color me orange

Candied orange peel on the left; orange marmalade, right; and fresh eggs, front and center

Candied orange peel on the left; orange marmalade, right; and fresh eggs, front and center

Ever wonder when it would be beneficial to have a thick skin? We have had some cold nights and that made me fear for the navel orange crop. Though we only have one navel tree, it produces fine, large oranges. Thankfully, those thick skins protected the fruit enough to see them through the tree-ripening process.

In some historical novel, I read of a treat that the pioneers enjoyed: candied citrus. Wait, turning orange peels into a sweet treat? Well, I just had to give it a try! After all, the compost pile does not seem to benefit quickly from citrus peels. I found the online recipes were pretty much the same so I chose one and proceeded to make the delicacy. The results? Hubby won’t touch the stuff–as I suspected. (He discourages me from using ZEST in anything, too.) I found it to taste like, well, ORANGE PEEL covered in sugar. But, still, ORANGE PEEL. When some other homeschooling moms were over, I offered them a sample. Two of the women actually wanted to eat several pieces. So, I guess it is true that people like different things. Though some recipes showed lovely chocolate-covered candied orange peel, at this point, I could not see wasting good chocolate on it!

I also gave a standard orange marmalade recipe from the canning guide a try. The recipe suggested adding cinnamon bark, if desired, so I tried some variations of this, in addition to the ordinary marmalade. It is true that only my mom and I like orange marmalade–but it is made in small batches. I think that I have eight half-pints–some for me and some for Mom.

One day, I feared just too much for the state of the navels, so I dragged the orchard ladder over to the tree and picked them all! We enjoyed fresh juice almost every day for a couple of weeks. The key, I found, with navel orange juice, is to drink it right when it is juiced and juice only what you are going to drink right then and there.

We have been happy with the hens laying again. So, now my refrigerator will be overrun with eggs if I don’t come up with more ways to use eggs! It’s a happy place to be! I thank the good Lord for His blessings to us, for navel oranges and fresh eggs.

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