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Do you have citrus trees?  If you live in zone 9 or higher, chances that you or your neighbor has a citrus tree or two growing in their backyard.



It may be hard for those who live in colder climates to understand, but those of who grow citrus often have more than we can eat.  In fact, it’s not unusual to see boxes and bags filled with citrus fruit by the curb free for the taking. Sometimes excess citrus fruit is simply left on the tree or falls to the ground.


While it’s true that you can only eat so much citrus in the few months it appears in your tree, did you know that there are other ways you can use citrus?

Here are 5 creative ways to use citrus:

1. Citrus Natural Air Fresheners


Who doesn’t love the fresh scent of citrus?  Well, you can bring the scents of citrus into your home by making your own natural air fresheners.

In addition to citrus, you can add other fragrant ingredients such as mint, thyme, vanilla and even basil and peppercorns.

Click here to learn how easy it is to make your own – they make great gifts too!

2. Citrus Bouquets


The leaves of citrus are dark green and glossy and they make a great filler in bouquets.  

If you have a citrus tree that produces smaller fruit such as a kumquat or lime tree, you can cut a few branches and leave the fruit on it for a colorful, natural centerpiece.

3. Natural Citrus Cleaner


Did you know that the peels of citrus can be used to make an effective, natural cleaner for your home?

It doesn’t matter what type of citrus peel you use – all you need are peels, vinegar and a large jar.

Click here to learn how to make your own.

4. Freeze Citrus Zest


How many times have you made a recipe that needed lemon, lime or orange zest?  Now, when citrus are in season, all I have to do is walk outdoors and pick what I need.  But what about the rest of the year or for those of you who don’t grow citrus?

It turns out the citrus zest can be frozen.  So, just before you peel or juice an orange, zest if first and put the zest in a plastic freezer bag.  

I have frozen citrus zest in my freezer, ready for me to use.  

5. Lemon Ice Cubes


Lemon and sometimes lime juice are a popular ingredient in both savory and sweet dishes.  An easy way to preserve your lemon harvest is to freeze the juice into individual ice cubes.  Once frozen, pop them out and save them in a plastic freezer bag.

When you need to use them, simply put an ice cube in a small bowl and stick in the microwave for 30 seconds on high to melt.  That’s it!  I do this for my homemade salsa.

Whether you grow your own citrus or buy it at the store – make the most of them by using one or more of these creative tips.

How about you?  Do you have any tips for using citrus fruit?  
Well, it is that time of year again, when citrus trees are full of fruit and that includes the lemon tree at Double S Farms.

Growing up in California, we always had a lemon tree in the backyard and I kind of took them for granted.  Then I grew up and moved into my first house in Arizona, which didn’t have a lemon tree although we did have grapefruit and oranges.
I love lemon trees and will maybe plant one in our side garden next year.  

You know who else likes lemon trees….. Jose, the migrating hummingbird.  Jose is a Costa’s Hummingbird and he is quite tame, letting us approach him fairly closely to take pictures.  You can read more about Jose here.

Okay, back to lemons….. I am so thankful that my mother and sister are very generous with their lemons and I frequently have more lemons then I know what to do with. 

*By the way, it is time to fertilize your citrus trees, if you have not already done so this year.

In order to make the lemon harvest last longer this year in my kitchen, I filled ice cube trays with lemon juice and then put them in a ziploc bag that I keep in the freezer.  So, when I need a little lemon juice for a recipe, I just grab an ice cube or two.

I also zested the lemons and have also frozen that as well.  So, I am well prepared for cooking.  


You can learn how to freeze lemon juice and zest, here.


Another thing that you can do with your lemons is to make natural air fresheners.  They really do scent the air without having to use ‘air-fresheners’ made from chemicals.  You can learn how to make your own, here.

Each year, my mother (Pastor Farmer), makes a delicious lemon cream pie.  It is very light and just so yummy.  She graciously wrote out the recipe so that I could share it with all of you.

I hope you enjoy it!

CITRUS MOUSSE

Graham Cracker Pie Crust
Two 12 oz. containers of whipped topping (Cool Whip)
One 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup grapefruit juice

Beat together whipped topping and sweetened condensed milk.  Then add the lemon and grapefruit juice.  
Pour into graham cracker pie crust and chill for at least 2 hours.

*This pie can be frozen and you can substitute more lemon juice for the grapefruit juice if desired.