It’s winter in Australia. Here in Armidale, Australia’s highest city, sub-zero temperatures are a frequent occurrence. The lowest recorded temperature is around -12oC. Frosty mornings usually make way for the weak sun to warm things up to a bearable 13 – 15oC most days but it’s dismal on the days with no sun. You can guess I’m not really a fan of the cold!
Warmer down the hill!
Not so down on the Coffs Coast where my Mum and sister live. A few weekends ago, I was visiting and while there were lovely cool nights, the daytime temperature hovered around a glorious 22oC.
Perfect! Sunny, light breeze and low humidity. If this is winter, I could do it forever.
Cold nights and sunny days are great for citrus fruit, and it seems everyone has at least one tree in their backyard. My sister offered me some fruit from her lemon, lime and orange trees, and then we moved on to her neighbours, who had ruby grapefruit and mandarines. “Take as many as you want” was the cry! “They will only end up in the ground. We can’t eat them all.”
So I did! I took as many as I thought I could deal with before they went mouldy – around 15 kg at best guess. Somehow or other, I ended up with twenty large grapefruit and only four oranges! My original goal was to make a few batches of candied oranges, so the plans had to change, and I supplemented the hoard with a bag of oranges from the supermarket.
I have spent most of the last two weekends in my happy place dealing with this citrus bounty. I’ve ended up with a tasty array of homemade treats to share with the family. Including:
Pink grapefruit cordial
Orange cordial from the syrup used to make the candied oranges
Dehydrated citrus slices
Indian-style lime pickle
Grapefruit and ginger marmalade
Preserved salted lemons
And a bowl full of fruit to eat fresh!
In my quest to reduce waste, the peels have become a citrus oil cleaner.
My stash of glass jars has been drastically reduced and the pantry is full! At least I won’t be getting scurvy anytime soon!