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Golden Harvest

The citrus fruit are miraculously good this year. There’s a bit of fruit fly damage here and there, but our haul of golden treasure is beyond miraculous. For a start, the satsuma tree excelled after “resting” in 2017:

Satsumas close-upPeeling the fruit sets free an intense fragrance… eating them is a blessing. 

The tree is still quite small, but it is doing better since we lopped some height off the hedge and cut the overbearing oleander down to size.

Satsumas 11.18 Meanwhile, the lemon-cum-orange tree has produced another bumper crop of the first type of fruit, and none of the second; although, as most of the lemons are actually more orange in colour, it seems to be playing around a bit. They categorically do not taste like oranges!

Lemons 11.18The branches here are in reasonably good condition. They were twice sprayed with a concoction of  liquid Castile soap, vinegar and cayenne pepper. This seems to have knocked the mealy bugs and other pests well and truly for six. I didn’t manage to cover the whole tree, however, so quality and appearance of the fruit are variable. The highest fruit, seen from a bedroom window, are covered in white honeydew.

Just as I was juicing lemons like nobody’s business and filling the freezer with bags of juice cubes, the limes came on-stream. The little tree near the plum has done quite well. Limes in Egypt are wonderful, small in size and with thin peel, yet bursting full of juice:

Lime - young treeThe bigger and older lime tree in the kitchen garden is, as you may know, one that I regard with extreme caution as it never fails to stab me in the head, or back, or limbs whenever I work – or walk – anywhere near it. In spite of our love-hate relationship, however, it has bestowed a bountiful harvest on us this year. Oh joy!

Limes - older tree(Photo is a bit strange: It had to be taken from a safe distance!)

Now, the kumquat is full of ripening fruit and I’m back in the kitchen for the marmalade-making process. First, the fruit lowest on the tree:

Kumquats lower level on tree 11.18

Once this lot are picked, there’s a whole load more above…

Kumquats upper levelFor every kilo of kumquats I add one lemon, weighing in at around 200g, to add to the pectin level and introduce a little “bite” into an otherwise rather sweet product; a disturbing amount of sugar (about 1kg)  and water. That’s all. No artificial additives and no chemicals of any kind, at least on the fruit.Marmalade prep 1More to come on this, I expect, as there are scores of fruit left on the tree. I’ll be making marmalade until Christmas… If you would like the recipe, please look under The Yum Factor

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5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Did I already explain what I suspect those oranges to be?

    December 1, 2018
    • Which oranges, Tony? We have so many trees – and no fruit – oranges, that is!

      December 2, 2018
      • By sour orange you mean bitter orange=Seville orange=neroli? It could be, but the blossom doesn’t smell like neroli. Plus, I have seen the trees on a farm in the Delta and they don’t look like our orange-cum-lemon. I presume it’s a straightforward graft where the rootstock is dominant, and we should probably cut it right down to let the orange grow. I just don’t have the heart to do that… According to Helena Attlee (‘The Land Where Lemons Grow’), citrus trees are genetically unstable and prone to do their own thing. So we will probably leave it alone, out of respect.

        December 2, 2018
      • Some refer to sour oranges as bitter oranges, and that might even be how they are known in England, where they are experts on the subject. I just know them as sour oranges because bitter oranges are another group that includes ‘Bergamot’, ‘Bouquet de Fleur’ and ‘Chinotto’. The English may know these by their specific cultivar names only (sort of like the ‘Seville’ orange, which I know as a sour orange). If you believe that cutting down the portion that might be understock would ruin the tree, but would prefer to keep the tree the way it is, there is no problem with doing so. However, you may want to give the preferred part precedence when pruning. I happen to like sour orange and other odd citrus. I would just find a use for the fruit.

        December 3, 2018
  2. The lemon-cum-orange might be a sour orange that is used for marmalade. Sour orange looks like an orange, and has a rich flavor, but is acidic like a lemon. Sour oranges can be used like lemons, but will provide a different and richer flavor. They are not often intentionally planted. They are used as understock for grafted trees, so commonly grow from the roots of citrus trees that were cut down. Sometimes, they grow from below the graft of an otherwise healthy tree, so one trunk produces sour oranges, and the other trunk produces another type of fruit. When I grew citrus trees, we grew only a few ‘Seville’ sour oranges for English people who really liked them for marmalade. The trees were not very pretty but the fruit was exquisite! The popular ‘Meyer’ lemon (which may not be popular there) is a weird hybrid of sweet orange and sour lemon. It also has a flavor that is richer than that of other lemons. However, your tree looks nothing like a ‘Meyer’ lemon.

    December 2, 2018

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