Narsai David is the KCBS Food and Wine Editor. He has been a successful restaurateur, chef, TV host, and columnist in the Bay Area spanning four decades. You can hear him Saturdays at 10:53am, 12:53pm and 4:53pm, and at 2:53am Sunday on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.
Narsai David Food Report:
SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— California’s citrus industry got going just in time for the Gold Rush. In the 1840s, Los Angeles was the site of the first commercial citrus farm and when the 1849 rush hit, those miners really needed all that vitamin C they could get from the oranges.
It’s fascinating to see the variety of citrus fruit you can get on the market these days. Those exotic Bergamot oranges don’t have much to eat, but the rind produces Bergamot oil that can be used as the fragrance for Earl Grey tea.
You’ll also find tangerines of every variety including a Japanese kind called the Dekopon, which only arrived in California a few years ago. Locally, this type is called the sumo citrus.
The rind really comes off easily and is thick enough and aromatic enough to use for my marmalade recipe. You can really use any kind of citrus fruit’s rind though.
(Orange, Grapfruit, Lemon, Lime)
Wash whole fruit under running water. Cut away stem and any trademarks on the skin. Cut fruit in half and squeeze out the juice. Reserve the juice. Cut the hollowed out shells in half again. Put the shells in a pot, cover with a lot of water, bring to a boil and simmer until tender. Drain in a colander and discard the liquid. When cool, discard all the tough interior membranes. If you are blending different fruits, keep the rinds separate at this pint, as the cooking time varies. (Orange rinds may be tender in 20 minutes. Grapefruit may take 25 minutes. Firm lemons and limes take up to 30 minutes.) You may now slice the rind thinly, or grind through the chili plate of a meat grinder or chop in a food processor as you desire. Combine the rind and the juice in a measuring cup. Add the same volume of sugar as the combined volume of fruit juice and rind. Cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently until it almost jells, generally about 10 to 15 minutes. There is so much pectin in the citrus that it tends to stiffen up a bit in the jar as it cools.
NOTE: A blend of different citrus fruits such as orange and lemon make a very nice marmalade. A most appealing marmalade is made with pink grapefruit, which gives a golden, pink color and a delicious taste to it. Meyer lemons make an exceptional marmalade with their elegant floral aroma. Finally blood oranges create the most unusual rich color for marmalade.