Sunday, September 27, 2009

A day without Florida orange juice ...

... is a day without sunshine!
I am addicted to fresh Florida orange juice. I have a freezer in the garage dedicated primarily to freezing enough Hamlin oranges to last from mid-May to mid-October. I don't wash or juice the oranges - I just freeze them, a layer at a time so nothing gets squished, then take out a couple every night, thaw them in the refrigerator, scrub them, and juice them for breakfast. This does not work as well if you want to eat them, as freezing changes the texture, but if you just want juice - perfect! Just like fresh-picked. I get my Hamlins from a local grove that (thanks to a wonderful owner) has not been turned into a development. This photo is of what's left in my freezer - should last until Mr. Tyler opens his grove.
I'm also addicted to cantaloupe, and we're coming to the end of the season. (I don't eat imports.) Cantaloupe gets mushy if you freeze and thaw it, so I experimented this year with eating it frozen, and it's pretty good! For those of you interested in trying it, here's my process. Peel, seed, and chunk a cantaloupe that has ripened on your countertop for a few days after you buy it. (It should smell like ripe canteloupe at the stem end, and the skin should start puckering just a little bit.) Put a flexible plastic cutting board on a sheet pan and spread your cantaloupe chunks on it, not touching. Freeze.
I use a Food Saver system that sucks the air out of the bags, but you can use a zip lock bag or whatever you like. It's nice if somebody holds the bag when you're ready to fill it with frozen chunks. Grab the edges of the flexible cutting board and fold towards the center. Voila - the chunks will release from the cutting board and you can funnel everything into the waiting bag. I think these frozen chunks will be a dandy treat this winter.


Island Rider said...

Hmm. I never thought about freezing the oranges whole. We juice them and freeze the juice, but then, you have to thaw the whole jug. It would be nice to just make a glass or two at a time. Thanks for the idea.

Caroline said...

Not so many orange groves, in South Dakota to experiment with the technique :o)
A friend of mine showed me about freezing green or red seedless grapes the way you are doing canteloupe, they are very refreshing on a hot day.
I might try the freezer thing with the Woonsocket melons, their season is winding down too. Kind of like a melon popsicle.

Florida Beach Basics said...

Island Rider - try a few first - works best with juice oranges. Also works with lemons and limes.

Caroline - when I had my mynah bird, I froze 52 pints of blueberries every year this way - for those, I let them soak in water for about ten minutes, drained them, put them on the flexible cutting board, froze, etc. - worked perfectly. (My mynah bird wanted blueberries every day, and not the ones from the grocery freezer. He threw those on the floor.)

Anonymous said...

Can anyone recommend a grove to buy Hmlin Oranges. Lost Without Them!

Florida Beach Basics said...

if you live in Brevard County, after I get all of mine, I will tell you where I get them :) Hamlins have a fairly short window of opportunity, I think. Just got my first bushel yesterday, and they are wonderful - have begun freezing them as we speak. in the right-hand column of my blog is a Contact Us email address - email me, and I'll tell you where to get them.