February 25, 2010
Many of us in this area have citrus trees in our yards. I adore the burst of color they give a winter garden. It is a comfort when my roses are pruned and bare to see all of the citrus in full production mode. I consider citrus to be one of my personal culinary obsessions, an addiction that leads to much marmalade.
Currently, I have Meyer lemons, pink lemons, lime, tangerine, kumquat and navels. My pink lemon tree is new and is beautiful with its variegated leaves. This tree is bright and healthy, so much so that it made me see how badly some of my other citrus on the property are faring these days. The leaves on my lemon trees that grow against my flower sink are yellow, the same with the leaves on the navel and lime. What happened here?
First, I realized they are malnourished. With the first day of spring less than a month away, I worked with my gardener to put a fertilizing schedule into motion. Any type of organic citrus food will help with a multitude of issues for your trees. It’s best to fertilize in early spring and again in early summer. Most of these types of fertilizers have nitrogen in them, and the nitrogen needs the sun to activate all of the magic- this is why we don’t fertilize in the winter. Always be sure to read over the instructions for feeding the right amount to your trees.
Benedetta got me going on the marmalade train. Here is her recipe for marmalade. It makes good use of extra fruit, looks gorgeous and has a variety of applications. Try it drizzled on your favorite roasted chicken recipe, as an accompaniment to a cheese platter or smeared on your breakfast toast. You can use it for any citrus…I just made some with tangerines.
2 pounds blood oranges or pink grapefruit (or citrus of your choice)
1 1/3 cup sugar
With a toothpick poke the fruit 10 times and submerge into water for about 3 hours. After they have soaked, slice the fruit in 1 centimeter slices (discarding the ends) and place in a pot with the sugar. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for about an hour. Taste for sweetness, adding more if need be. After the liquid thickens, remove from heat and let cool. Store in a glass container in the refrigerator, or can using the manufacturers’ instructions.