Citrus does well in Southern California. If you have delved into history you probably know about how citrus was gold in the early 20th century. Many Downey tract homes feature an orange tree
left from the grove days.
Claremont in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains has modernized the old packing house and it is now a major gathering site for oldsters and college students. La Verne champions the old citrus history with building art highlighting its farming days. Our tract home is on an old citrus grove, but none of the trees were saved for the home owners, so we bought your own citrus: lemons and a blood orange tree.
We can not use all the lemons we get every year and I try to give the extras away and some go into the compost bin. The trees are rather easy to maintain, though, the blood orange is prone to leaf diseases.
The Blood Orange is My Favorite Tree
Year 2016 our blood orange tree was loaded and I enjoyed blood orange soda and martinis all summer long. We had plenty to give away too. The fruit is too soft to peel and eat wedges, but cutting in sections the eating works fine and is so juicy.
My mother does not taste the difference between the blood and a regular orange, but everyone else does.
My favorite way to enjoy them is in a soda or the martini I developed, that is a sweet and salty taste treat in the late afternoon.
Blood Orange Care Tips
I trim my tree twice a year to keep a compact silhouette. We were sure to give it extra water during the 5 year drought.
For bugs we occasionally spray the leaves with Spinosad when we know there will be no rain to wash it off.
Citrus garden food has sometimes been added.
Blood Orange Soda
Blood orange soda is easy to make if you have two items.
First is the blood oranges.
Second is the SodaStream.
Our SodaStream gets constant use every day because my husband can not seem to swallow plain water, and plain clear soda water suits him fine. Soda without added salt is exactly what he gets with our carbonated water maker.
Using the fruit from our backyard Blood Orange tree is my idea.
You can use any kind of citrus available. Don’t let the fruit on your trees go to waste.
- Blood Oranges
- Carbonated Water
- Sugar (optional)
- Juice oranges and add to pitcher. Add and adjust sugar if your citrus is too tart.
- Chill juice.
- Make soda water in the SodaStream bottle. Chill.
- Pour 2 parts juice to one part carbonated water into ice filled serving glasses. Adjust to your personal taste.
This is our plastic appliance and it works fine after 2 1/2 years. The canister we replace every 3 to 5 months. We use two liters of bubbly water everyday, sometimes more. This maker is a good value for our household. I am especially glad to save on plastic bottles because we were buying soda water at the market.
No more returns except when the canister runs out of carbon. Target is one place to do canister exchanges. Order online and pickup at the store without even walking the square block of store space. If you have not used Target pickup, this is how it works. Order online and mark it for store pickup. On the same day you will get a message informing you that your order is ready. Of course, if you have a smartphone you will know it is ready the minute the message is sent. Simply go to the store and pick it up. Our neighborhood pickup rarely has any lines.
We also get good service at Bed, Bath and Beyond in our neighborhood for canister replacements.
Our last camping trip this unit came with us. Needs no power to operate. The unit fits in one of the trailer cabinets and the bottle sits in the refrigerator ready to drink.
Blood Orange Martini
4 oz. fresh squeezed blood orange juice
1 oz. sweet vermouth
1 oz. brine from Mezzetta Italian Castelvetrano Green Olives
Put in martini shaker filled with ice and shake till very cold.
Pour in glass and garnish with olives toothpick.
This late afternoon drink is just the right sweet and salty taste luxury. What makes it extra special is you have to wait for early spring to have the blood oranges fresh from the backyard tree.
The next citrus drink uses the lemons in the yard.
One can ginger soda
1 1/2 oz. Scotch Whiskey
juice of half Meyer’s lemon
one shake of ground ginger
One tall glass to hold all the soda and some ice.
Pour half soda over ice.
Add one scant shake of ground ginger and squeeze half of lemon into glass.
Pour the rest of the soda into glass.
Our tree in LA County bursts lemons in the early fall till Christmastime. Enjoy your backyard lemon tree. Till I had a version of this drink I never drank Scotch. This version will take care of a thirst.
When I was in Edinburgh I had traveling water sickness and all I can remember is a castle high on a cliff and we had a bottle of Scotch when we got home. Hence, this name High Castle. Also it is a much higher drink than the Indian Casino one I got last week. That one was gone in a half minute.
Citrus does well in SoCal and it is another one of those friendly plants. Visitors can take a bag of lemons home to remember you by.
Links to More Blood Orange Treats
- Add a couple of dashes of bitters for variation