Notes from Windward: #68
Citron, the Real Thing
Gina describes making a tssty addition to our receipes
In the winter, we enjoy eating oranges, lemons, and limes that are transported in. Since such foods are going to become more expensive as the cost of transportation rises, we look for ways to make the most out them. I have several recipes that call for citrus peel or citron. I enjoy the flavor in many cookies and I like the texture, but I don't think that the commercially prepared citron has a very good flavor, and I wonder about the additives and colorings used.
So, I decided to figure out a way to make it myself. I have several old cookbooks that have recipes for candied citron, and looked for something that would easily separate into pieces.
I soon discovered that the easiest citrus fruits to make citron with are the ones that have the thickest skins, such as oranges. To make the citron, I first peel the orange. Then, I carefully slice the orange zest into thin strips and put it between two layers of waxed paper to dry in a warm place in the kitchen. After a day or two, I put it in a bottle ready to use in recipes.
The rest of the pith I cut into small pieces. I stirred it into a syrup from a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water. I stored this in the fridge until I had a couple quarts, or enough to make a dessert. I left the outer orange peel on some of it for color.
Once a week I would stir it around in the syrup. It took about four months to fill a two quart pan. I cooked it over low heat until it turned slightly translucent. It took about half an hour stirring every few minutes. I strained out as much syrup as I could, spread the pieces on waxed paper covered racks in the dehydrator.
The next day it was dry enough but was STUCK to the paper. So I soaked it off the paper and started again. I added a couple more cups of sugar and cooked it a bit. This time it turned into jelly candy. It makes a good topping for cookies or filling for rolls. In other cookies and cakes I mix it with the wet ingredients, decrease the sugar a bit, and add a little extra flour.
Next time I'll make a syrup with a 2:1 sugar to syrup ratio. After the cooking I will strain off the syrup and let it sit for a couple of hours to get as much syrup as I can. I'll lightly grease the waxed paper and then dehydrate.
The syrup is also useful for a fresh tasting sweet-and-sour sauce, s drizzle on sweet things or a bit to iced tea.
Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 68