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Ideas needed for lots of oranges ... lots

This spring when I killed the evil chayote plant that smothered everything last year, it allowed the citrus trees to flourish.

These are kind of just ok oranges, on the tart side. They are not anything I'd make juice from. Not really good enough to donate to a charity or stand on a corner and sell ... did I mention there were lots ... so the idea of being a renegade orange vendor did cross my mind.

They do seem like they would be decent in recipes. They are not juice oranges, more along the line of a navel or Valencia.

So far they are good sprinkled with chile and a shot of lemon. I did a cardemom/cinnamon sprinkle which worked nicely. Orange / pomegranite compote with a splash of brandy ... done that.

So what else?

Any good marmelade recipes? Any liquor I could make? Salads? I have chicken breasts in the freezer. What? What? Help.

BTW, the chayote that won't die seemed to make a late autumn rally. Hopefully I snipped the main vine ... again ... but I did get a few nice chayote out of it. I like chayote. If only it wasn't so agressive.

I'm such a rube though. After growing up in New England, it just tickles me that I can walk outside my door and pick fresh oranges and lemons in December. I'd like to use them since they are there.

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  1. This would really just take care of the rinds, but whenever I have oranges that aren't great for eating alone, I zest them and dry them in a dehydrator and use them in my baking...I've also heard of orange vinegar...Might be good for marinades?

    7 Replies
    1. re: soypower

      Ohhh ... vinegar ... that would be good. Any idea how to go about this? Just add to vinegar for a while and let marinate on the shelf? I have some terrible red wine vinegar that could use pepping up. Think it would work with red?

      1. re: rworange

        looked up some recipes and it sounds like you would just use the rind and throw it into any vinegar you have...here's one that sounds good:

        http://www.dlife.com/dLife/do/recipe/...

        1. re: soypower

          Thank you for taking the time. That does look good. I stumbled across one recipe looking for something else ... well somehow there was this recipe for vinegar pudding ... and curious about that link ... a lot of vinegar recipes.

          Anyway I was slightly disappointed to find it was just the peel ... but then again ... I have all these oranges, so why not give it a try. I'm going for one white vinegar and one red ... just to see what happens.

          1. re: rworange

            I was also disappointed to see it was just the peel...I was thinking you could just juice the orange and let it ferment, kinda like apple vinegar...but i've never done it myself, so...here's a link to making homemade vinegar so maybe you could substitute apple juice w/ orange juice? again, i'm not sure all the food science involved, but i'm sure it couldn't hurt to try since you have such a surplus...;o)

            http://www.ehow.com/how_3894_make-hom...

            1. re: soypower

              Thanks. I was about to say that I found a recipe that uses the whole orange which is either somewhere in this link or another link about vinegar. However, the above link isn't about adding apples to vinegar but making vinegar out of apples, sort of different. I wonder if you can do that out of oranges ... like you said I have a lot of oranges.

              1. re: rworange

                orange vinegar? wow, so many cooking, condiment ideas await!

                1. re: rworange

                  i'd love to hear what you come up with...if it works out, i may have to buy a box of cheap oranges and try it myself. :o)

      2. You could make marmalade, sorbet, candied orange peels, homemade 50-50 bars. I wonder if there's an orange equivalent of lemoncello?

        Edited to add: I remembered there was a really interesting thread last Christmas on candied citrus peels. Here it is: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/288000

        You also could make the orange version of "preserved lemons" (I guess that would be "preserved oranges" :-)

        1 Reply
        1. re: DanaB

          If there isn't, you could invent it.

          Those oranges could be a component along with lime juice & lemon juice for a marinade from anything from shrimp to pork...adding minced garlic, onion, chilis...anything else you can come up with.

          Marmalade is a super suggestion, adding a coupla other taste sensations.

        2. Even if the juice is not phenomenal, try juicing them, tempering the flavor with some sugar or lemon juice, concentrating the flavors by boiling if they are watery, then make a sorbet. I haven't done it with oranges, but many a not so great grape in my house achieved glory by becoming sorbet.

          1. If they're more than just slightly tart, why not use their use in place of naranjas agrias in your favorite Mexican and Cuban recipes (maybe add some lime juice, maybe not.) Cochinita Pibil and Lechon Asado come to mind.

            1. Give them a little time more on the tree - they may well sweeten up! Navels don't reach full flavor until January or February.

              7 Replies
              1. re: OCEllen

                Likewise if they're Valencias they may not be ripe yet. I'm in Arizona, my Valencias come ripe in late March and make great juice oranges. THey're starting to turn orange now but aren't ripe yet.

                1. re: ziggylu

                  Orange County, CA here.
                  People have already started stealing oranges off my front yard tree and they are far from 'ripe'. I was getting in my car and two women walking on the sidewalk begged me for some! I said 'okay - two' even though they are still sour!

                  1. re: OCEllen

                    Thanks !!! Being a Connecticut Yankee, I don't know nothing about picking no oranges. I assumed orange = ripe. Anyway the couple of dozen I picked today should last awhile.

                    1. re: rworange

                      My most reliable ripeness test for CA citrus is to grasp the fruit lightly and gently turn it upside down; if it comes off in your hand, it's ripe, if you have to tug or pull, it's not ready yet.

                      There's an epicurious recipe for an orange mojito marinade for pork loin that was fab. Can't remember how many oranges it required, though... you might have to marainate a whole pig and share.

                      1. re: rworange

                        Simplifying a little here but -- as I, definitely not a botanist, understand it -- the colour change is a function of temperature. Cool weather turns the peel orange due to the chlorophyll breaking down and letting the carotene shine through (analogous to what happens to maple leaves in the fall in your old stomping grounds). In places where the weather never turns sufficiently cool -- southern Thailand, for example -- the peel, even of ripe oranges, is usually green.

                        1. re: carswell

                          i can't speak to the green thai oranges, but growing up in florida, oranges are never green and ripe. a slight twist should release from the branch where the orange is attached, any more force required means it is not ready to be eaten.

                          Just for fun:
                          Location Latitude Longitude
                          Lake Wales, Fla. Latitude: 27° 54' 5" ; Longitude: -81° 35' 9"
                          Bangkok, Thailand Lat:13 degrees 45' 0" ; Long: 100 degrees 31' 0"

                      2. re: OCEllen

                        Whats up with all the fruit theiving! It used to be that the protocol was you could pick one or two if they were hanging over the property line. Last month we saw someone climbing up in the neighbor's avocado tree, and the week before someone came in to my back yard and scooped up the 30+ persimmons I had just picked and left back there.

                        I would give them more time also, mine are just barely starting to turn color. If there are tons and tons I would juice them or make marmalade. The latter is simple, you don't need the pectin called for in other recipes. If you can find a cheap breadmaker at a thrift store they usually have a jam cycle.

                        BTW they hold on the tree for a loooonnnnnnnnng time. You'll be glad you didn't pick all of them around March and April.