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Jan 14, 2008 07:56 PM

What to do with tiny, hard oranges?

We recently moved into a house with a small orange tree in the back, but because of the drought and the previous tenants' neglect, the tree is, well, pathetic. There are now scores of oranges on it, but even at their ripest, they're tiny and hard. Any ideas? I hate to waste all these fresh oranges, but they're not worth the effort to peel to eat straight and not juicy enough to make juice worth the effort.

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        1. I would suggest using them to make marmalade and/or liqueur, since for both of these you mainly need the peel. You could candy the peel, too, but in my opinion that's way more work than it's worth, unless you really love candied orange peel!

          You could also try leaving them on the tree for a while. Citrus fruits can stay on the tree for months, and they tend to get sweeter with time, even if they don't look any riper. Last year our tree was covered with ripe-looking fruit that was too sour too eat in January, but was delicious by May.

          1. if it is drought, those oranges ain't gonna get any better. too dry for nice marmalade.
            i go with the decorative, smell-worthy aspects....

            hey anyone, what about "preserved oranges" like med-style "preserved lemon"? what do you think?

            4 Replies
            1. re: alkapal

              Preserved oranges are an interesting idea. The process would soften them, and if they're on the sour side, it might work well. Besides, it sound like there's no need to worry about wasting them on an experiment.

              I still think marmalade could work, since the peel is cooked with water, which would rehydrate it. Again, it couldn't hurt to try. I would make a small batch just as a test , and if it's edible, stick it in the fridge and make a larger batch to put through the canning process.

              1. re: alkapal

                How would one go about trying this? I've never made preserved lemon either, but I'm willing to experiment...

                1. re: thursday

                  This is the recipe I use:


                  She also has citrus liqueur recipes, which you might want to try. (I use 100-proof vodka rather than grain alcohol when I make liqueurs).

                  I was going to include a few more urls, but really, if you do a search on "preserved lemons" you will find a zillion recipes online, all pretty much the same.

                  1. re: jlafler

                    Thanks for the link--Preserving them sounds interesting, but more so, I'm sure I can get some friends to drink some orange vodka!