Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Acres of Tangerines, Bushels of Oranges and a Grove of Grapefruit

It's unseasonably cold here in California which puts a large part of the nation's citrus crop in danger. Headlines in today's San Francisco Chronicle blared that 70 percent of the citrus crop are in jeopardy. Avocados could suffer, too.

Well, before the cold snap, Gary (Mr. Blog Appetit) and Noah (aka The Future Pastry Chef) stopped at Pedricks, in Dixon, CA, one our two regular, favorite farmstands (the other is Fisher Farms in Ripon, CA) and bought acres of tangerines, bushels of oranges and what seemed like a whole grove of grapefruit.

Foolishly, I shared my bounty. Now I wish I hoarded the goods. The diminshing mountains of citrus worry me, where before I wondered how I would use up the supply.

No tangerine sorbet this time, we still have lots in the freezer from the last batch of tangerines. Gary and Noah have been juicing so much I think our 20+-year-old juicer might have burned out its motor. We take turns peeling the fruit and sharing the sections amongst us and I have tried to incorporate the fruit into my cooking.

I just kind of jumped into "creating" some dishes using the citrus with varied success. I tried to make a caramelized tart with the tangerines in a tarte tartin style and found the tangerines, despite all the sugar, cooked up a bit bitter. The crust was wonderful, though. I think next time, I'll bake the crust, add a pastry cream or other filling and top with fresh tangerine slices.

I next tried combining slices of peeled oranges with sliced onions and sweet potatoes seasoned with cumin, cinammon, salt, pepper and a few other seasonings with a bit of butter on top and fresh orange juice to moistened it all as it baked. The yams tasted yummy, the orange slices kept their shape (I had thought they might fall apart a bit) and were okay, the onions were strangely bitter.

I guess I have a lot to learn about cooking with citrus. I'll keep experimenting, but maybe read up a bit on cooking citrus. If I come up with anything good, you'll read it right here at Blog Appetit.


Brilynn said...

Feel free to send some of those bushels of citrus fruit along with the books ;)

janelle said...

I love citrus! Love it! I am making flavored vodkas right now!