My citrus trees are itching (if trees can itch) to get back outside. I’ve told then, quite firmly, that they have to wait a few more weeks. It was easy when I had just one Meyer lemon. I happily hauled the pot in and out all winter long, babying it every time the weather folk warned of a frost but giving it sunny days in the sheltered area by the front door. Now that I have expanded to about 15 trees, it isn’t so easy. I bring them all in at the first mention of a real cold snap and in they stay until early March, no matter how balmy the days.
I love having my own lemons, limes, and kumquats (first year for the kumquats). I also have calamondins , two, in big pots, outside my front door. These little sour “oranges” make wonderful orangeade, can be squeezed into tea, or used anywhere one would use a lemon. The rind is actually sweeter than the flesh so they are *very* good zested for baking. The plants are lovely too. They are the only citrus I know that flower year-round, so one gets the heady scent of the blossoms at the same time the ripe fruit are ready for use.
This spring I hope to make a marmalade with the calamondins. I’ll let you know both the “how” and the result when it happens. Today I’m too busy enjoying the weather to do any cooking. Mid-70s and sunny before it freezes again next week. I’m off to have a conversation with my peach tree about how it is just too soon to start blooming. Wish me luck, I hope it listens!
3-bowl Orange Banana Bread
1 cup sugar
1/2 stick butter, cool but not cold
1/2 T calamondin or orange zest, chopped very fine
1/2 t lemon or orange extract
2 cups flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 soft, ripe bananas, mashed
Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease and flour a loaf pan.
In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter together and set aside. In a smaller bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs slightly and mix with bananas and extract. Whisk the banana mixture and the flour mixture into the butter/sugar, mix thoroughly but do not overwork.
Pour banana bread batter into 1 greased and floured loaf pan; bake at 325° for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. This banana nut bread recipe makes 1 loaf.