Sunday, December 16, 2007
Wildcrafting with Feral Oranges
Feral Oranges: they're lumpy, covered with warts, and they taste bad. But that's no excuse to let them fall to the ground and rot.
Central and North Florida are full of feral orange trees. Some are remnants of old groves, others are volunteers of these domesticates, and still others are direct descendants of the original Spanish oranges favored by the Native Americans.
But to the typical neighborhood housing committee, these fruit trees are considered a nuisance. That's because they attract animals, and also because of the nasty stinking mess that rotten oranges make when they are not picked. To review: feral orange trees are a nuisance because animals try to harvest the fruit, and also because animals are incapable of harvesting all the fruit.
You can almost hear the hushed whisper during the neighborhood meetings: That's terrible, isn't it, all those disgusting animals creeping around in our neighborhood, tainting our perfect lawns?
So we harvested a bucket of these fangley fruit in a suburban neighborhood outside of Orlando. Over the last few weeks, we've been adding the taste of feral to our dishes, mostly in the curries and stews that call for lemon or vinegar.
But last night we hit our stride. I bring you: the Feral Lemondrop.
Recipe for Feral Lemondrops
1. Squeeze those warty and maligned juicy oranges.
2. Add sugar or honey to taste (just like lemonade).
3. Add your favorite inebriate - we went with a dry sake and triple sec.
4. Crust the glass rims with unrefined or raw sugar.
5. Enjoy the sweet tang of feral with some ginger cookies or shortbread.
Thanks to the "Feral Princess" for her participation.