marmalade truths

Marmalade did not win. (shakes fist at the sky) When I was working on my book, my editor asked (more than once) why there wasn’t a marmalade recipe. It was hard to admit to her even though, a few years back, I revealed my deepest preserving secret here. Not only did I not like marmalade, I had never made it successfully. But I felt defeated. Unworthy. As a preserver, I couldn’t live with this failure. So, in January, while traveling through Texas teaching classes for the wonderful Central Market stores. (Three cheers for the fantastic people of Central Market and the welcoming Food52’ers of Austin, Texas!) I taught classes on making the most of the extraordinary fruits available during Central Market’s CITRUS FESTIVAL. Yes, a whole festival of citrus. Four pages of citrus […]

marmalade 1. cathy 0.

Meyer lemon marmalade. Sounds fantastic, right? I don’t know if it’s the marmalade or the day long job of making it, but I’m not a fan. It took a long time to peel the lemons, remove the seeds, chop the pulp, food process the pulp. There were resting periods I hadn’t counted on. I should have read the recipe more carefully, but I just jumped in. Life is a little busy. I’m going in a million directions. But there was this bowl of lemons. And I’ve got lemon curd, and limoncello, and preserved lemons. The only lemon I didn’t have was marmalade, something I’ve promised myself I would make. I chopped and blanched and stirred. I heated it slowly, very slowly, seeking the magic 220° […]

People are cooking from The Practical Pantry

One week ago was my book birthday and wow it’s been a crazy seven days ever since. I’ve stood in the freezing wind at a few of my favorite farmers markets, meeting new readers and greeting old friends. I’ve been interviewed by Bonnie Benwick, Deputy Editor of the Washington Post Food Section. I’ve traveled to Richmond and the beautiful new Southern Seasons store. And today, right now, I’m sitting in Toronto (there are still tickets available for tonight’s event.) This is it. I’m off on my official book tour. Thursday, November 13, I’ll be at the 92nd St. Y, in conversation with the brilliant and funny Charlotte Druckman. Tickets are still available. Won’t you come say hi? Next weekend, I’m in San Francisco, after which […]

a mountain of meyer lemons. limoncello and crema di limoncello

I’ve been working through a glorious box of Meyer lemons from the Lemon Ladies. Every year, I treat myself to a box of lemons from California and their lemons are the most beautiful, floral, bright sunny yellow fruits I’ve ever seen. I made lemon possets, of course, because they’re just about the best dessert in the world. Serve with gingersnaps. I made lemon curd because it is a food of the gods. I’ve toyed with a dozen recipes for shelf stable lemon curd, but I just don’t feel good about putting dairy and eggs in a jar and canning it, even pressure canning, so I put lemon curd in the refrigerator, where it lasts about three months, or in the freezer, where it will keep […]

apricot gelato from the practical pantry

Today, winter came to stay. The wind is blowing and I’m watching leaves leave. The backyard is ankle deep in crackling colorful oak, hickory and dogwood leaves, the trees now stripped bare. The Japanese maples are the last to turn, and the last to let go of their leaves. When we moved in to the house nearly fifteen years ago, this maple at the top of the stairway took my breath away. We constructed the stone wall with the maple in mind, and I paired the squat miniature spruce with the range of colors the tree produces. I adore this laceleaf beauty, all gnarled and structural in the winter when I prune away all the tiny dead branches with miniature clippers. In spring, little bright […]

cherry preserves, straight talk about pectin and a can-it-forward giveaway

Pectin. No Sugar Pectin. Ball. Certo. SureJel. Pomona. Pectin Jaune. Confusing, right? Let’s talk pectin. What follows is strictly my opinion and reflects my own experiences with various commercial pectins. I am not endorsing or dismissing any of these products. They are all effective and useful. Choose the pectin, or no pectin, according to your own expectations and desires. Pectin is necessary to build a gel for preserves, to suspend the fruit in a syrup. All fruit has some pectin, but some fruits have a lot of pectin and others have hardly any. Apples, citrus, gooseberries all have loads of natural pectin, while most stone fruits (cherries, apricots, peaches and plums) do not. Consequently, making apple jam or marmalade that sets up is a relatively […]