It’s citrus season once again in the Sacramento region, and our stores and farmers’ markets are showcasing beautiful, locally-grown oranges, lemons, clementines, limes and kumquats. Now’s the time to serve your family pitcherfuls of freshly-squeezed orange juice for breakfast (add blood orange or ruby grapefruit juice for stunning color), and don’t forget to add sweet slices of fresh citrus to your next salad or atop your favorite pancake (or pound cake, for that matter).
I tend to be a citrus prowler, walking through my East Sac neighborhood trying to spot unharvested Meyer lemon and Seville orange trees. I find that people are usually happy to share their bounty – what does one do with a full tree of lemons? – and, armed with my bagful of fruity treasures, I’ll head home to make a seasonal citrus curd or ice cream, or whip up a batch of candied zest.
If you have fruit-laden citrus trees and don’t know what to do with all the produce, contact Harvest Sacramento, a project of local Soil Born Farms that harvests surplus fruit and vegetables from backyards and small orchards and donates it to local food assistance agencies.
Interested in planting your own mandarin or kumquat trees? Check out UC Cooperative Extension’s excellent guide to growing citrus in Sacramento.