Squeeze the Day!

One thing I learned when we first moved to the desert was how to use citrus once the season hits. It’s troubling to see so many oranges and grapefruits find their fate on the ground below the trees. At our current home we have a couple of orange trees, a grapefruit and one mandarin type variety. We recently added a lemon tree and two small kumquats to the mix.

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Want juice? Experience the full breadth of the slow food movement by going outside, smelling the fragrant blossoms, picking your fruit and juicing it yourself. The taste isn’t better just because it’s fresher and completely organic. Rather this sensation of drinking liquid sunset is a wholly satisfying experience created by coupling product with process.

I believe this is exactly what Carlo Petrini was after when he began the Slow Food movement.

” The quest for slowness, which begins as a simple rebellion against the impoverishment of taste in our lives, makes it possible to rediscover taste. By living slowly , you understand other things, too; by slowing down in comparison to the world, you soon come into contact with what the world regards as its “dumps” of knowledge, which have been deemed slow and therefore marginalized. By exploring the “margins” of slowness, you encounter those pockets of supposedly “minor” culture that are alive in the memories of old people, typical of civilizations that have not yet become frantic—traditions that guide the vital work of good, clean, and fair producers and that are handed down after centuries of empiricism and practical skill.

In coming into contact with this “slow” world, you feel a new (or renewed) relish for life, you sense the potential of different methods and forms of knowledge as counterweights to the direction currently being imparted to the tiller that steers our route toward the future. You reassess the elements of consumer culture, and in rural knowledge, you discover surprisingly simple solutions to problems which speed has made complex and apparently insoluble.”

—Carlo Petrini, Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should Be Good, Clean, and Fair (2007, Rizzoli Ex Libris)

So, in the spirit of Petrini, this isn’t a stress-out exercise when you’ve got but a few minutes to get breakfast on the table. Rather, it’s a zen-like meditative process where juicing becomes part of the artful taste created.

Citrus is a wonderful addition to most diets. The fruits vary in nutritional value but are all a great source of vitamins A and C and folate. Folate is the naturally occurring B vitamin that is known as Folic Acid when manufactured. It’s useful during periods of rapid cell division such as pregnancy. But also beware that some citrus such as grapefruit, pomelos and Seville oranges are known to interfere with prescription medications.

I recognize that citrus is not local for many. With just one look at my trees I also recognize that it’s difficult to use the abundance. For those with similar issues, there are a some fabulous organizations that will glean trees for food banks and other cooperatives where fresh vitamin C is appreciated.

I began with the intention of placing a recipe here, one that uses orange juice or another variety of fresh citrus. Then I read another Petrini quote where he chided Americans for attaching a recipe to everything and for taking pictures of dishes from above, like an autopsy. Both made laugh. Just slowly seize the entire citrus moment.

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73 Comments

  1. Yes, citrus trees aren’t something we encounter here in Chicago – but I think your post speaks to all of us on many levels. The many-layered goodness of the slow food movement (be here now, fresh food, savoring, true sensuality). The health benefits of citrus (I was unaware of the folate connection – thanks!). And I LOVED “liquid sunset” – perfect, Tammy!

    And — happy birthday weekend, wonderful blogging woman!

    Reply
  2. Great photos..very American.

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  3. Zen juice-pressing…I love this idea of savouring every small ritual and turning it into something meditative and thoughtful.

    Thank you for the thought.

    Reply
  4. Lisa H

     /  April 1, 2012

    When we prepare our own food, there is so much more appreciation in what goes into our mouth. I believe it tastes better because we put effort into the process of putting the food together, or picking it from a tree; there is a connection of the energy it took to grow, prepare, and eventually eat. The best way to eat fruit, though, is freshly picked from a branch. I hope everyone at some point in their life gets to experience the pleasure of picking their own fruit to enjoy.

    Reply
    • Isn’t that the truth? Haven’t we learned that it’s a great way to make kids eat – by letting them help prepare the food? Now we just need to show them the slow down part.

