Saturday, January 23, 2010

Citrus Saturday

I was 21 when I made the decision to move from South Carolina to Southern California.

Granted, it was a teaching contract that lured me out to the Golden State (and a snotty promise to my parents that I would move as far away from home as possible when I finished college). But I have to admit that I had been seduced by watching one too many episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies: swimming pools, movie stars. Throw in the beach and Disneyland, and I was hooked.

More than two decades later, I'm now a little jaded at the sight of movie stars. Mickey and Minnie Mouse no longer do it for me. But there's one thing that reminds me that I'm living the golden life in the Golden State: citrus.

And if citrus was gold, I'd be a wealthy lady. Our backyard trees are heavy with oranges, grapefruits, Meyer lemons and pomellos.

I still can't get over the thrill of going to the back yard to pluck oranges for a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice.

It took 12 oranges to make about 24 ounces of juice.

Our grapefruit are a little sour, so I topped one with brown sugar and threw it under the broiler for 10 minutes.

Get 'em while they're hot! Just let it cool before digging in.

Nothing goes to waste. I use part of the peel to make orange zest and the remainder will go to our neighborhood goats.

I'm making a Harvey Wallbanger cake with the rest of the fresh OJ and the orange zest. Of course, that means that I'll get to sip a Wallbanger cocktail while the bundt is in the oven (and before and after).

Cheers to the good life in Southern California!


Cafe Observer said...

At least your move across the nation kept you in the South.

It's ok, SC - many others outside of Southern Cal still think what is on the TV or Theatres is what SC is all about.

Susan C said...

I guess I should make a lemon meringue pie or a key lime pie in keeping with the citrus theme and in honor of National Pie Day.

LA looks so glam on TV.

pasadenapio said...

Yes, we're very fortunate to have such lovely citrus in Southern California.

When I lived in Palm Springs we had two gigantic grapefruit trees that produced the most succulent, sweet citrus. We could sit poolside any day of the year and enjoy a luxurious breakfast complemented with this fine fruit.

Anonymous said...

My meyers are crazy, and the tangerines. I envy your oranges.

WV: Gootines. Hybrid citrus?

Jasmine @ Eat Move Write said...

Wow. That looks so yummy. I too made the move (from Midwest) to SoCal. We are a spoiled bunch, for sure.

colibri said...

Hmmmm... that "smells" so good in your kitchen !!! "(Citrus) trees... very pretty... (citrus) flowers... sweet (in spring)... (and) the fruits of the (citrus) trees NOT impossible to eat" (*)!!! and your cake, miam !... And I dare not imagine taste of the goats fed with the peels... Have a nice sunday after such a lovely "citrus saturday" !
(*) a nice song of Peter, Paul and Mary !

colibri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan C said...

PIO, Now THAT sounds like the good life!

AH, Don't forget you're always welcome to pick oranges here.

Jasmine, Spoiled is right. Don't think I could ever live anywhere else.

Colibri, Thank you! The tea and cake in your last blog post are lovely. Wish I could read French.

Petrea Burchard said...

You know our clementine tree is crazy this year. I'll trade you for some grapefruit.

Mary Bergfeld said...

You are so lucky and life is so unfair :-). If Mercury is in conjunction with Earth and Mars I might get small apples from my yard. I envy those of you who have citrus in your yards.

Anonymous said...

brag brag brag.

The squirrels took my nuts, the birds made off with my peaches and I have five puny oranges on a dwarf tree. Now if its the raw ingredients for tequila your looking one can rival my giant agave (not even the Huntington).

California Girl said...

you are making me homesick and I do miss the great selection of ripe citrus fruit.

Susan C said...

Petrea, I'd love to swap grapefruits for clementines. I think the grapefruit need a few more weeks to be at their best.

Mary, And I just love it when friends and family visit from out of state and can't get over how we have access to all this fruit.

PA, "brag, brag, brag" he he - can't help it. But, hey, an agave to rival Huntington's is something to write home about.

Cal Girl, Do come and help yourself next time you visit So Cal. : )

Piper Robert said...

Bonnie and I loved sitting on your patio and eating fresh oranges. We still talk about it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Susan! I found a recipe for limoncello that uses Meyer Lemons. I'm going to try it. Hope I don't kill myself.

Susan C said...

Robert, So happy the oranges made a lovely memory for you and Bonnie

AH, I've been thinking about making limoncello too. Looks pretty labor intensive.

Anonymous said...

I thought Clementine was a girls name. No?

Susan C said...

Oh, my darlin' Clementine

Margaret said...

Hold the cake. I'll take the cocktail

Anonymous said...

My vermin-cello is fermenting.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I wasn't kidding. Went google and discovered a whole lot of cats and horses named Clementine (no dogs).

From Wiki: It's thought to be a Mandarin orange.

A California market for them was created when the harsh 1997 winter in Florida devastated domestic orange production, increasing prices and decreasing availability.

Clementines lose their desirable seedless characteristic when bees cross-pollinate them with other fruit. In early 2006 large growers such as Paramount Citrus in California threatened to sue local beekeepers for their bees' trespass into clementine crop land.

I remember that story. Related to hive collapse.

Susan C said...

Margaret, I'll drink to that

AH, Only we know the secret ingredient. Can't wait to sample.

PA, Interesting history of the clementine. Have you sampled Petrea's clementines? They are so sweet and juicy that they are addicting.

Petrea Burchard said...

Interesting info, PA. I'm sure the clementine is a type of mandarin. Sweeter than a tangerine and much easier to peel.

I think our tree must be older than 1997, but I don't know how fast they grow.

And I've found more seeds in this year's crop than before. Bravo! I hope that means we've attracted bees. You can just eat the seeds, they're soft.

I'm sorry to say PA did not get a taste of this year's crop, which has been gobbled up by my neighbors (and me). The tree doesn't produce fruit every year, though it doesn't seem to have a regular schedule. Hopefully next year we'll have a good crop. (We had three years on and one year off.)