Monday, January 26, 2009

Winter Goodness...Citrus, Here in the Deep South

Here in the deep south (Florida), winter is the best time to enjoy the fresh products that nature provides.

Lemons are a favorite fruit down here. There they are on the tree at left. I took these pictures so you could see different distances as we approached the tree. This tree grows at a friend's house.
The next Picture is the fruit that I picked off this tree. I didn't even make a dent in the amount of fruit that was growing on that tree.

There are many delicious uses for lemons. Some favorite ones include: fresh squeezed lemonade, pies and zest.
Zest is the skin of the lemon that has been grated from the lemon. When grating the skin, you must be careful not to get into the white part that is just under the colored part as it is bitter.

And just look how sunny and delicious the freshly picked lemons look! The next picture shows how the lemons look after they have been scrubbed and washed. I used a Dobie pad to do this task.

In the next picture you can see a few different citrus fruits. Also you can see the difference in sizes between the different fruits.

From left to right from the top left is: grapefruit, orange, tangerine, and lemon. Grapefruit grows the same way as the oranges and lemons.

These next trees have a lot of oranges on them . The bright orange color will draw your attention to them. There are quite a few trees in my area.
But further south a lot of the groves were destroyed due to a virus that invaded the trees.
There is also another citrus fruit called Kumquat Fruit. It's a very small, oval fruit usually between 1 and 2 inches long and has a leathery orange or yellow skin. They are generally in season from late autumn to mid-winter. The skin is much sweeter than the inside so most of the time only the skin is eaten.

No matter where you are, there is always something------

In the Garden.


  1. What a bright and cheery way to start the day today Lola! I love citrus and sure wish I could pick some from my backyard. Lucky you! Never had a kumquat before so I'll be looking for that soon.

  2. I am jealous for all the citrus you have growing so close at hand. What a luxury!

  3. Hi Lola, amazing for me to see all those lovely oranges and lemons growing were you live! Jealouse??? yes a little bit. I do have a Kumquat trees on my veranda, barely alive but I guess it is resting and as I waiting and longing for some sun.


  4. Good Morning Everyone,
    Yes, Tina they do look very sunny. They sure do make good lemonade. I will try to get some of the kumquats.

    quennofseaford, it is a luxury for me to be able to pick this luscious fruit from the tree. It is a real treat.

    Tyra in Vaxholm, I too am in awe at the bounty around me. I use to be jealous too till I moved here. Just be patient with you little Kumquat tree. I'm sure it will be fine.

  5. Hi Lola, thanks so much for showing those cheerful and colorful fruits and trees. I do love the smell of the flowers too and know hummingbirds love them as well.

  6. The entire time I was reading this I could smell lemons! Makes me think of warm sunny weather!
    Great post Lola!

  7. Makes me so hungry for lemon pie. Those are beautiful fruit.

    Loved seeing the butterflies in the previous post. Great photos.

  8. Mmmm...I feel a bit in the mood for an orange right now. I tried picking from the tree but alas, was unable to get a grasp. Its so nice there are such a variety of citrus fruits where you live. It's very sad that many in FL had such destruction w/the cold weather.

  9. Hi, Lola! What a treat to be able to pick citrus right in your own back yard! This is something we Northerners can't enjoy. I remember seeing some lemon trees growing near my daughter's apartment building in Arizona and being amazed by them.
    I've never eaten a kumquat; I didn't know you ate only the skin.

  10. Good morning Lola,

    I love citrus...I answered a blogger somewhere else that pears were my favorite fruit...but after more's oranges. I buy Florida juice oranges all winter long. You can't pick fruit from your own tree as a kid (Tampa) and not love oranges! I've read about the's pretty scary! Thank you for letting me ramble...have a good day.


  11. Lola,

    I wish citrus would grow outside up here in TN! I have two lemon trees and a grapefruit tree inside the house but their probably the most neglected of all my plants. They are very susceptible to spider mites.

  12. Yummyyyyyy do you make lemon bars? They are so great with fresh lemons. I wish we had some here. I can just imagine how wonderful they smell. You lucky girl!!!!

  13. Lola -- Oh my, I am so envious of that bowl of fresh lemons! What a delight for winter-weary eyes.


  14. Lola, You are lucky your so close to citrus, none up here. Ditto with Jan, every once in a while we hear of the frozen temps destroying the crops, course it's in tune with "expect to pay higher prices". That's becoming true with everything!

  15. Lola, I was just finishing a tangerine when I clicked on your post. So I was smelling that wonderful citrus aroma while reading, and I was transported to another garden. I'm in the part of FL where citrus doesn't do well at all. On our trip to the East Coast a couple of weeks ago, we stopped at a roadside stand near Titusville and picked up some honeybells and tangerines. They were cheap compared to what you can buy in the grocery store here and oh-so-much better! If you bake anything using those lemons, you should consider posting about it, and include the recipe, of course.