      Reply
  5. Terry’s brother lives in the Phoenix area, gradually over the years all the orchards and farms and dairies have disappeared leaving row upon row upon row of houses and malls and pavement.

    Having your own citrus trees!

    Priceless!

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

    Reply
    • It is a real treat Linda and you’re right about so many of the orchards having disappeared.

      Reply
  6. One negative on the list of Pennsylvania’s attributes: no citrus! or Avocado!

    Great post, I really wish I had a glass of freshly squeezed right now. Thanks for the Carlos Petrini link – I’ll enjoy reading that later : )

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    • Oh, avocados. Wouldn’t that be great? I’m afraid that’s only a California treat.

      Reply
  7. Cooking with citrus gets me through these months before our growing season kicks in. I love the brightness.

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  8. Excellent! I like your ideas about growing our own food, sharing our unused abundance, and embracing the slow food movement. Petrini is so right about consumer culture and the modern food industry.

    Reply
  9. Just squeezed some fresh grapefruit juice for my boys for dinner tonight. They were very grateful for the yummy drink and I was much more satisfied making them their “special drink” (as we call it) myself instead of pouring it out of a bottle. It’s these little pleasures that make everything taste so much better.

    Reply
  10. When we lived in Arizona we had several citrus trees and really enjoyed the fruit and juice. I really miss the citrus right off the trees!

    Reply
    • Sometimes they are a bit of a nuisance but I also bet I’d really miss them if we didn’t have them.

      Reply
  11. I am so looking forward to my trees which will be planted this year – one lemon and one lime 🙂

    Reply
  12. Tammy – Thanks for the quotes from Petrini on Slow Food… especially his observation of “the civilizations that have not yet become frantic…” Wow. Isn’t that what we’ve become? Frantic and spellbound. Rushing from one thing to the next. He describes it well, as he also suggests the antidote.

    No fresh squeezed citrus for me today, but much appreciation in the slowing down.

    Reply
  13. Citrus trees, now I’m jealous! We would take family trips to Florida every other year to visit family. When we went, we would take a huge rubbermaid full of apples, and trade with my Dad’s neighbors for citrus from their yards. They loved the trade and so did we!

    Reply
  14. How awesome that you can pick and juice your own citrus! Can’t do that here in Massachusetts, I’m afraid. But, your message is clear: slow down and enjoy the process as much as the result. I think this is why I love to cook so much. Yes, it takes more time to prepare my own chicken pot pies when I could easily grab a box out of the freezer at my local grocery. For one, I like knowing the ingredients and controlling portion size and two, I love the anticipation of the reveal when it comes out of the oven. Maybe, I’m just slowing down in my old age. 🙂

    Reply
    • old age? ha! Freezing pot pies is a great idea. I need to try that as two of my boys would eat them. My third is a devout pescetarian so I’d have to make one from shrimp or something.

      Reply
  15. We have enjoyed our juicer since we bought it in early 2010. Love squeezing our oranges and grapefruits–sometimes apple juice, too. Thank you, Tammy.

    Reply
  16. I went to a potluck brunch this morning.
    I took Florida oranges . . . sliced into half moons.

    Juicy, fragrant, delicious. 😀

    Love the look of your trees. My sister has grapefruit, orange, tangerine, and lemon trees in her yard in Orlando. We get to “glean” her trees at times.

    Reply
  17. Carlo Petrini is brilliant in his simplicity as are you with this post. Thank you so much informative and entertaining visuals. Going for a glass of juice right now!

    Reply
    • Great to hear from you Idellah! Would love to see what you’ve been writing lately.

      Reply
  18. I would love to have orange tree in my house 🙂 I love squeezing fresh juice, it’s so fresh and healthy 🙂

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  19. I envy you a garden with citrus trees. my garden is so small I can only grow herbs and flowers. Plus some spinach for my parrot.

