Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Celebration of Citrus

Here is the delicious Grapefruit Pie the signature dish of Lang Sun Country Groves in Florida.

This is an unusual variety of lemon called Fingered Citron. Originally from China, Japan and Indonesia it was grown for many centuries for its religious and ornamental value. The thick peeled fruit is yellow with no flesh that opens into fingers.

Who knew there were so many varieties of citrus grown around the world and we were able to taste the many kinds of citrus marmelade made from this tangy fruit.

Well March is almost over and all those snowbirds will soon be returning home. (Snowbirds are those people who make a hasty retreat once winter comes to vacation in the warmer climates of the sunny south of Florida, Arizona and Latin America). And while they were away, I'm sure that they enjoyed eating a lot of locally grown citrus fruits. What could be better than picking oranges and lemons off a tree right in your own backyard.

It reminded me of two trips I have taken in recent years which involved seeing citrus up close and personal. The most recent trip was to Tuscany in Italy where we visited a museum where a large collection of unusual citrus are being grown, preserving this unique varieties from extinction. I never knew there were so many varieties of oranges that didn't even look like oranges. You can see one of those novel kinds above in the Finger Lemon (and don't you agree that it actually looks like fingers!). At the end of our tour, we had the opportunity to taste (and then purchase) bottles of delicious, tangy marmelades from each different variety. Yummy!

My other real experience with citrus was during a media trip to Polk County, Florida. We visited a Citrus Research station where we learned about the pests and diseases that affect citrus plants. We also had a tasty stop at Lang Sun Country Groves, a grower and shipper of citrus to the US. and Canada. At the end of this tour, we sat down and tucked into Grapefruit Pie, the signature dish of Mary Lang. I had forgotten about this delicious dessert until this past month when my Probus Cooking group chose the theme "Citrus". I wanted to do something different so I looked up the recipe I had been given and made the pie (it's so easy). It was a great hit. My daughter, who admitted later that she didn't think Grapefruit was a good ingredient for a pie, loved it and the next day made her own Grapefruit Pie to take to her function.

Citrus is delicious, tangy yet sweet. It brightens the flavour of other foods and it only take a squeeze. And who doesn't love biting into a juicy orange and having that sweet juice drip down their fingers. Celebrate all things citrus by making your own Grapefruit Pie, it will make you feel like a kid again.


Mary Lang's Grapefruit Pie

Yield: 8 servings Preparation: 15 minutes Cook: 10 Minutes Refrigerate: 2 to 3 hours

1 (6 ounce) graham cracker crust

2 large or 3 medium red Lang grapefruit, sectioned

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/2 cups water

1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin1

(8 ounce) container frozen non dairy whipped topping, thawed (I used real whipping cream)

Arrange grapefruit sections in graham cracker crust. Set aside.In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add water and cook over medium heat until thick and clear. Add gelatin and stir to dissolve. Let cool slightly. Pour gelatin over grapefruit sections in crust. Refrigerate until firm.Top with whipped topping.

Courtesy of Lang Sun Country Groves, Florida – Lake Alfred, Florida

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