3.11.2013

Pink Grapefruit- Lemon Marmalade Goodness


When my husband and I moved from Brooklyn back to Oakland in 2005 there were three things that I desperately wanted for our next home: a car, a dog, and a garden. The car came quickly, the dog is still on-hold at the mercy of our landlords, and the garden has changed my life. Not even an overstatement--it has changed our lives to have small urban gardens where we can grow our own food and dig our hands into the soil. (You can read more about my gardening story over on FarmMade.)


From the interest in gardening we became interested in canning. Strawberry jam started our love affair and in hindsight--strawberry jam is the perfect place to begin because it's relatively quick, easy, and forgiving. We moved through several more jams: strawberry-rhubarb, strawberry-raspberry, strawberry-olallieberry, cherry, cherry-plum, plum-vanilla, fig-ginger, and the list continues to grow. At some point, I decided that I didn't just want to make the jam but I wanted to grow, harvest, or gather most of the ingredients too. (No, I have not tried to grow vanilla or ginger. Not yet!)


A few weeks ago a neighbor offered up all her lemons. All her lemons. The good-sized tree in her backyard was producing faster than she could harvest. Of course, we accepted. And within just a few minutes we had nearly three dozen lemons. What does one do with three dozen lemons after giving some away, juicing some, and adding rind to anything imaginable? Marmalade. You finally make marmalade after years of wondering if you were ready. Such a big commitment but the time had come.


We were ready. We chose a pink grapefruit- lemon marmalade recipe from the Blue Chair Jam Cookbook and committed to the three-day process required. Wow. I was certainly relieved we had started our jamming love affair with strawberries instead of lemons. I would have been totally overwhelmed if I'd started jamming with a three-day recipe. (Beginning jammers--start with strawberries or cherries!) Our kitchen was consumed with citrus and sugar and several bowls of rinds, piths, and juices. I admit, it smelled like winter citrus heaven.


We're lucky to have the Blue Chair Fruit booth at our local farmer's market so we have the benefit of asking them all sorts of questions.  (Like, "Why do you use so much sugar in your jams and never use all-fruit pectin? And why are your jams so unbelievably good?".) We also have the benefit of tasting their delicious jams on a regular basis--the Bergamot Marmalade nearly sent me into a food catharsis. Amazing. (If you're a fan of Earl Grey tea and a fan of marmalade you should probably treat yourself to this magical combination. And, don't worry, they did not pay me to say that.)


Once our three-day marmalade fest was over I decided it was time to make my own labels. Something I'd been meaning to do for--oh, I don't know, maybe 7--years since we first started with strawberry jam when we moved back to Oakland. I drew up a simple garland design, took a photo, edited the image in Photoshop, and made these jam labels. Of course, as soon as the labels were stuck to the tops of the jars I wished I'd made them sooner--kind of like the packaging on a handmade gift that took hours of crafting. It's worth the extra time after all that hand-making.


So, dearest marmalade, I'm here to tell the world that I am sold on your citrus goodness. You are fussy and time consuming and demanding... but, my goodness, you are certainly worth it. But don't worry, sweet strawberry-rhubarb, you will always be my first true love and always a favorite. And thankfully, you only take a few hours from fruit-to-jam.

xoxo,
k

10 comments:

  1. OH YUM!!!!! This sounds so good. I have a friend in Phoenix, AZ and have enjoyed her wonderful fresh citrus.... there is nothing like it!!! I want home-made biscuits and marmalade.... could there be anything yummier? Have a good week.

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    1. i'm not sure there is anything better than homemade biscuits and marmalade. maybe just a dash of black tea to complete the dream. we are SO lucky to have winter citrus in our yards in CA!

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  2. last winter we made tons of that lemon-grapefruit marmalade... i adore it. (the full-grapefruit recipe is a fave, too.) this reminds me to make some marmalade before the season is over here, to remind me of florida once we're no longer here!

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    1. yes, yes, yes! take the citrus with you. i love to reach into the cupboard in winter and find the strawberry jam. now i'll reach in the summer for my marmalade.

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  3. yum, that looks incredible!

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    1. it's super good! blue chair jam is divine.

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  4. can't wait to eat mine ;)

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    1. hooray! i want a full report. xo

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  5. Read about your blog in Country Living mag and had to check you out! Love marmalade and it looks DELICIOUS! You are making us East-coasters jealous :-) enjoy!

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    1. thanks so much for visiting here! i'm still so honored i won the country living award. i spent 25 years in NY so i can totally empathize with winter citrus envy. but don't fret, i am jealous of your summer and your autumns too. so much so! (welcome here.)

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Thank you for your comments, friends. I like to think we are creating a dialogue in this space--building a virtual community.