Notes from The Orchard Basket: Citrus Season

Each week, the Lettuce Orchard Basket gets delivered with a blurb by Lettuce’s Sourcing Manager, Leslie Nelms. Seasonal eating can be particularly tricky when limited to a category like fruit, but it’s nothing a little creativity can’t fix! Here are our favorite tips and tricks to get you through the citrus season while waiting for the stone fruits, berries and melons of summertime.

Mixed Citrus Salad

Using grapefruits, Hamlin oranges, and Satsuma tangerine, slice off the ends of each fruit. With the flat-side down, run a paring knife from top to bottom between pith and fruit to remove peel. Then using the knife’s point, cut both sides of each segment of fruit, pulling out each pith-free jewel. Add segments to a bowl and toss together. Drizzle with this dressing to sweeten up this puckery treat:

In a small bowl whisk together:

¾ c quality olive oil

¼ c apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp water

2 Tbsp honey or agave nectar

1 ½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper


Grapefruit Vinaigrette

1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice

1 T. chopped shallots

1 tsp. sugar (or to taste)

1/2 cup olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine all ingredients except the olive oil. With the machine running, slowly pour in the oil, and process until thickened. Adjust the seasonings to taste. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to two days. Serve at room temperature.

If you don’t have a food processor, whisk all the ingredients except the olive oil together in a small bowl. Gradually add the oil, whisking constantly until thickened.

For Brunch or Dessert:

Cut a grapefruit in half crosswise. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each half to avoid wobbling. Using a serrated knife or a sharp paring knife, loosen the grapefruit segments by first carefully cutting between the fruit and the peel and then by cutting along either side of each segment to free it from the membrane. Leave all the segments in their shells. Line a broiling pan with foil. Add grapefruit halves, cut side up. Sprinkle 2 to 3 teaspoons of brown sugar over the top, or to taste. Broil about 4 inches from the heat source until sugar is uniformly bubbly and caramelized, about 2-3 minutes. Keep a close eye because the sugar can burn in a blink! Remove from oven and cool. Divide grapefruits among plates or bowls and garnish with a mint sprig. Eat while they’re still warm.

Grapefruit Smoothie

1 large ripe banana, previously frozen

1 medium grapefruit, peeled and seeded

1 large sweet apple, skin removed and cored

2 c spinach  

2 ice cubes

½ c almond milk or orange juice

½ tsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped   

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy and smooth. Add more liquid if to thin, ice to thicken, and banana or apple to sweeten. Serves 2 .


Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls  


  • 1 c almond milk
  • 3 Tbsp butter or Earth Balance, melted
  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp mandarin zest (2 oranges)
  • 2 ½-3 cups all-purpose flour
  • Oil for greasing bowl   


  • 2 c thawed cranberries, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp mandarin juice (1 orange)
  • ½ c sugar


  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp mandarin juice (1 orange)
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter or Earth Balance
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat almond milk and 3 Tbsp of the butter in a saucepan until lukewarm.

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast into milk mixture, then stir in sugar, salt, and orange zest.

Stir 2 cups of flour into the milk mixture, then add more flour, a heaping tablespoon at a time, until dough forms a loose ball (it should be moist, but not sticky).

Transfer dough to a clean, floured surface and knead for about a minute, until you have a smooth ball.Then, lightly grease a bowl. Set dough in the bowl, cover bowl with plastic wrap, lay a tea towel over it, and set in a warm area to rise for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Strain excess moisture from chopped cranberries by patting with a paper towel, then combine cranberries, orange juice, and sugar. (Add a touch of flour if your mixture is runny)

On a floured surface, roll dough into a thin rectangle, about 10 x 14 inches. Spread cranberry mixture evenly over dough. Gently and tightly roll the dough from the widest edge of the rectangle.

To cut the rolls, a string of floss works best. Work the floss under the roll, then cross your hands in opposite directions over itl, like you’re going to tie a knot, to make a clean cut. Should make 8 to 10 rolls.

Transfer rolls to a greased cookie sheet and let rise another 30 min while oven preheats.

Bake at 350 degrees or about 30 minutes, until tops are lightly browned.

Combine all icing ingredients and spread over cinnamon rolls.


Cleaning Agents

As a natural disinfectant, lemons are serious cleaning and freshening powerhouses. Their scent is perfect for humans, but a deterrent for pests. They can easily replace harsh chemical based ingredients, which helps the environment. You’ll likely want to stock at least a few lemons in your kitchen at all times.  

