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Ways with Citrus Fruit

Taste Buds talks to Lewtrenchard Manor’s Head Chef, Tom Browning, about how to use up excess citrus fruit

Tom Browning. Head Chef at Lewtrenchard Manor in Devon

Have you over-calculated how many satsumas you’ll actually eat over Christmas? Wondering what to do with a dried-up lemon? Tom gives us some top tips on how to avoid waste. 

How long can you leave a citrus fruit before it needs using up?
If kept in the fridge, all citrus fruits will last for up to two weeks. They may get a little softer than usual, but all the juices should be locked inside by the thick skin surrounding them. After two weeks, they may begin to dry out a little. If a fruit starts to get mould on it, then you must remove it from the others immediately to prevent the mould transferring to the other fruit.

If the fruit is going a little dry, can you still use it?
Once the fruit starts to dry out, use it straight away. It will still be good enough to cook with for a few days, but I wouldn’t use it as a garnish in a gin and tonic.

What are the best uses for left-over fruits?
There are so many beautiful things to do with old citrus fruit. Anything from making desserts, such as lemon posset, to drying them in the oven for Christmas decorations, such as wreaths.

Can you give us some general ideas for using up citrus fruits?

  1. Dehydrate grapefruit for long-term storage or Christmas decorations. Slice approximately 5mm thick, place on a tray lined with greaseproof paper and dry in the oven overnight at 60°C. Store in an airtight container indefinitely.
  2. Juice any citrus fruit and freeze in ice cube trays. You can use them in drinks or cooking.
  3. Peel off the rind and ‘blanch and refresh': bring some water to the boil with the rind in it, plunge into iced water, repeat six times. Then coat in sugar and keep in an airtight container for up to a month.
  4. Score the skin off lemons and coat liberally in salt and Moroccan spices. Put into Kilner jars and leave for a month to produce some wonderfully preserved lemons.

When should you call it a day and throw the old fruit on the compost?
The only time I will dispose of citrus fruit is when they are mouldy, or incredibly dry.

Tom's tips for using up fruit

  1. Dehydrate grapefruit for long-term storage or Christmas decorations. Slice approximately 5mm thick, place on a tray lined with greaseproof paper and dry in the oven overnight at 60°C. Store in an airtight container indefinitely.
  2. Juice any citrus fruit and freeze in ice cube trays. You can use them in drinks or cooking.
  3. Peel off the rind and ‘blanch and refresh': bring some water to the boil with the rind in it, plunge into iced water, repeat six times. Then coat in sugar and keep in an airtight container for up to a month.
  4. Score the skin off lemons and coat liberally in salt and Moroccan spices. Put into Kilner jars and leave for a month to produce some wonderfully preserved lemons.

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