  16. Hi Lola, it must be wonderful to be able to grow citrus fruit in your own backyard. I use lemons & limes in alot of my cooking, it would be great to pick one from my own tree. :)

  17. Good morning Lola and thanks for another great post. It all looks like a great feast. One of my very favorite smells is of citrus but the best to eat for me is the honey bells and I have been lucky enough to pick some fresh. Oh my but I can only dream of it right now but this post sure helps. Great info on the kumquat as I have only eaten the inside. Will have to try the skin. When I was a kid my parents had friends that went to FL in the winter and we would get 2 or 3 bushels or citrus during the winter. They used to come in the mail in a wooden bushel baskets full of mostly oranges but a few of other citrus. My brother and I could not wait to get the kumquats. Back then you could not buy them here in the north in the stores so it was a novelty to us. Ahhh the memories this blog brings back!!!

  18. Hi Lola~

    Those lemons looks so refreshing! Makes me want a big glass of fresh squeezed lemonade.


  19. i adore citrus during the winter months it is my sunshine from home.

  20. Hi Lola,wow --what a great post and you're so lucky to have fresh fruit so close at hand. It does make me want a piece of lemon meringue pie:0) Guess I'll have to buy one, hehehe. Thanks for sharing! Ciao!

  21. Frances, you are welcome. The flowers are delicious to smell & they do attract so many different species of butterflies & such.

    Meadowview Thymes I think lemons do project the vision of Spring with the sun shining. They do smell delicious.

    Roses and Lilacs, I love lemon pie also & it is much better made from the fresh fruit.

    Jan {Thanks For 2 Day} yes it is hard sometimes to get a grasp on the fruit but just have to hang on. It's nice to sit & eat a fresh orange anytime you want.

  22. Hi Rose, a treat indeed. I use to envy people being able to pick their own citrus till I moved here. It's even better in the winter when your body needs more vitamin c.

    Hello Gail. You are most welcome. Ramble anytime you wish. Oranges are very good. So many different types. That virus is a bad thing. Whole groves destroyed.

    Dave, I'm so glad you are able to have the citrus trees in your home. Have they produced fruit? I know they do require the sun. Then come winter & you have your fruit.

    Cindee, I haven't tried the lemon bars yet. Maybe that is something else I can make to use the lemons I have. I do love that smell--so fresh.

  23. Great fruity post today Lola! Brings sunshine into my day as I sit at the computer and see drizzle rain outside on a cloudy GA day.

    I remember my first FL trip with my grandmother. We stopped along the roadside so we could pretend to be picking an orange while snapping a pic. I was scared to death that someone would think we were stealing the oranges! She was funny with things such as that.

    I love oranges but only good ones and the stores dont seem to have them. I picked up some oranges and tangerines a few weeks ago and they were not good at all and too full of seeds. I saw some at the grocery the other day and picked up two just to see if they are good. They look so pretty sitting on the kitchen countertop that I am hesitant to eat them for fear they will be bad also. Then I will loose my pretty fruit sitting on the counter top. Ha, I reckon I need to eat one and see though. That is what I got them for...

    I would make some lemonade with those lemons. I dont think I have ever had Lemon pie from fresh lemons before. I would love to have a slice.

  24. Cameron while I was washing the lemons the whole house smelled so good. Then to have all that citrus together. What a great smell.

    Hi Dawn. Yes I am lucky to be near the citrus. The temps sometimes do cause the fruit to be spoiled for eating. Juice is made from the fruit as soon as possible. Yikes, higher prices too.

    Walk 2 Write how coincidental you eating fruit & reading about it too. I'm planning on trying to plant some citrus trees in my garden even though we are a bit north. We used to go South a bit & pick our own.

    perennialgardener it is great to grow your own things in your backyard. It is always fresh & not to mention how handy that can be.

  25. Hi Jean, thanks for the kind words. It must have been a great treat to get citrus in the winter that way. I had never heard of Kumquats till I moved here. The first time I tried them they were so bitter. Now I know there are different kinds. I will have to go visit my sister-in-law to get some. The sweet ones. lol

    Hi Karrita, glad to see you. Fresh lemonade--Ohhhhh how good. There will be some for tonight for sure.

    Marmee I'm so glad you have access to the citrus fruit in winter. It is so refreshing.

