.
Too many lemons? Lemon curd is one tasty solution to your overflowing citrus wealth. Lemon curd, despite its curious name, is a thick, soft, and velvety cream with a tart yet sweet citrus flavor, cooked on the stovetop. No exotic ingredients required: just eggs, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and butter. The same process can used to prepare lime curd, substituting lime juice and lime zest. Traditionally used as a spread for scones, citrus curds make a delicious filling or topping for tarts, pies, and cakes. Curds made from fresh lemon or lime juice are not safe to can in a boiling water canner due to the variability of their acidity. You must use bottled lemon or lime juice for those recipes. You can safely prepare and freeze curds made from fresh juice for up to one year.
Need more ideas? Check out the UC Master Food Preserver's California Citrus class on Saturday January 25, 2020, from 10:00 am to 12pm at UCCE Auditorium, 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo. UC Master Food Preservers will share a variety of ways to preserve citrus for year-round enjoyment. Pre-registration is required, and class size is limited. Register at http://ucanr.edu/calicitrusClass fee is $10.00.