Orange Juice Logistics

My father, a retired US Marine officer, taught this to me, but today I had to relearn it.

Logistics dictates strategy

The city supplies each household with a 90 gallon trash can that is emptied each week. Today, when I filled the trash can to the top with orange rinds, I realized I had not taken into account the logistics of the rind disposal. After thinking about it, in the past, I had always (apparently accidentally) started this project 2-3 days before the scheduled trash collection day. I would fill the trash can about 3/4 full, it would get emptied and then I’d again 3/4 fill it before finishing. This year, I started juicing oranges a few hours AFTER the trash was collected.

Fortunately, it’s only a minor logistics “oops” and not a real problem. 🙂

14 Gallons

Fourteen US gallons of orange juice is how much my wife and I juiced today. A friend brought over an empty chest freezer, so I can fill that one up without having to worry about overloading the regular freezer. We filled jars until the chest freezer was full and when the jars are finally frozen, we can move them to the regular freezer and keep going.

We have given away 30-40 pounds of oranges to our neighbors, and we already have 22 gallons of orange juice, however, the tree is not even half picked.

Our older dog was begging while I was juicing, so I put some pulp from the strainer into her bowl. She gobbled up (down?) the pulp, then she picked up an orange from the box and ate it, peel and all. I never knew she eats oranges, but now that I know, I understand why I rarely see oranges laying on the ground.

Probably to her disappointment, I have to be careful that I don’t give her too much of the pulp. While we have a dog door and tile floors throughout the house, high speed peristalsis and slow paws don’t go together in a good way.

Orange Freezer

It’s citrus season here in the desert and my wife and I are busy plucking oranges from the tree. We will get a couple of boxes, each about 65 pounds/30kg, of oranges and then juice them. Then we pick more oranges, and repeat the process.

We used to use a little Phillips brand juicer that really was designed to make a glass, or two, of juice per day, not boxes and boxes of oranges at a time. That it survived years of this misuse is absolutely amazing. I still use it when I want to make juice from a few pieces of citrus.

Last year, I bought a *HEAVY DUTY* Hamilton Beach HCJ967 citrus juicer. This is a 30 pound (13kg) monster of a machine that is designed for this kind of use. After 3 hours of operation, it is still cool to the touch. It wasn’t cheap when I bought it, and after just looking at the current price of the juicer, the price has gone up, or I received a large discount, or, most likely, both happened.

If too much liquid is placed into the freezer at one time, the freezer can’t remove the heat fast enough and the freezer’s inside temperature will warm up to the point where the other frozen foods will partially thaw. So, now we are limited by the freezer and not the juicer.

So far, I have 9 gallons of orange juice in the freezer and I’ve given away 3 gallons of it to my wife’s friend/banjo teacher. His father is 90 years old and as the banjo teacher puts it, “Orange juice makes his world go around”. Since we will be moving soon, they will get even more of the orange juice.

Everyone in my extended family has lived into their 90s and even early 100s. Except for the last couple of years of my mother’s life, all had perfectly intact mental capabilities until their last few weeks on earth. Even as a young child, I was fascinated when I would hear them talk of “their times” and this is even more so now that I’m older. When I’m around someone that age and they are still “mentally alive”, it’s as if I’m in the world’s most wonderful library. And, when they die, it’s as if that library has burned down.

Maybe I can trade some orange juice for time to talk with the banjo teacher’s father. 🙂

Oranges 2021

It’s orange (tree) season and I’ve picked 7 boxes worth of oranges. Each box weighs around 70 pounds/30Kg and I’m guessing there are two more boxes of oranges that I can reach with the ladders and fruit pickers.

Juicing is going a bit more slowly as I don’t want to put too much warm juice into the freezer at one time and risk thawing the other food in the freezer.

I should be done with this project by Sunday afternoon and then I can get back to the landscaping while it’s still nice outside. Unlike other parts of the country, it’s been in the 75F/23C range here so now is the time to take care of landscaping so that the plants have a chance to establish themselves before the outside temperatures climb to “broil”.

Oranges — 2020

No, this is not a post about USA politics.

I am done with the late January to mid February orange picking project.  This year I bought a new orange juicer, a Hamilton Beach commercial one, to replace my greatly abused, but valiant, Phillips brand juicer.

The Phillips juicer was probably designed for making a glass or two of orange juice each morning and not for, year after year, juicing 700 pounds/300kg of oranges over 3 or 4 days.  Despite the abuse, it has worked flawlessly and if Phillips still makes it, I’d recommend it for even a large family of orange juice drinkers.

I have a *HUGE* freezer that is now full of enough glass jars of frozen orange juice to last my wife and I for the next 12 months.

I have also given away a bunch of oranges, probably 150 pounds/70kg, and eaten 20-25 pounds/10kg of oranges myself.  If I eat any more oranges, my normally gray hair will turn orange.

What I find amazing is that the top 1/3 of the tree (the unreachable oranges) is still full of oranges. I guess those will be for our two orange loving dogs.  The entire time I was picking the oranges, the two dogs were carefully watching me and whenever one dropped to the ground, they ran and grabbed it…eating it as they were running from the other dog.



30,000 Pounds of Oranges

Well, not really 30,000 pounds, although it sure does feel like it.

So far, I have removed 642 pounds of oranges from my orange tree.  This is everything I can reach using a 4 foot, 6 foot and 8 foot step ladders AND a fruit picker on a 20 foot pole.  I’m going to guess there are still 200 pounds of unreachable oranges on the tree.

If you haven’t seen an fruit picker before, here is a picture of one from the Ace Hardware site.    fruitpicker


Unless I have no choice, I would rather pay a tiny bit more and buy from a local store (Ace Hardware in this case) instead of having to wait a few days for it (whatever “it” might be) to be shipped to me.

Also, it’s nice to be greeted (by name) by a human when I walk into a store instead of being greeted by OMM 0000 when I log into a website.

Back to the juicing operation.

I’ve asked ET (evil twin) if she would like some juice but I haven’t heard back from her yet.   She “hates” oranges, but she likes orange juice (strange “girl”).  Hopefully she has room in her freezer for a few 1/2 gallon jars of juice.


By the way, the title is a reference to the Harry Chapin song, 30,000 Pounds of Bananas.    The song is somewhat whimsical.  Not whimsical is the real life incident that inspired this song.  On 18 March, 1965, Gene Sesky was driving a truck carrying 30,000 pounds of bananas to a warehouse in Scranton, Pa.  While descending a short hill, the truck’s brakes failed.  Sixteen people were injured and Mr Sesky was killed.

The newspaper story.


I’ve juiced over 500 pounds (225kg) of oranges and there are 27 gallons  (100 liters) of orange juice in the freezer.   I have also given several gallons of juice to my neighbors and mother in law.  I’ve also given away about 100 pounds of oranges to the staff at the local hardware store and to someone at the school where my wife teaches.

I still have more oranges to pick from the tree.  I’m probably 90% done with this project, so there is a (orange colored) light at the end of the tunnel.