All posts, Food and drink

Oranges are not the only fruit

Picking orangesThere are 35 million orange trees in Spain apparently – and three of them are in our garden.

The thud of an orange falling onto the grass has become a common sound. It’s nearing the end of the season and, perhaps because of this, about 25 fall from each tree a day. They fall more at dusk and we wonder if the cooling air affects the stem holding the orange. Whatever, it sure makes the cats jump!

To cope with the monstrous glut on our hands, we’ve taken to having huge glasses of juice in the morning (and the odd gin and orange in the afternoon). It’s strange that one commodity can be expensive in one country and yet so abundant in another.

We’ve even bought a popsicle maker from the Shop-That-Has-Everything. They’re awaiting modification as the plastic handles are too tall for the small freezer section of our fridge.

Several fig trees are dropping their fruit at a rate of 40 a day. A fallen fig is a health hazard as they’re easy to slip on – a bit like a squashed frog. The current crop is slightly dry in the middle and some have maggots (often carefully carried away by a procession of ants).

A local woman assured us that the second crop, in September, will be the fat, purple, juicy figs most people know. To avoid slipped-discs we undertake a daily ‘sweeping of the figs off the patio‘ job.

Collecting orangesShrivelled-up pomegranates are a reminder that we missed out on the first crop of the year – but they should make an appearance in September too. There are a couple of trees that have, we think, tangerines on them. At the moment they’re small and green and we’re unsure when they’ll ripen.

An overhanging lemon tree near our casita provides one or two lemons a day. They roll down the lane like decapitated heads. We got a tip that young lemon leaves can be used instead of kaffir lime leaves. They worked well in a curry.

In our first week here, we’ve developed a game called ‘Get hit by a falling fruit’. And points mean prizes. 10 for the head, 5 for everywhere else – accept for boobs and naughty bits which score 20. Scores so far: S has 5 points, M has zero.

Oh, if anyone has any tips on making lollies, please let us know – it’s hot here!

Orange facts:

  • The Moors brought oranges to Spain from North Africa in the 8th Century
  • Colombus took orange seeds to Haiti in 1493 and planted orange groves there
  • They contain calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamin B6
  • Orange oil can be used as an insect repellent
Orange trees

The orange trees in the garden

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