Orange Picking in Florida
Orange Picking and Monster Truck Ride in Central Florida
My family and I love to take day trips and living in Orlando offers us many opportunities to do this. Just outside of Orlando near the Walt Disney World Resort is a great place to get away for the day called http://www.showcaseofcitrus.com/
This is a fantastic way to spend a few hours walking through Florida's famous citrus groves picking the largest, most juicy oranges and grapefruit you've ever seen and tasted. There is plenty to see and do here so put on your walking shoes, get your camera ready and put some good sunscreen on and get ready for your adventure!
When is the citrus in season?
The picking season for Navel, Temple, Hamlin and Blood varieties and most other varieties of Florida citrus is November through mid-March. Valencia oranges are in season from late March through June.
Pricing, Hours and Location
It is free to enter and walk around the citrus groves and to walk through the small petting farm. The Upick citrus price was $10 for the 10lb red bags and $20 for the yellow 20lb bags mix and match any of the available fruit. The special is usually purchase 2 yellow bags and get a red bag for free. There is a general store with bagged oranges for sale. The highlight of our trip was the 1 hour Safari Monster Truck Ride & Eco Tour over a 2500 acre private citrus ranch and cattle farm which cost $20 adults, $10 children 4-12, 3 and under free.
The World Showcase of Citrus is open 7 days a week 365 days a year from 8:00 am until sunset October through June. July through September they are open from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm.
5010 US Highway 27
Clermont FL 34714
Grow Your Own Oranges
What Can I Do While I'm Here? - The Country Store
When you park in the parking lot the first thing that you will notice is the large country store nestled alongside of a fishing pond. The country store offers bagged citrus for those who don't feel like picking their own fruit. There is also a nice variety of orange jams, jellies and sauces. Fresh organic eggs, local produce and honey are available for purchase giving this store a down home country feel. If you’re hungry or thirsty fresh squeezed orange juice, delicious orange slushies, homemade ice cream and hot boiled peanuts are available for purchase. Want a souvenir to bring back home with you? T-shirts, canvas shopping bags and alligator souvenirs are just a few of the items available for purchase.
After the truck ride we went for the self-guided walk through citrus orchard. Near the entrance you will find the bags for picking citrus as well as complimentary wagons and orange picking poles. The groves are marked at the ends of the rows with the variety type and the dates that they will be ripe. This area is quite a walk so wear comfortable shoes and put sunscreen on. Don't forget to bring plenty of water.
While walking through the citrus groves you will come across a pond. Be careful! There's some gators in those waters! Tasting the fruit is allowed so as we sat by the pond I began throwing my orange peels in the water. All of a sudden several alligators began swimming toward me. They were small under 2 feet but as a precaution I moved the children to the wagon took a few pictures and left.
Make Your Own Fresh Orange Juice
Monster Truck Safari Ride and Eco Tour
The Monster Truck Safari Ride and Eco Tour is approximately 60 minutes long. Purchase the tickets for the tour inside the store. When it is time for the tour proceed to the truck area. In order to get in to the truck you must climb a tall ladder. It is stable but my 3 & 4 year old had a hard time climbing by themselves. If you have mobility problems you may have difficulty climbing them. There is a chain that covers the opening when the ladder is removed so sit near the front if you have small children. The tour takes you through the 2500 acre farm highlighting the history and growing techniques. Wildlife is seen throughout the tour with several photo opportunities. The highlight for our family was driving through the 50' mud bog. You even get to feed the cows oranges toward the end of the tour!
Monster Truck Ride
These are Scarlet Macaws. They fly into the Showcase everyday to see what exciting things are happening. Many lucky Eco-tour/Monster truck passengers are able to see them in the trees.
Picking Oranges With My FamilyClick thumbnail to view full-size
Bring lunch and enjoy the picnic area complete with an place to lay out your blanket or if you prefer they have picnic tables. There is even a playground for the little ones to enjoy while you sit back and relax. Stroll around the small petting farm where you can feed a goat, pig, chickens and a donkey. If you just can't get enough of this place there is a campground for overnight stays and a pond with a nice fishing pier.
This is a delicious recipe to make with all the oranges you pick.
- 1 3/4 pounds oranges
- 4 to 5 medium
- 1 lemon
- zest finely grated and juiced
- 6 cups water
- 3 pounds plus 12 ounces sugar
- 10 (8-ounce) canning jars with rings and lids
- 12 -quart pot
- Wash the oranges and lemon thoroughly. Cut the oranges into 1/8-inch slices using a mandoline, removing the seeds as you go. Stack the orange slices and cut them into quarters. Place the oranges into an 8-quart stainless steel pot. Add the lemon zest and juice and the water to the pot, set over high heat and bring to a boil, approximately 10 minutes. Once boiling, reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for 40 minutes or until the fruit is very soft.
- While the fruit is cooking, fill a large pot (at least 12-quart) 3/4 full with water, set over high heat and bring to a boil. Place 10 (8-ounce) jars and rings, canning funnel, ladle, and tongs into the boiling water and make sure the water covers the jars by at least an inch. Boil for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the lids and leave everything in the pot until the marmalade is ready.
- Meanwhile, place a small plate in the freezer. Increase the heat under the orange mixture to return to full boil. Add the sugar and stir the mixture continually, until it reaches 222 to 223 degrees F on a deep-fry or candy thermometer, and darkens in color, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. You may need to adjust the heat in order to prevent boil over. Test the readiness of the marmalade by placing a teaspoon of the mixture onto the chilled plate and allowing it to sit for 30 seconds. Tilt the plate. The mixture should be a soft gel that moves slightly. If mixture is thin and runs easily, it is not ready.
- Remove jars from the water and drain on a clean towel. Place a canning funnel onto the top of 1 of the jars and ladle in the marmalade just to below the bottom of the threads of the jar. Repeat until all of the mixture has been used. The amount of marmalade may vary by 1 to 2 jars. Wipe the rims and threads of the jars with a moist paper towel and top each with a lid. Place a ring on each jar and tighten.
- Return the jars to the pot with boiling water, being certain that they don't touch the bottom of the pot or each other. (If you don't have a jar rack, try a round cake rack, or metal mesh basket. Even a folded kitchen towel on the pot bottom will do in a pinch.) Add additional water if necessary to cover the jars by at least an inch. Boil for 10 minutes. Using canning tongs, carefully remove the jars from the water, place in a cool dry place and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours before opening. Once open, store in the refrigerator. Unopened marmalade will last for up to 6 months.
Jelly Making Supplies
Easy Orange Marinade
This is a great marinade for chicken and fish. It smells like summer when you make it!
- 3 cups orange juice
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes optional
- Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Place the meat you are marinating in a plastic bag and place it in a shallow pan. Pour marinade over meat and marinate at least 2 hours.
If you are going to any of the Orlando attractions check the link below. They have a crowd calculator that gives advise on what parks are best to attend that day. I have used it several times and so far it's been accurate every time.