So, last weekend was our last with Panda still in Africa, so Puppersmith-Jones and I decided to have a canning and candy-making extravaganza. The marshmallows are excellent, the caramels… not so much. They ended up kind of rock hard. They melt – eventually – in your mouth, and the flavor is quite nice, but I think I need to either a) more closely monitor the temperature or b) not cook them quite so long. But that’s not why I’m writing tonight. Rather, its because I “discovered” a new (to me) type of lemon, and when life deals you Meyer lemons, you make lemon curd.
First off, thanks to Food In Jars for first alerting me to the deliciousness of the Meyer Lemon. Second, thanks to DCist for alerting me to the fact that Whole Foods had them. So, I set off to make and can my Panda some delicious curd with which I can only imagine she’ll make some sort of wonderful dessert (possibly a cake? our cake status has been alarmingly “without cake” since she left, and she has said a few times something about how excited she is to get back into our kitchen… I hope that’s not just because she knows I’ve been eating hot pockets…). So, anyhow, rather than stick with the likely sage advice of Food in Jars (see link above), I dug into my other canning recipe book, the rather brilliantly organized and gorgeously graphic-designed Put ’em Up. Lessons learned:
- Meyer lemons are ridiculously amazing. I never thought I’d say this about a particular type of lemon, but here I am doing it. As soon as I started zesting them, I realized how special what I had on my hands was, so I went ahead and zested them all, keeping the rest of the zest for another batch of orange marmalade I ended up making later in the weekend (see below).
- This stuff is pretty ridiculously easy to make – and quick! Which means I’m happy to make it any time we need more for whatever purpose, though obviously the Meyer lemons will only be available for a limited time…
- The double-boiler method prescribed by Ms. Vinton (is it Brooks Vinton? There’s no hyphen, which makes me think Brooks is either a middle or maiden name, but who knows? Its really neither here nor there anyway) is a little tough with the tiny doubly boiler we have. I don’t think Ms. Food in Jars uses a double boiler though, so I imagine I’ll just go with the enamel-coated cast-iron next time, particularly if I’m making a double batch, as I did this time. I ended up splitting it up into three or four mini-batches and then recombining it all at the end (after the straining). Probably not the best method, certainly not the most efficient.
- Speaking of differences between the directions – Put ’em Up suggests this stuff’ll keep in the jars for up to a year. Food in Jars suggests more like 2 months, which makes better intuitive sense to me, given the eggs involved… I doubt it’ll go uneaten long enough anyway, to be honest though.
- Did I mention how delicious this stuff is? Seriously. I sat there licking the bowl clean while I was waiting for my jars to process. I also ended up with about half of an 8 oz. jar left over (after the jars that went into the canner) that went straight to the fridge (headspace thing) that I’ve managed to keep myself away from until Panda gets home so she can have a taste herself, but I’m telling you, it was tough.
So, that’s Meyer lemon curd. I was planning to write another post about my attempt at an Orange-Prosecco Marmalade (FYI, this is what happened to the other 6 or so lemons-worth of zest), but there’s probably not enough to write a whole ‘nother post about it, so here’s the run-down:
- I appear to have problems judging when my orange marmalade is going to set. This happened with the first batch as well, if you’ve been reading along… this is important for two reasons: a) I think both are probably a little too firm, and b) although I tried to wait until just before gel for the addition of the prosecco (lesson learned on the first attempt), I still think it went in too early. There’s no bubbly-ness, either in flavor or texture. Shame.
- Speaking of which, I was using an estimate of 24 minutes for that final cook-down of fruit, rind, and sugar to go from soup to marmalade. I added all that zest after about 6 minutes. Probably should have waited – I think it, too, might be wasted in terms of the flavor.
- Still, its a pretty tasty marmalade, one I won’t have a problem eating on my biscuits in the morning. Or, for that matter, possibly mixing with a bit of scotch and chocolate bitters, as apparently a local restaurant does for one of its specialty cocktails (I was intrigued, to say the least – they use a fig marmalade in another one, and an unspecified chutney in yet another). Possibly something to try at our upcoming New Year’s Eve shindig?
And that, I think, is all I’ve got for tonight. Three more sleeps until the Panda gets home, and two more sleeps ’til my mom, brother, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew come up to spend the holidays with us. I also got to have a pretty satisfying snow-shoveling adventure this evening. And I’m already off work until the 27th. Which is all to say that I’m in a pretty great mood tonight. Now to heat up those hot pockets and finally feed myself…