Thursday, December 2, 2010

When Life Gives You Oranges

We have an orange tree in our yard planted by the previous owners.  Last year, the tree only had 4-5 fruits on it, but this year, we had a bumper crop.  Just that the oranges were full of seeds making it not palatable to even try to eat them.  But it sure seemed like a waste to let it rot.  So I decided to juice them. . .

Let me tell you what a pain in the you-know-what it was! For one thing, picking them off the tree was a chore in and of itself.  I was a bit apprehensive about getting back on a ladder after my mishap last year.  I did the best I could, then promptly delegated the picking to my 17 year old son. He was not happy, but threatening to cut off his gas money did the trick! ; )  I then started to juice. . . and juice. . . and juice. . .  It was a bitch of a job.  Since I don't have a state-of-the-art juicer, it seemed like I was having to dump the seeds every other minute from my crappy $5 model.  This continued for THREE DAYS! 

After I juiced the oranges, I strained the juice through a mesh strainer to get rid of the pulp and stray seeds. I then bagged the juice in ziptop sandwich bags, placed the bags on a baking sheet to freeze in the freezer.  I'm hoping I will be able to use the juice in recipes and perhaps frozen drinks for my sons at a later date. 

On two of the days, I decided to give another try at making jelly.  Last year's attempt with another fruit ended with the "jelly" not jelling.  Note to self: follow a recipe. Winging it when you have never done something is a waste of time and money.  This time, the jelly jelled, after I read a recipe and found out there is a way of testing whether you have reached the jelling point.  I now have 12 bottles of homemade orange jelly to use at a later date. 

The annoying thing about the whole experience was when, after slaving for three days to "harvest" our oranges, my husband asked me how much a gallon of orange juice cost. When I said, "about five dollars," he quipped to the boys, "hey, your mom just saved me five dollars!"  I could have killed him just then. . .  But the reason I did it was to practice making jelly, so I guess it was still a worthwhile experience.  The jury is still out whether the process will be repeated next year. . .

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