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How to Sweeten Citrus Fruit

Updated November 21, 2016

Sour fruits come to mind easily when considering citrus. Lemons, limes and grapefruit are all a part of the citrus family. Depending on variety, care and location, home-grown citrus fruit can run the flavour gamut from deliciously sweet to too sour to taste. If the citrus fruit you grow is too sour, there are ways to get sweeter fruit, before and after the harvest.

Avoid growing citrus fruit in an area with cool summers. Generally, the hotter the summer, the sweeter the fruit.

Plant a variety of citrus fruit known for its sweetness. Read garden catalogues and seed packets carefully, noting which varieties claim to produce sweet fruit.

Use potash and Epsom salts to grow sweeter citrus fruit. Sprinkle approximately 6 handfuls of sulphate of potash around the base of each citrus tree. Dissolve 2 tsp of Epsom salts into 2 1/2 gallons of water. Use this mix to water in the sulphate of potash.

Allow your citrus fruit to ripen on the tree. Most varieties of citrus ripen well this way. Oranges and mandarins especially tend to sweeten if left on the tree longer.

Place ripe citrus fruit inside a container, such as a box. Shake the container for several minutes prior to serving. Shaking bruises the fruit, freeing the juice and diluting the sour taste of the fruit.

Top peeled citrus fruit with sugar. Prepare the citrus fruit for serving. Sprinkle sugar on the citrus fruit or provide a sugar bowl for dipping.

Use sour citrus fruit in recipes. Citrus fruit can be used to create a variety of drinks, dishes, spreads and toppings. Turn sour oranges into a sweet orange marmalade, use sour lemons to make a sweet lemonade, or make a sweet citrus pie. Sour citrus fruit can also be used to infuse vodka.

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