bittersweet orange to clear the taste from our mouths

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And what better way to celebrate two more short days of bitter rule than a pot of homemade bitter orange marmalade?

dscf3430After two days of chopping, juicing, stirring, stickysugaring, dicing, scraping, squeezing gloopy natural pectin from orange seeds, and playing with napalm ooze, the two batches of citrus marmalade are finished: dark, complex Seville Orange and Meyer Lemon, and light, bright Kumquat and Satsuma.

I had a very special request for marmalades last month, so I brought home citrus from Berkeley Bowl.  The poor things languished while I had my car incident in San Francisco, and the struggle to get caught up afterward.  Then, as luck would have it, I spied some perfect kumquats at Market of Choice the other day, looking much better than the moldy old ones at Berkeley Bowl (?!? the local deities will forgive me), so I suddenly had twice the work.  This is my life.  I complain.  But still I don’t change.  Can’t change?  Won’t change.  Yet.

Anyway, I don’t have anything fascinating to report, other than it takes forever and is a giant pain in the a$$.  Making the pectin from the big goober ball of orange seeds and membranes was kind of cool.  I had never made pectin before.  You boil the seeds in cheesecloth, then squeeze out the jell they form into your fruit.  The marmalades set up beautifully.

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The recipes I used were slight adaptations of David Lebovitz’s Seville Orange Marmalade, and the Ball Blue Book’s Kumquat Marmalade.  The kumquat recipe is much sweeter and less complex than the Seville orange, and it’s not just the difference in recipes.  Lebovitz’s cooks much longer, probably twice the time.

But if you think about the fruit, it also makes sense.

Kumquats are kind of one-dimensional.  I think I’d mix them with Sevilles if I ever make marmalade again.  Which I probably won’t.  I actually have a blister on my chopping finger.  A blister!  Look at those ragged cuticles!  Woe is me!  Woe!

All right, fine; don’t feel sorry for me.  I’m going to go eat some marmalade and think about sweeter times ahead.

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