Summery citrus fruit ripens during winter.

Chilled lemonade certainly is nice when the weather gets warm during summer. Orange juice also seems to be more appropriate to warm weather. In fact, most citrus fruit seems to be more summery than wintery. Yet, most of it ripens through winter. Mandarin oranges are more perishable than most other citrus fruit, so are best long before warmer weather.

Citrus trees are defiantly contrary to the deciduous fruit trees that produce fruits of spring and summer. Not only does their fruit ripen during opposite seasons, but they also prefer pruning during opposite seasons. Many need no pruning or only minor grooming as they age. Any necessary pruning should happen after the last cool or frosty weather of winter.

Citrus fruit is not as perishable as spring and summer fruit are. Mandarin oranges oxidize within a month or so only because their rind is so loose. Other citrus fruit remains fresh in the garden for months, even through warm weather. Some actually improves with a bit of aging. For fruit that lingers late, vermin are more likely to be a problem than deterioration.

Slow deterioration is a major advantage for such abundant citrus fruit. There is less rush to collect more after collecting too much. For more sporadic production, many cultivars of citrus bloom sporadically prior to and after their primary season. ‘Eureka’ lemon is not too overwhelmingly productive in season, but before and after, provides a few more lemons.

Citrus fruit are remarkably diverse. Many are best simply for fresh eating. Many are better for juicing. Some are best for other culinary applications. Mandarin oranges and oranges are basically sweet. Lemons and limes are basically sour. Grapefruits are basically bitter. Citrus fruit exhibits a prevalence within combination of these three basic flavor elements.

Citrus trees are as variable as the citrus fruit that they provide. Almost all are dwarf trees, which stay more compact than standard orchard trees. However, ‘Eureka’ lemon, ‘Marsh’ grapefruit and ‘Sanguinelli’ blood orange can eventually get as big as small shade trees. ‘Meyer’ lemon, kumquats and most Mandarin oranges remain much lower and shrubbier. Some are thornier than others.

2 thoughts on “Citrus Fruit Brightens Wintry Gardens

    1. Much of those in home gardens here succumbed to a major frost in 1990, but were replaced over the years. Somehow, the few remaining orchards are still producing, although they are limited to very particular regions.

      Liked by 1 person

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