Wednesday, February 6, 2013

salty, sweet, sour, and bitter

 I was given a brown grocery bag loaded with citrus from a friend of a friends backyard in Palo Alto. I decided to zest the tops and bottoms for citrus salt and then slice the centers for lemon marmalade.

Citrus Salt!
Inspiration for the citrus salt came a few years back with this article on how to make fragrant salt and then my friend Emily Katz recently made citrus salt and had me thinking this would be the perfect way to use up the extra lemon zest with minimal effort. Voila!

I used a super fine zester to zest the lemon ends into a pint mason jar and when I remembered I added an equal amount of salt to the zest and just alternated between a layer of salt with a layer of zest until all of my lemons ends were zested. I screwed the lid on and shook the salt and lemon zest mix to release the oil into the salt instead of pulsing it in a machine. I ended up with about a 1/2 cup of fine lemon zest and added1/2 cup of sea salt. Of course you can use more or less zest depending on personal taste. I put the salt mixture on parchment paper atop a drying rack on a small stool and let sit and dry in the sun over a few days until the zest was dry and crumbled when pinched. Store it in an air tight jar and should keep for a few months+.

I don't really use salt to flavor my food on a daily basis and mostly use it in baking so this batch may find itself atop homemade caramels.

Lemon Marmalade
I sliced the lemons (minus the ends zested and trimmed ends) into thick rounds about a 1/4 inch thick and tossed them into the pot. I covered the lemon slices in sugar (I use unrefined organic cane sugar), a thick coating, and then placed a layer of parchment between the lid and pot to avoid any oxidation with the metal rim and wrapped it up in a dishtowel before leaving it to sit on the counter until the work week passed and the weekend came. I added enough water to cover the fruit plus another inch and brought it to a boil and then simmered the lemon, sugar, water mixture for about 2 1/2 hours. I added a little more sugar to cut the bitterness from the pithy white part.

I had a lot of lemon that led to this rustic recipe and now I'm itching to make grapefruit marmalade. I just made this "recipe" up as I went along, but I did a little searching and found this lemon marmalade recipe that looks like a more measured version of what I made and it's British and marmalade always makes me think of the Brits so they've gotta do it well, right?

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