the sticks

Citrus in the Sticks

whoa-oh-oh! tangelos

We’ve been out in the sticks visiting my mom. In between rainstorms we’ve been picking lemons and tangelos by the bagfuls. It’s crazy how productive my mom’s trees are. I’m thinking I might have to take a page from JustJen and declare a lemon (and tangelo) week. I’m not much of a baker but it would be a shame for all this citrus to go to waste. If you live near me, drop me an email and maybe I can share some with you.

lemon infested tree

citrus pickers helping grandma

bag o' lemons

They will have to be used quickly because when we pick them the stems come out and take a piece of the rind with them. These sadly will go bad in a week or so. Lemon bars anyone?


  • Lisa

    Aloha Brenda,

    We get this problem with Lilikoi (Passionfruit)…too many and so sad to waste since it’s so yummy!
    Just juice them and freeze it in ice cube trays and the dump the cubes in ziploc bags. Lemon or tangelo juice at your disposal all year long…

    Cheers from Maui,

  • Nila

    The has a recipe up for olive oil, lemon and thyme cakes. I’m drooling, it sounds so yummy.

    You should do a citrus week, trying out different recipes.

  • brooke

    Lemon curd is easy to make and freezes well. And zest is easy to freeze since it takes up such a small amount of space. Google “lemon rosemary crumb cake” it is rather divine!

  • Ninabi

    The smell of fresh citrus is so clean and refreshing. But then you look in the bag and think, Wow! Lots of work to do (we have lemon and kumquat trees so I understand).

    Bug looks so happy to be with her Grandma and being able to see her regularly must be one of life’s biggest joys for your mom.

  • margalit

    Preserved lemons and last forever. You can use them in cooking to add a special lemony Morrocan taste to chicken and fish. All you need is kosher salt and big jars. Recipes abound on the net and in cookbooks.

  • Rachelino

    Lisa’s idea is great! I never thought to freeze fresh juice in cubes, but I have done it with chicken stock. Brilliant. I second Brooke’s suggestion of lemon curd and freezing it. It’s great to have something that doesn’t need to be eaten right away, and be a component is other desserts – curd is great for cake filling, flavoring frostings/icing, or psread on toast or eaten with plain yogurt. I made a double batch when I had a lot of Meyer lemons hanging around a couple weeks ago – my friends’ trees are also superproductive this year.


    We used to have a Meyer lemon tree when we lived in the Bay Area… I miss that tree! Freezing the juice is one thing you can do… You can also cut slices and freeze on a cookie tray, then when frozen, put in a ziplock in the freezer and you have sliced citrus to throw in a drink of your choice. I have a couple of Lemon cookbooks I loved using – by Lori Longbotham… lots of dessert recipes & more! You can can the lemon curd if you’re running short on freezer space, too. :)

  • a chris

    Wow! Look at all those fruits! I’ve never seen such a sight. Actually I think I’ve only ever seen a tree with citrus fruits growing on it in Italy (never been to California).

    A few years ago, F and I planted seeds from all the kinds of fruit we were buying to eat and the kitchen windowsill of our apartment was filled with a row of little pots, most with seedlings of different sizes coming up.

    We kept upgrading their pots as they got bigger, and when we moved house we had lime, lemon, grapefruit, and clementine tree-lets. Then they got red spider mites and after fighting with those until I couldn’t take it anymore, I put them outside. There was some attrition over time. The very last tree, always the biggest from the very first days, kicked the bucket this year when we left it out over Christmas — it actually dropped below freezing while we were gone!

    Incidentally that was the same period our furnace died so it was 2 degrees above freezing inside the house when we got home.

    Lemon curd is delicious.

  • Kristen

    Oh, I have the best lemon bars recipe!!!! I probably shouldn’t drive from Phoenix to pick up some lemons, but it’s tempting. How I wish I lived near-by!

  • Jackee

    I’d LOVE me some citrus. I’d love me some of your sunshine and dry earth too. I’m in Indiana under about a foot of freezing snow.

    My husband’s favorite is fruit of all sorts. Mine, um, pizza.

  • Island Mummy

    I am totally salivating at these pictures! All we have in our yard up here in Canada is cherries and the deer, racoons and birds eat them all!

  • gingermog

    Wow I’ve commented before about how much I admire your mothers citrus fruit trees and how fancy to me the idea of having lemons and oranges growing in your garden, that you can pick and eat! I’d make marmelade with all the fruit and enjoy it all year round on my toast.

  • Frogtosser

    The title alone makes me miss “The Sticks” as you call that way off land we came from. I can almost smell the citrus. Baby Bug is getting so BIG! And her hair is really, really long. Great post!