Archive for the marmalades Category

Here A Yu, There A Zu, Everywhere a Yuzu (clearly the author lives with toddlers!)

Posted in Fancy Food Show, marmalades with tags , on March 2, 2010 by massapeel

Have you ever experienced this phenomenon:  you’ve never heard of something, and then once you learn of it, you see it everywhere?  For example (and I don’t think that I am unique in this regard), pre-law school, I floated through life relatively peacefully and oblivious to the torts and other legal issues lurking around every corner.  Fast forward to present-day:  I cannot even invite the neighborhood children to delight in the amazing homemade luge run that my husband and friends created down our 1-acre wooded hill of a back yard without joking that to their parents that they are going to have to sign a consent form and release absolving us from any liability in the event of an accident!  Seriously – that luge  is precisely what attorneys would label an “attractive nuisance” (remember that Cardozo opinion?)

OK, so perhaps my and my fellow attorneys’ legal minds which see lawsuits in all daily interactions is a tad extreme.  So, indulge me in a more pedestrian example:  Yuzu.  Although, I can’t in good conscience write yuzu and pedestrian in the same sentence with a straight face!

basket of yuzu fruit

Seriously, though… focusing on the topic du jour…  yuzu is commonly referred to as the Japanese grapefruit.  It slightly resembles a small wrinkly grapefruit in appearance.  According to descriptions that I’ve found on the internet, the yuzu is tart – similar to the grapefruit – but with mandarin orange overtones.  Clearly I have not had the privilege of eating this fruit.  But, I shan’t feel deprived…  apparently, the yuzu is rarely eaten as a straight fruit.  Rather, it’s zest and juice are used in Japanese cooking, similar to the way lemons are used here in the States.  It is a key ingredient of ponzu – the citrus-based soy sauce that I have cooked with on many occasions, but about which I never took the time to educate myself.  (c’mon Larissa — even Emeril has a yuzu ponzu recipe!!!  http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/aspen-2007-yuzu-ponzu).  It is even used as an essence in bath products.  Who knew?  I have had a bottle of Archipelago Botanicals Yuzu Body Wash (http://www.archipelago-usa.com/) sitting in my spare shower for 2 years – did I ever notice the name?  think to look up yuzu?  nope. 

Yakami Orchard's Yuzu Marmalade

So, what was it that got me to wake up and take note of the yuzu fruit?  Yuzu marmalade at the Fancy Food Show.  It was fabulous.  Seriously.  It was perhaps the one marmalade/jam product that I tasted at the show that I thought was as good as – if not, dare I say, better than – Mass A’Peel’s products.  Let’s just say that they are different.  There is absolutely no way that Mass A’Peel will ever be able to produce yuzu marmalade, so kudos to Yakami Orchards of Japan (and WA imports of Illinois for making this delicacy available to the western world).  I am not the only one enamored of this marmalade…  Just a small sampling of those singing the praises of the yuzu are the New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/25/dining/25yuzu.html?_r=2&ref=dining, and Food & Wine:  http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/global-pantry.

I did have an “aha” moment at the Fancy Food Show after tasting this yuzu marmalade…  Among the hundreds of booths hawking their culinary wares, there were a mere dozen or so that I felt were truly amazing and unique.  Unbeknownst to me, there was a display of all those items that had won the “gold medals” in the Summer Fancy Food Show.  Upon looking at those winners, I noticed that many of them were my favorites too!  Soooo….  the fact that I like Mass A’Peel  products is hopefully not merely a function of the fact that I made them, but a sign that they are in fact good.  Perhaps even gold-medal worthy!?!  One can certainly dream…

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it’s a lemon… it’s a tangerine… it’s a meyer lemon!!!

Posted in marmalades with tags , , , , , , on February 7, 2010 by massapeel

Buckle up folks, here goes my first attempt at a post about my actual purpose:  jam-making.  I do so love rambling on about food finds, but the objective of the blog was to document my efforts at making jam and taking it to market.  So, onward! 

juicy Meyer lemons

Wednesday evening saw me in the throes of a new kind of jam session  (technically marmalade, but that just doesn’t sound right – “marmalade session”)!  We’ve been at this now for several months, but seeing as this was to be my first jam-making-related post, I decided to try a new concoction from scratch:  lemon marmalade.  However, when I went to stock up on ingredients, I found not only lemons, but Meyer lemons….  hmmmm…..  I was not exactly sure what a Meyer lemon was, but something told me that it was a shi-shi version of the standard lemon, which fit the profile of Mass A’Peel perfectly.  Thus, I opted for the Meyer lemon! 

What IS a Meyer lemon, you ask?  It is generally thought to be an asian citrus fruit that is essentially a marriage of a lemon and a tangerine:  you have the tart lemon flavor accented by the fresh, sweet, aromatic zest reminiscent of a tangerine.  In appearance, the Meyer lemon looks much more like an orange than a lemon — but boy what a shock to the uninitiated palate!!!  while looking and smelling more orange/tangerine-like, the taste is definitively that of a lemon.  As my husband would say, it’ll make your pucker schmucker! 

the uncut version

The Meyer lemon was named after a USDA “agricultural explorer” (his mission was to collect samples of “new” plant species for the US government) named Frank Meyer, who brought what is now known as the Meyer lemon plant back to the United States from China in 1908.  While present in the US for over 100 years now, the Meyer lemon had a rocky start…  The Meyer lemon varietal that was initially introduced to the US was an asymptomatic carrier of a virus that kills or renders all types of citrus trees useless for fruit production.  In order to preserve the citrus industry as a whole, Meyer lemon trees were destroyed.  It was not until the 1970s that a new strain of the Meyer lemon tree was approved for use, thereby essentially re-introducing the Meyer lemon tree to the general population.  Not long thereafter, the Meyer lemon obtained more wide-spread recognition with the rise of “celebrity chefs” and their documented use of the fruit. 

ready to can

Back to the jam-session…  I cut, sliced and seeded, and yes, the Meyer lemons are amazingly fresh and fragrant!  I added some yummy side-notes — ginger, mint and lemongrass — and began to cook.  Now, for those of you who have never made jam, jelly, preserves, conserves, marmalade, etc…  there is a definite science to the process!!!  How hot to get the concoction?  How long to cook?  When to add sugar?  To pectin or not to pectin?  And if using, when?  I am a good cook, who is still learning all of this science (come on — this should come as no surprise!!!  I went to a liberal-arts college followed by law school…  not a lot of math or science going on there!).  And, to top it off, I forgot my thermometer.  I guesstimated on the times, was nervous that I was cooking the marmalade too hot, too long (this can cause the marmalade to become grainy and/or too thick – more like a paste), feared that I added too little water, etc…  but in the end, the result was amazing!  Perfect.  I am headed out to buy more Meyer lemons.  

Now, if I could only come up with a name for it…  (“Lemon Tree Very Pretty” or “Oh I Wish I Were A Meyer Lemon Marmalade“) — the names of my marmalades are all based on songs…  puns, plays on words, etc…  and one may not get the flavor just from the name, but will need to read the subtext, a la Ben & Jerry’s.  I mean, who would EVER know that Chubby Hubby is malt-flavored ice cream with peanut butter swirl and chocolate covered pretzels???  So, if anyone in the Blogosphere has a campy, creative Meyer lemon name, let’s hear it! 

finished product