When Life Gives You Oranges


With Sacramento winters comes Sacramento citrus. This time of year, it seems like almost every street in downtown and midtown is studded with orange trees bursting with fruit. I happen to be one of the lucky downtown residents with an orange tree in my backyard, and right now I have more fruit than I’d ever know what to do with. I’m giving away oranges to everyone I know, but it feels like every time I pluck a piece of fruit, another orange magically appears in its place. I’m seriously overrun by these guys. Actually, while we’re on the topic, you wouldn’t like some oranges, would you?

Needless to say, I’m doing my best to utilize the fruit, so practically everything I make nowadays features oranges: spicy orange chicken, orange glazed pork chops, fresh orange juice, citrus vinaigrette, homemade orange cleaner, etc … you get the picture.

So, if you happen to be blessed with (or suffer from) having copious amounts of oranges, today I’m pleased to share with you three of my favorite ways to use them up.


Orange Marmalade: I used Ina Garten’s recipe, which was not only easy but totally delicious.

Orange Extract: This one is so easy, there is no recipe required. Simply add large strips of orange zest (with white pith removed) to a small bottle or container and cover with vodka. Let steep for at least two weeks, tipping bottle every four days or so. Voila … orange extract! Use this as you would use vanilla in baking and cooking. Think dark chocolate chunk orange cookies or a pumped-up orange banana smoothie.

Fresh Orange Margaritas: For each drink, simply combine the juice from one freshly squeezed orange with juice from half of a lime and shake with two tablespoons of homemade marmalade (or a shot of triple sec or simple syrup). Add 1.5 ounces of silver tequila and shake over ice. Serve on the rocks in a glass with a sugared rim and garnish with a fresh orange slice. Enjoy!

What are your favorite ways to utilize your fresh winter citrus?

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