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Preserving Citrus Fruit

By Jacky Cronin, member of Seed Savers Albury-Wodonga

As I walk around the neighbourhood at this time of year, I see lots of heavily laden citrus trees peeking over fences. I develop quite a serious case of “citrus envy” as my own young trees are just beginning to bear decent crops. And unlike many people I look forward to the day I have a citrus glut.

There are endless ways to use citrus in cooking. Use grated zest in cakes, biscuits and slices or in a refreshing gremolata to add to heavy winter meat dishes. Use the sliced fruit in salads and the juice in dressings. And of course just eat the fruit. There’s nothing better than eating a juicy orange, mandarin or lemonade fruit.

Isn’t Mother Nature truly amazing? She delivers perfectly packaged vitamin C bombs just in time for the cold and flu season. There’s nothing like freshly squeezed orange juice to boost your vitamin C intake or a honey and lemon drink for a sore throat.

Citrus zest, juice and flesh can all be preserved for use all year round. Grate the citrus zest onto small squares of baking paper and freeze in single layers in a plastic container. Each square then holds the zest of one fruit. Preserve slices of peel in sugar syrup and then dry. These are especially nice when dipped in chocolate.

Or make your own flavoured sugar by mixing citrus zest with granulated sugar for use in baking, herbal teas or on pancakes.

Lemon and lime juice can be frozen in ice cube trays for individual portions. Use citrus fruit to make cordials, syrups and marmalades for your own family or to give away as gifts. Infuse olive oil and vinegar to have on standby in your pantry. Citrus can be used to create savoury preserves too like beetroot and orange chutney and lime pickles and preserved lemons.

Have we used up the glut yet… no? Ok, how about using the using lemon juice in homemade cleaning products. Or dry slices of citrus to decorate Christmas wreaths and other craft projects. Use orange shells as slater traps in your garden. I could go on forever! Bring on the glut I say, after all if there’s no glut, there’s no glory!

Jacky will be hosting a free workshop on this topic from 1-3pm on Sunday 25 August at the Albury Community Wood Fired Oven. All welcome. For further details visit eco.redsally.com.