Citrus perks up a dreary season

Meyer lemon and blood orange marmalade

When those of us who live in the northern reaches of the Northern Hemisphere are facing the coldest weather of the year, there is one bright spot: citrus season is beginning. Even though you can find some citrus year round,  the fresh flavors of blood oranges, Meyer lemons, pomelos, cara cara oranges, and pink grapefruit are only around for a short time and provide cheer in an otherwise bleak season. Food preserving guru Cathy Barrow shows us how to make the most of these fabulous citrus fruits.

Preserving these fruits is part of a long tradition that Barrow continues. "When sailing ships returned to northern climates, they carried in their holds citrus from the south. Clever cooks captured the flavors by drying, candying, salting and jamming. I do the same, centuries later," she says. Barrow provides advice on how to candy citrus peel and provides a tip for saving the sugar syrup in which the peels are candied. You can add the syrup cocktails, brush it on baked goods or use it to baste meats headed to the barbecue.

Barrow also tells us how to preserve lemons in salt and how to make Lemon Squash, which is an old recipe, named for an Indian concentrate of fruit juices. Intensely flavored with lemon oil, zest and juice, it's a concentrate that can be used to make exceptional lemonade. In addition to the citrus described above, the article also provides tips on how to use more exotic fruit like Buddha's hand, yuzu, and kumquats can be pickled. As Barrow notes, "Citrus likes savory or sweet, and the opportunities to preserve are numerous."

Photo of  Meyer lemon and blood orange marmalade from A Good Appetite at The New York Times by Melissa Clark

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