Clean cutting boards, rolling pins, salad bowls, and more. Wooden kitchen products are hot spots for germs and smells. Lemon juice works very well on bacteria. After you’ve washed your cutting board, rub ½ of a lemon over the wood and let it sit for 20-30 minutes. Then rinse and dry.

Overcome odor. Keep a couple lemon peels in your fridge (it works better than baking soda!) and the bottom of your trash can, underneath the bag, to avoid unpleasant smells. Replace every few weeks.

Remove hard water stains, debris and other marks on glass. Use straight lemon juice on a sponge for tough jobs.

Make mildew on clothes disappear. Prepare a paste out of lemon juice and salt then apply to the mildew. Let the fabric air dry.

Replace toxic laundry bleach. Add ½ cup lemon juice to the wash instead.

Kill weeds naturally. Lemon is a very effective weed killer. Soak the unwanted plants with  juice to kill them without chemicals.

Repel ants and other pests. Ants, roaches, and moths hate the smell of citrus. Place lemon juice in a spray bottle, and regularly mist door thresholds and window sills.


4 tangerines, sliced

16 strawberries, sliced, divided

3 Meyer lemon, sliced

½ apple, cored and chopped into small pieces  

1 bottle Spanish red wine (like Tempranillo, Garnacha or other Rioja wine)

½ c Cointreau

1 c tangerine juice

¼ c sugar

Sparkling water

Fresh mint

Put tangerines, strawberries, lemon slices, apples, and sugar in a pitcher and muddle with a wooden spoon. Add tangerine juice and Cointreau and muddle again. Add wine and stir to incorporate.

To serve, fill glasses with ice. Pour sangria over ice with a little fruit. Top with sparkling water and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Sangria is best fresh, but you may store extra covered in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.

Lemon Scones

  • 2 c flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ c butter or Earth Balance
  • 4 Tbsp agave
  • 3 Tbsp (divided) sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Meyer lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp Meyer lemon zest
  • ½ c almond milk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Lemon glaze

  • 1 c confectioner sugar
  • ¼ c lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp butter or Earth Balance

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium mixing bowl, add flour, baking powder, salt, and 2 Tbsp sugar. Cut in butter until it’s in tiny clumps, evenly distributed in the dough.

Add agave, lemon juice, lemon zest, almond milk, and vanilla. Mix ingredients. If dough is dry, add more milk, in Tbsp increments until it’s stiff.  

Put dough on a floured surface and knead a few times. Roll out into a round disc and cut into 8 even slices. Using a spatula, transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of sugar on tops.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

For the glaze, mix confectioner sugar with lemon juice, then add butter and microwave for 30 seconds. Whisk until mixture turns into a thick glaze. Drizzle over the tops of the scones.


Mini Key Lime Pies


1 ¼ c graham cracker crumbs

¼ c butter, melted


1 c raw cashews (soaked for 4-6 hours or overnight, then drained)

¾ c light or full-fat coconut milk, shaken

¼ c coconut oil, melted

6-7 key limes (~½ c juice)

1 Tbsp lime zest

½ c agave nectar  I

Preheat oven to 375ºF and line a standard muffin tin with 12 paper liners.

Add graham crackers to a food processor and process until you achieve a fine meal. Then add melted butter and pulse to combine.

Distribute evenly among muffin tins and press down with a glass or spoon to flatten. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and set aside to cool.

Add all filling ingredients to a blender and blend on high until creamy and smooth. Taste and adjust flavor as needed.

Pour filling into muffin tins and tap on counter to release air bubbles. Top with a bit more lime zest and loosely cover.

Freeze for 2-4 hours or until firm. Remove from the freezer for 10-15 minutes to thaw before serving.

Maple-Lime butter

Combine 1/2 stick butter (softened),1 tsp maple syrup, 1 tsp lime zest, and salt. Best brushed on cornbread.

Simple Dipping Sauce

Combine 1 cup yogurt with the zest from a lime, a splash of extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lime. Perfect on artichokes, roast cauliflower

Chili-Lime Corn

Combine 3 Tbsp butter (room temp), 1 tsp lime zest, 1 Tbsp lime juice, 1 tsp chili powder, ¼ tsp garlic, 1 tsp salt, and ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper and spread on 4 ears of corn.

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