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  20. HI Tammy — beautiful blog. Love the slide show – how’d you do that? Moving more and more every day towards slow food and organics. Just wish life wouldn’t move so fast around me 🙂

    Reply
    • When you upload a photo, it’s a choice that you have at the bottom of the page.

      Reply
  21. We had so much fun making our own orange juice last year when we visited Arizona. Even the sour oranges made great juice once sweetened! A mind-boggling bounty for us northerners!

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  22. how wonderful to be able to capture that liquid sunset in your own backyard.
    that simple act taps right into Petrini’s vision of awakening the senses to the natural world and what it provides us.

    lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit–how drab the (culinary) world would be without them.

    Squeeze the day–love it!

    Reply
  23. Everything is already said by the time I manage to read your posts… I’ll say only this then:
    Love this post, and the Petrini quotes! 🙂

    Reply
  24. Oh how I envy you living in a warm climet! I love citrus and wish I could have citrus trees!

    Reply
  25. I can barely imagine the joy that living with fresh citrus so readily available must bring. As much as I try to keep my food choices close to home, I love my lemons and grapefruit. Oh, to have a tree in my yard!

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  26. Citrus is expensive and exotic here but the slow food movement has so much to teach us here, Tammy. I love preparing food when I have all the time in the world. And I feel sure it shows in my food when my preparation is unhurried and joyful. My shortbread particularly 🙂

    Reply
  27. Beautifully written post. I especially love the tie-in to the slow food movement. Your story about citrus is the perfect illustration of the meditative quality produced when making food from its rawest state. I wish we could eat citrus right off of the tree. Sounds delightful!

    Reply
  28. Jenn's ice cream recipe

     /  April 5, 2012

    I always drink Orange juice because its good for cleansing the body!

    Reply
  29. I think the idea of slowing down and enjoying life al little more sounds good to me. I know you were talking about the food, but I think that is sound advice for life in general.

    Tim

    Reply
  30. I think that’s wonderful that you have so many citrus trees on your property. I plan on planting citrus trees myself this year. And great that you are finding uses for your bountiful harvest so nothing is going to waste xx

    Reply
  31. Unfortunately we live in the North, although in the Southern part of Finland and thus we have to buy citrus fruits from markets or from near shops. This means that they are not ripe when they are picked.

    Many years ago when my parents-in-law had greenhouses they had in addition to cut flowers which they sold, grew by-products of honeydew melons. They were delicious.

    BTW, You might to check my answer to Your newest comment on my site.

    Reply
  32. I so agree with you Tammy, and I agree with Carlo Petrini and his Slow Food movement. This constant drive towards scientific and technological versions and inputs in even the most natural processes worries me. Last year the vet insisted that the only form of food we should be giving our dog (who was recovering from bladder stones) was a ‘Science Diet’. Even though this made her extremely unwell (I thought she was dying) the vet insisted this was the best food for her. Eventually I insisted that the best food for my dog was actual food. And now she is happy, very healthy … and we have a new vet!

    I do envy you your orange trees. Not warm enough here. But we have apples, pears, figs and allegedly kiwis and peaches will grow but we’ve managed to kill off those trees.

    Reply
  33. i could smell lemons all day. made preserved lemons a couple of weeks ago & i’m probably shaking them up too often, just so i can take deep lemon-oil filled breaths. love your blog!

    Reply
    • Preserved lemons! One of my favorite restaurants has a lemon and arugula pizza that I just love.

      Reply
  34. You’re blessed to have all these amazing, delicious citrus fruit around your home. Nothing can be more thirst quenching than a cold , freshly squeezed citrus juice. Mmmmm….thanks!

    Reply
  35. I grew up with an orange tree and a kumquats tree! So yummy! A little zesty goodness to add to the juice! Good idea!

    Reply
  36. What a wonderful post! I love how it changed as you went along ending with a decision to do something other than what you had in mind when you started. What a great analogy to my life in the kitchen – I can’t tell you how many times I let the creative process take me someplace other than where I intended.

    Reply

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