Archive for July, 2010
By MEREDITH KIRTON
Citrus trees are one of the best backyard fruiting plants. They are hardy in most of Australia’s population bubbles, provide tasty fruit high in vitamin C just when you need a boost – in winter – to help fight off colds, and grow to fit most backyards perfectly, with the option of containers also open for those who are on the move or have only and balcony. Add to this their year round beauty, with glossy foliage, fragrant flowers and a dense bushy habit and you have simply a “must have” for the garden.
On the downside, citrus are susceptible to quite a few pests and diseases, and also are gross feeders, so, a regular maintenance plan needs to be put into place in order to have them looking their best, year round. The best thing you can do for your plants to make sure you get plenty of fruits is feed regularly; every few months with a liquid feed like Seaweed solution as well as using a citrus food or extra blood and bone in April will ensure your plant has the goodies it needs to feed you. Yellowing leaves are an indication that you need to feed. Also, don’t let your plants dry out, especially from bud set to fruit set, as uneven watering is the most likely cause of fruit drop.
In June and July you can trim back any straggly branches, diseased (look for galls, or swellings on their stems), or just neaten up the plant so it stays a manageable size. You can’t leave it too late to prune, however, as the new growth is what will have all your blossoms, which grow into fruit, so trim late and you’ll miss your crop.
Lastly, if your citrus tree has scale, use a winter oil on it. The scale will burn off. Pest Oil sprayed regularly over the growing season will also protect your plant from further scale attack, bronze orange bugs (known as stink bugs), aphids, and also that disfiguring growth caused by citrus leaf miner.
When selecting your citrus, think about what you’re likely to use? Do you make green curries? Go for a Kaffir lime. Like Gin and Tonic? A Tahitian Lime is perfect. Have kids? Imperial mandarines are hard to beat or Lemonade trees for fun. And for those who love juicing, what about a Navel Orange. Most cooks love having a lemon tree…the decisions are endless!
- Choose a full sun position with at least 6 hours sun.
- Not much space? Consider espaliering, or growing your citrus flat on a trellis. You might even choose a multigrafted plant that has more than one type grafted onto the same bush. These are marketed as Splitzer.
- Though most types like a frost free position, a sunny wall will often provide the microclimate they need.
- Growing citrus in pots? Use a slow release fertiliser like Osmocote for citrus which will release gently over the growing season. Also, pick smaller growing plants sold as “Flying Dragon” which have been grafted onto a dwarfing root stock. The fruit will taste the same but your plant will be naturally reduced in size, and save you some pruning.
Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICSTags: citrus, container planting, fruit, fruit trees, lemon, limes, planting
Posted under grow
By MANDY SINCLAIR
Choose lemons and limes with firm, bright coloured, glossy skin. Store refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or at room temperature for 1 week.
What to do with glut
Lemon and lime juice and rind can be frozen for up to 3 months. Freeze in ice cube containers, when solid place in a clip lock bag and freeze until ready to use.
1 heaped cup caster sugar
1 ½ cups mandarin juice
soda water or mineral water, ice, to serve
1. Place the sugar in a a saucepan and top with 2 1/2 cups of water. Stir on medium heat, without boiling, until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and boil, uncovered, for 5 mins. Add mandarin juice and boil for another 5 mins. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
2. Pour into sterilised bottle or jars and refrigerate until cold.
3. To serve, place 2-3 tbsp of mandarin syrup into each glass. Top with soda or mineral water and ice
Makes 2 ¼ cups cordial
Wash 6 whole lemons to remove any wax. Place in a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 mins. Drain and cool lemons. Cut each one into quarters. Pack into sterilized jars layering with 1/3 cup sea salt flakes. When packed full, pour over enough boiling water to cover lemons. Seal and store in a cool dark place for 6 weeks, inverting jar each week.
To test if lemons are ready the pith should not be white, it will have a translucent appearance. Once opened, store in refrigerator. To use, cut out flesh and discard. Rinse skins well and finely chop. Use in casseroles, sauces, tagines.
Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICSTags: citrus, freezing, fruit, lemon, limes, preserves
Posted under harvest
By MANDY SINCLAIR
Lemon & lime pudding
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup caster sugar
finely grated rind of 1 lemon and 1 lime
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup lime juice
3 eggs, separated
1/3 cup plain flour
1 cup milk
1. Preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan. Grease a 6-cup ovenproof dish.
2. Place butter, sugar and both rinds in a food processor. Process until pale and creamy. Add juice and process until smooth. Add egg yolks and process until combined. Add flour and then milk and pulse until combined. Transfer to a bowl.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold into batter. Pour into prepared dish. Place in a large baking pan and pour in enough hot water to come half way up sides of dish. Bake for 35-40 mins, until top is golden and springs back when lightly touched.
4. Remove from water bath, dust with icing sugar and serve with thick cream or ice cream.
The perfect pudding should have a cake like top with a delicious creamy curd at the bottom. Use lemon juice alone or even orange and lemon juice if you like.
try this ….
Slow baked lemon chicken
Butterfly and press flat an organic chicken. Lay in a large baking pan, breast side up. Scatter around 6 chopped potatoes. Drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil over chicken, season well and rub into chicken skin. Scatter over 1 tbsp dried oregano. Pour over the juice of 2 lemons and 1 cup of water. Bake at 170C or 150C fan for 1 ½ hrs, basting every 30 mins, until chicken is very tender.
Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICSTags: citrus, desserts, fruit, lemon, lime, puddings, recipe
Posted under cook