Saturday, November 29, 2014

Gotta love freebies!

I have a neighbor who loves to repay me with things. Although I don't like taking anything from her when she asks me for help with something, I generously accept any bounty she will give me. One day it was local veg from the farmer's market for taking a photo of her and her family for their holiday card... another time it was a coffee chain gift card for walking her dog... this time, it was two bags of grapefruit for showing her how to use her computer.

Mind you, the grapefruit weren't store bought. Given that we are in one of the citrus capitals of the United States, Florida thrives in fruit. 

Known as the Sunshine State, Florida creates copious amounts of oranges, grapefruits and lemons. That Tropicana juice you're drinking with your daily breakfast? Grown and packaged up in Bradenton, Florida. 

Closer to home, there's a harvest company, oddly enough, called "Sun Harvest Citrus". Not only can you walk in to this facility and smell like you're walking in to various groves, you can watch the workers pack the fruit in crates to be shipped all over the country. Citrus season changes with the months, so one minute we may get bins of grapefruit, when 4 months later we can get oranges. It's one of those places where you just want to go in every day just to sample the fresh juice... which is squeezed on site. They also sell fresh jellies and wines that are made with various Florida citrus. My friend visited me in England this summer, and she went home with almost 100 dollars worth of alcohol, jams, sauces and candies... all provided by naturally grown products. This store is a stop worth visiting when in the area (spring training is coming soon.... why not swing in before a Sox game?).

But back to my original statement. My neighbor has a friend who has a grapefruit tree in his back yard. Homeowners can "legally" grow any type of citrus tree they want, but if you're a renter or condo owner, it's frowned upon. Hence friends, cohorts, relatives, all come in handy if they own a place here. A plethora of fresh ideas can come out of a single tree. My cousin had a lemon tree in her yard before she moved, and we would constantly be over there, picking the ripe lemons to use in baking (and drinks, of course). Citrus trees are a pain in the ass to maintain, but if you treat it right and do what is needed, it repays you multiple times over. 

Back to story: my neighbor's friend was maintaining the tree he has in his yard, and because he had so much grapefruit, he sent a bin to my neighbor. Due to a conflict with her medication, I'm the lucky person who got the bags of fruit. It just so happens she needed me over to help with computer issues, and because it wasn't well planned, she had nothing to thank me with. The only thing available was these bags of HUGE grapefruit. I welcomed the opportunity, as there really isn't anything better than "grow your own" fruit and veg (the whole reason why farmers markets are awesome... I urge you to find your local and shop smart). 

Therefore, 5 minutes of my day today was spent filling a mason jar with about 26 oz of liquid. Doesn't sound like a lot, but it was filling, if you think about what my waste was from the final product... as well as the fact the ounces to cup ratio equals I ended up drinking 3.25 cups of juice. What did I use to make my juice? My handy dandy Jack LaLanne's PJEB Power Juicer Express, which has actually gone down in price, by about 6 dollars (from a few months ago). Another one of those deals that "doesn't seem like enough", but when it was originally $119.99 and down to 99 (when I bought it), $83.99 is a steal, as it's been holding steady at $89 for a while. It's one of those machines that can be a pain to clean, but everything is dishwasher safe (trust me). Only thing to worry about is taking the skin off of the citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and grapefruits. Everything else can go in whole. Which is pretty awesome because it only gets messy when you're peeling the citrus, really. 

Pictures or it didn't happen:

4 grapefruit & 1 orange.
Not pictured: 1 apple

In action!

Action from the front

Full cup

Froth is normal (and good for you)

Waste bin

Try it... you may like it!


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