Wednesday, February 20, 2013

LITTLE POTS OF SUNSHINE









No, Tangelos do not grow in Northeast Ohio. But it is citrus season in sunny places like Florida and California and though I'm a fairly hardcore locavore, I'm not willing to live without these lovely winter-season fruits that add so much zest, aroma, color and nutrition to my life.

For those of us living outside the citrus-belt, one convenient way to connect with growers of high quality citrus is through Local Harvest, an online directory of farmers and producers throughout the country. Local Harvest offers an ideal way to forge a direct connection with growers in areas outside of our immediate foodscape who produce foods that our local community and climate do not.

For the past two years I've purchased Tangelos from a Florida grower who delivers citrus in Northeast Ohio this time of year. I've bought two boxes in the past month and just can't get enough of them. But they are starting to dwindle. So, I decided to make marmalade for the first time as a way of hanging onto that Tangelo flavor a little longer. Talk about gratifying. These little pots of sunshine have been a joy to wake up to on these frigid, gray February mornings. A little butter and slather of marmalade on a beautiful slice of baguette from On the Rise and I'm transported to the south of France almost immediately.


The recipe I used is by Eugenia Bone who writes the Well Preserved blog for the Denver Post and authored a book by the same name on small-batch canning. Small-batches mean realistic quantities of fruit and a modest investment of time and labor. No, you won't produce enough jam to stock your cupboards for the coming year. But honestly, who wants to eat the same jam all year long anyway? Small batches mean more variety in the pantry and you won't be sweating for hours on end in your kitchen preparing ingredients.


If you find yourself, as I did, with a few extra oranges or Tangelos on hand this winter, I encourage you to try making a batch of this marmalade. The recipe yields three half-pints, it only requires 5-6 tangelos and an hour or so in the kitchen. The most time-consuming task was removing the peel (without the pith) from the fruit but the aroma of fresh orange and the sun streaming through my kitchen window was so enjoyable it hardly seemed like a chore.


If there's a way to can sunshine, marmalade is surely the thing.


Tangelo Marmalade Recipe by Eugenia Bone, The Denver Post