With the winter season over and spring upon us the citrus crop is ripe and sweet juice is running down your face as you enjoy some of those last, perfectly ripe oranges. Then reality sets in. Your mature orange (or lemon, or lime, or grapefruit, etc.) is still LOADED with fruit. Even that cute little dwarf Meyer lemon produces enough lemons to supply a small army! It’s a common problem and the main reason I talk most clients out of planting a bunch of citrus trees without having a plan to deal with the inevitable deluge of citrus to come. It can be overwhelming and lead to a lot of wasted fruit, rodent problems, and stressed-out trees.


I always recommend getting plugged into your community. There is no shortage of online resources through social media to get you in touch with your neighbors. Apps like Nextdoor and Facebook groups are a quick easy way to reach out to your neighborhood and see who needs some citrus. I have found that with one quick post I can unload 40 to 50 pounds in a day. The demand for fresh, free citrus is strong out there!

You may also want to reach out to local preschools, community groups, local nonprofits that support the less fortunate. I work with a local nonprofit that supports disenfranchised youth in San Diego and we are able to donatethousands of pounds of fresh produce per year to foster youth, foster families and immigrant families that are struggling to eat. Using your immediate neighbors to learn about some local programs that will take your donation is a great way to make friends and help your community. 


Now, we all know about jams, jellies, and preserves and I don’t want to take anything away from them, but I don’t have a sweet tooth and have made what feels like a million of them.  A simple fruit, juice, sugar, pectin recipe is always good. No matter the variety of citrus, it’ll be tasty. Let’s talk about  a savory option that is a little less common. Check out the recipe below for a spicy, savory orange sauce I love on chicken, fish, and pork!

Here are a few other ways to make use of your abundant citrus.

If you have extra freezer space, you can freeze your fruit whole. This is such a simple and effective solution because once the whole fruit is frozen and thawed, it is amazingly easy to juice. The freezing process pierces the cells of the fruit with ice crystals, making the fruit soft and pliable. 

You can cure your fruit in either sugar or salt, depending on your tastes. Slice your fruit into ¼inch slices and place the slices on a bed of salt (or sugar, or both!) on a sheet tray. Make sure you have at least a half inch of salt/sugar down first. Then cover with another half inch or so of salt/sugar. Leave on the counter for a few days until the salt/sugar has pulled the liquid out of the fruit slices. Bag and enjoy!!

Of course, you can juice your fruit and drink the juice. What you may not know is the peels still have their uses. You can soak them in your alcohol of choice (I prefer gin), soak them in white vinegar to make a citrus cleaner to use around the house, or place the peels in your favorite olive oil for a citrus-infused oil.



As a last resort, or for the inevitable fruit that falls and rots, you can always compost your excess fruit. It is a way to, if nothing else, get the valuable nutrients back into the soil for the next year’s crop of fruit.

I hope you enjoy the bounty of your citrus trees and have fun using your homemade treats, cleaners, and cocktails courtesy of your beautiful citrus trees!

Savory orange sauce (for more recipes check out our blog site)

2 whole oranges (can substitute similar weight of any other citrus)

1C homemade chicken stock

1C brown sugar

1/4C cider vinegar

1/2t cumin, 

1/2t coriander

1t ginger (fresh is better)

1 hot pepper, chopped (optional)

2T salt

1/4C mint, chopped

Put the whole oranges in a pot of cold water. Bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, discard the water, and repeat two more times (to rid bitterness from the rind). Once blanched and water discarded, place everything except the mint into the pot with the oranges and bring to a simmer. Once the oranges are very soft, blend the mixture. Return to the pot and simmer to reduce until sauce is thickened (reduce by 1/3 to ½). Remove from heat and let cool to room temp. Once cooled, stir in the chopped mint. This is a great recipe jar and can for gifts!