Tuesday 27 January, 2015 by Uncle Spike
Citrus fruit are harvested in one of two seasons, depending on the variety. For example, we have lemon and orange trees, some of which fruit in the summer, whilst the bulk of them are winter crops.
Ninety-five percent of our crops mature from late November to late January. For us, that primarily means clementines, but we also have pomelo, lovely large Washington oranges, small juicing oranges, winter lemons, wild oranges, and kumquats. As the picking season draws to a close, we have just a few left to share with you…
These are extraordinarily big and juicy this year on one of our trees. We had a storm just when they were flowering which blew off much of the flower heads, so this small tree ended up with less fruit in which to stuff in all its nutrients. This compares to another tangerine tree that had many more, but smaller, more normal sized fruit.
These wild trees are mainly kept for two purposes, one being to maintain the genetic balance of the orchard, as to have every tree the exact same means inter-pollination will eventually stifle the genetic strength of the orchard, much in the same way we talk about ‘inbreeding’. The other purpose is for grafting, as these wild trees are generally tough, and more readily accept grafts of other citrus trees in order to turn them into lemon trees for example. We just keep a couple of these trees, and use the fruit for marmalade, as whilst the flesh and juice are very bitter, the rind is excellent for semi-sweet marmalades.
These are plentiful most years, and vary from the size of a large guys fist, to almost small grapefruit sized monsters. The rind and pith is very thick in general, meaning peeling by hand is very easy, and the segments can be over an inch (3cm) wide, and very very sweet and juicy 🙂