    Oh Anonymous it is so good to be able to have this delicious fruit at hand. I think maybe the lemon bars that Cindee mentioned would be the perfect desert to top off a good dinner---even though I don't need them. lol

  26. Hi Skeeter. You were commenting while I was trying to type with one hand. lol
    Sorry it's rainy there--sunshine here & warmer temps. Makes me want to be in the garden but one handed doesn't work too well. he he
    It's amazing what people will think these days. Just trying to get a pix is almost impossible.
    I know how fruit is in the stores. Makes you not want to eat any. I love nectarines & so when they are in season I eat quite a lot of them. I bought some back a couple months ago in the big box store. You guessed it---they looked good on the outside but the inside was rotten. So sickening. I did carry some back. Sure wish I could grow them in my garden. If I planted all that I want my whole yard would be nothing but all kinds of fruit trees. lol Of course then I'd have to hire someone to take care of them. hehehehe
    Wish I could send you a slice.

  27. Mmm...citrus. Just the thing I need right now...there's nothing like fresh-squeezed orange juice from Washington Navels!

  28. Oh Lola, how I wish I had some of those gorgeous citrus trees in my backyard. I've always thought how luxurious it must be to just go outside and pick an orange from your own tree. I had a roommate in college (that was from California) and she talked of doing just that. We were all so envious. Enjoy your wonderful bounty.

  29. If there is one thing I wish I could grow here it's lemons. Nothing better than fresh lemons!! My in-laws are in the Central Valley in California and have Meyer lemons. They seem to grow year round there.
    I can almost smell them!

  30. My mother has a couple kumquat and satsuma trees in her yard in Baldwin County Alabama. I love both of the fruits. She said at one time the county shipped out oodles of satsumas until a hard freeze one year killed many of the trees.

  31. Mmm. I would love to be able to grow some of those wonderful citrus fruits. Too bad it's so cold up here. Those trees are growing a whole lot of fruit.

  32. Parsec, I agree there is nothing that can beat fresh squeezed orange juice. Eating fresh oranges is pure heaven to the palette.

    Kathleen I wish you could share this bounty with me. It is ever so nice to be able to get these citrus fruits so readily.

    Having citrus trees "out your back door", so to speak, is very nice. Lemons are used for a lot of things. They smell so delicious. My whole house smelled like them. As I was cleaning them I did notice that the skin {rind} had an oil in it. I guess that is where they get lemon oil. I know it's the best air freshener I've found.

    dot, that is a problem here sometimes too. It just gets too cold even though they burn "smut pots" to try & keep the fruit from freezing. And they sometimes run sprinklers to cause the ice to help protect the fruit. If the tree freezes back past the graft the following fruit will be sour. I tried it one Not again.

    Cinj It would be nice if you could grow them, but they are tropical. Imagine a whole island with nothing but citrus fruits. Heaven, don't you think!! This year seems to have been a good year for the citrus. It seems to be very plentiful.

  33. I noticed just the other day that our lime and satsuma trees have a few buds already. I can't wait to get another harvest like yours.

    Always Growing

  34. That is a bumper crop of lemons and oranges, must have been a good year.

    I have one lone lemon growing on my tree that I bring in for the winter. I just put a photo of it up a few hours ago, great minds think alike!

  35. Jan looks like your trees are about to start another cycle to produce fruit. I hope it does well for you.

    Dan I think this year was a very good one. I've noticed the fruit trees are all loaded. Looks real neat to pass a house & have an orange tree or lemon or grapefruit full of fruit. I just popped over to you blog & read about your lemon. I'm sorry I can't tell you when it well be ready. Citrus fruit here in Fl. is ready in the winter. The first frost is what sweetens the fruit. I just had some of the lemonade I made from some of the lemons & let me tell you it is delicious. It only took 2 lemons for a quart as the fruit is so large. I for sure will have to make more for tomorrow.
    I think great minds do work together.

  36. what a nice blog, nice to see it !
    I´m of Germany, last year I visited
    California it was so wonderful !!!
    with lovely greatings Kathrin

  37. hi tina, thank you much for looking at my blogs, if you sometimes missing germany, you have to look at "ruhezone" there sometimes we takes pictures of our little cities. I´missing USA, I like oranges, saw them at california and I´m dreaming come back next year or 2011, may be, sorry for my english, it´s small...
    have a good time !!! Kathrin

  38. Kathrin, Deiner English ist besser dann meinem Deutsche. Sehr gut! Du musst besuche mich im Tennessee. I have emailed you. Tschuss!

  39. Thank you ever so much for your kind words Kathrin. Your English is perfect. I'm an occasional poster on here. Our absolutely beautiful Master Gardener, Tina, is an inspiration to all of us who post or comment on her Blog. Thanks to her generosity I have the opportunity to "chime" in sometimes.
    Maybe you will be able to come back soon. I hope you come when the fruit is in full supply.