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03 December 2008 @ 11:48 am
a kit of simple pleasures  

Some of you will recall my sad and bitter tale from earlier this year of finding oranges too much of a pain to actually bother eating. There’s one exception to that, which are Christmas oranges*, which I love beyond reason. I will eat Christmas oranges until I turn orange, given the opportunity. So I was just eating one, and it had a couple of seeds, and on a sheerly what-the-hell impulse, I have planted the seeds. The intarweb tubs suggest that there’s a pretty good chance of getting seedlings from store-bought fruit, and although apparently Christmas orange fruit itself is quite delicate in terms of cold it appears the trees are actually fairly hardy in the face of it, so I’m even kind of hopeful. A website said the best root temperature to keep oranges at is about 85 degrees F, which can evidently be accomplished with great ease by wrapping the pot (or in this case, coffee cup) with Christmas lights.

The idea of a Christmas oranges planter wrapped in Christmas lights makes me inexplicably happy. So I have tented the cup with a plastic bag to make a little greenhouse, put it in the window, and later today I’ll buy a short little string of lights to wrap around the bottom of the cup. The internet claims seedlings will sprout within 18-21 days (or up to 6 weeks), so perhaps I’ll have Christmas seedlings for my Christmas orange as Christmastime! :)

It takes years and years and years to grow a fruiting tree from seed (a very minimum of four, it looks like, and more usually 7-9), but orange trees are pretty and it’s not like I’m losing anything other than the use of one coffee cup for a while (and I don’t even drink coffee, so it’s not like it’s an inconvenience). And maybe someday I’ll have my own Christmas oranges! *beams*

*Mandarins. When I was a kid they arrived in Alaska in boxes at Christmas time, and we ate and ate and ate and ate them. We always got one in the toe of our stockings, and regardless of the fact that mandarins are apparently available year-round now, I still think of them as Christmas oranges and feel that they are *best* at this time of year.

(x-posted from the essential kit)
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
irishkate: fireirishkate on December 3rd, 2008 12:09 pm (UTC)
I feel the same way about them - and now I must go out and buy some.
desperancedesperance on December 3rd, 2008 12:47 pm (UTC)
Yup. They were called tangerines when I was a kid ("mandarin oranges" meant pretty much the same thing but in segments in tins, and nobody had ever heard of a clementine or a satsuma), and I loved them especially best because I had been to Tangiers-where-the-tangerines-come-from (collapse of small boy in ineffable giggles, every time). And yes, they always padded out the toes of the Christmas stocking (though you always had to rummage through the nuts-that-nobody-wanted to get to them).

And yes, I do still eat them. At Christmas.
Mindy Klaskymindyklasky on December 3rd, 2008 02:06 pm (UTC)
We always got a navel orange in the toe of our stockings.

I have fond memories of eating cantaloupe with my grandfather, when I was a very young child. He saved the scooped out seeds of every melon he ate, deciding after the "taste test" whether it was worth planting a few in the sprawling garden out back. I don't have any memories of picking fruit out there, so I suspect the gardening experiments were somewhat less thans uccessful...
Xixpioti on December 3rd, 2008 02:12 pm (UTC)
That is so cool! I'm trying the same thing with apple seeds, actually -- planting seeds from a bought fruit. I just want cute little apple trees; I don't care about fruit. :)
wednesday childewedschilde on December 3rd, 2008 03:34 pm (UTC)
ah, i love honey tangerines.
Patchchamois_shimi on December 3rd, 2008 04:48 pm (UTC)
I use to do the grocery store gardening (and restaurant gardening, I got lemon seeds from the slices in my beverage) a lot - you can grow apple trees, pear trees, orange trees and lemon trees, plants from carrot tops and pineapple tops, vines from avocados ... etc, etc, etc. My favorites are the trees, and grape vines from the seeded grapes.

Sadly none of them survived moving across the country, and now we have a cat who eats *anything* green in the house (I lost an entire crop of seed-starting seedlings one spring because I didn't get them out fast enough ... sigh ...) so I haven't been doing it. :P
Mary Annepers1stence on December 3rd, 2008 04:48 pm (UTC)
I grew up only getting mandarins once a year too and i've now come to the conclusion that clementines just aren't the same, although available year round on the East Coast. this year, for the first time on the east coast, i've been able to find actual mandarins....mmmmmmmm

i think we grew up with odd perspectives on fruits and veggies, given that there aren't that many varieties that get shipped to alaska, and by the time they get there, they're often far from peak freshness and taste.
fatbaldguy60fatbaldguy60 on December 3rd, 2008 05:47 pm (UTC)
They call them satsumas here in Louisiana. I eat about 10 a day as long as I can get them and then I pine for them until the next Christmas season.
SaffronRosesaffronrose on December 3rd, 2008 08:07 pm (UTC)
We always got a navel--I'll give blood oranges, myself. Citrus is in season in December/January, so of course it tastes better now.
I AM SHERLOCKEDi_amsherlocked on December 4th, 2008 08:43 am (UTC)
Our citrus trees go year round here in California...depending on the variety, you can always have something fresh!
Dinidamedini on December 4th, 2008 04:25 am (UTC)
In Toronto they're called Clementines (I think a slightly different variety). When they arrive in late November, people go bonkers. They're pretty much only sold by the case. I ate a handful at work today and had mercy on my neighbor and tossed her one.

Aren't they bliss? I will gorge on them til they're gone. Cases and cases.
I AM SHERLOCKEDi_amsherlocked on December 4th, 2008 08:42 am (UTC)
mmmm! Clementines are my favorite variety!
We have a wee little tree in the backyard, but I never get any! My seven year old eats every last one before anyone else!