Looking for citrus Picking Tips in 2020? Scroll down this page and follow the links. And if you bring home some fruit or vegetables and want to can, freeze, make jam, salsa or pickles, see this page for simple, reliable, illustrated canning, freezing or preserving directions. There are plenty of other related resources, click on the resources dropdown above.
Notes for February 2020: Summer is here and that means blueberries, peaches, raspberries, blackberries, figs, corn and tomatoes are here. Check your area's specific crop calendar (see this page) and call your local farms for seasonal updates. Strawberries and cherries are finishing up in the north, long done in the South.
See these pages to find a local Peach festival, Blueberry festival and other festivals. We have a guide to peach varieties here. Also recipes, canning and freezing directions for strawberries, blueberries, peaches, tomatoes, corn etc.
See our comprehensive list of easy home canning, jam and jelly making, preserving, drying and freezing directions. You can access recipes and other resources from the drop down menus at the top of the page or the site search. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to write me! It is easy to make your own ice cream, even gelato, or low fat or low sugar ice cream - see this page. Also note, there are many copycat website listing U-pick farms now. They have all copied their information from here and usually do not ever update. Since 2002, I've been updating the information every day but Christmas; so if you see anything wrong or outdated, please write me!
Children's Consignment Sales occur in both the Spring and Fall See our companion website to find a local community or church kid's consignment sale!
Citrus fruit, like oranges, grapefruit, lemons, mandarins and tangerines are easy to pick and use, if you are lucky enough to live in the semi-tropical climates where they grow.
In the US, that means southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, southern Texas, Florida and sometimes in southern Louisiana and Mississippi. Citrus are fat-free, low sodium, and cholesterol-free.
Most modern orange, grapefruit, mandarin or tangerine orchards have dwarf trees that are very close to the ground - my 3 year old finds it easy to pick citrus! (photo above and below)
Select The color can be anything from dark green, to yellow, pink, orange, bright red, dark red or even a combination. It all depends on the variety. And color is not really how you tell when a citrus fruit is ripe. The key will be to ask the farmer which are ripe.
Look for firm, bruise-free skin
Look for a heavy, solid feel to the fruit. heavier and more solid means juicier!
The dimples should have small, fine dimples on the peels
Watch out for soft, tender spots or wrinkled, folds in the rind.
The smell of the the fruit should be a strong, sweet citrusy smell.
The farmer/orchardist will also know what characteristics to look for in the particular varieties that he is growing.
Citrus ripen from the outside of the tree towards the center, so the citrus out the outside of the tree will ripen first. Once they are picked, they stop ripening. Picking citrus directly from a tree is easy.. abut uniform orange color is not necessarily an indicator of a delicious, juicy orange. Notice the photo at right.
The best way to know if a citrus fruit is ripe is the smell and taste. Try one and you'll know what to look for in appearance and smell with the others.
Keep in mind that these are typical, general dates. It can vary considerably upon weather, location, orchard and variety.
Navel oranges - November to June.
Valencia oranges - March to October.
Cara Cara oranges December to May.
Clementine oranges -October to December
Satsuma - October to January.
Pineapple sweet oranges - November to February.
In a refrigerator, citrus can last 2 or3 weeks.. Keep them in a bag that has holes for airflow, ie. they have a few holes in them . The airflow is important to prevent buildup of moisture or condensation which causes mold growth.
At room temperature, Citrus will keep for about a week.
The weight of the citrus fruit, and the number of fruit per bushel varies depending on the size of the fruit , their moisture content and variety. But, in general:
1 bushel = 48-72 oranges or 32-48 grapefruit.
3/4 bushel = 36-54 oranges or 24-36 grapefruit
1/2 bushel = 24-36 oranges or 16-24 grapefruit