Sunday, January 27, 2013


To me, nothing feels like home more than a bowl filled with fruit. Back in New York, our fruit bowl contained whatever we craved - apples, mango, kiwifruit, plums - whenever we craved it. But living so close to so many fruit growers has taught me about the many wonders of eating locally, and in season.

Peel a satsuma straight from the farmer's market and you'll find it both sweeter and more tart than any from the grocery store. The meyer lemons are fragrant even from a distance, and the many types of oranges available at the stands are all heavy with juice. 

Try them all. Cara cara oranges from Lone Oak Ranch, page mandarins from Tory Farms, temple oranges from Flying Disc Ranch, oro blanco from Ferry Farms, satsumas from Everything Under the Sun, buddha's hand and etrog from Hamada Farms...

Simple Marmalade

Citrus and its peel are both full of natural pectin, the ingredient that causes jams to gel. Boil your lemons, limes and oranges with your sweetener of choice in a bit of water, and keep cooking and tasting for a few hours. 

Process in jars, or refrigerate containers of it. Once the jam has cooled, it should have gelled nicely. (If not, try again with less water, or continue to cook it. Gel or no, it will be delicious!)

Try it with a bowl of plain yogurt, or spread on sourdough toast. Meyer lemon marmalade is my favorite sandwich spread, and pairs well with savory fillings.

Candied Citrus Peel

Cut the peel of several pieces of citrus. Boil in water for a few minutes and drain. This will help alleviate the bitterness of the pith. Repeat as necessary. In the final boil, add your sweetener of choice to taste. A little salt might help bring out the sweetness without adding more sugar. 

Continue to boil in the sweet water until all the water has evaporated. You should be left with a translucent pile of candied peel, slightly sticky to the touch. Let it dry and store it in an airtight container. 

Candied citrus peel is delicious cut up in cookies, as a topping for a cake, cooked down with a savory entree as a sweet garnish, or straight from the jar.