Eastside Road, December 6, 2012—THE LAST TWO AFTERNOONS have been devoted to a remarkable culinary experience: the First Annual (I hope) Yuzumarmar. Let me explain: a couple of weeks ago a friend mentioned she had an awful lot of yuzus; what to do with them? Marmalade, I lost no time in answering.
The yuzu is an exotic citrus fruit, a hybrid of mandarin and, well, some Japanese citrus, must be a sour orange of some kind. It has a delightful fragrance, a thick pebbly rind, lots of seeds, and not that much juice.
Yesterday Donna brought fourteen or fifteen pounds of the fruits over, and she, Lindsey, and I spent the afternoon washing them, cutting them in half, digging out the seeds (I insist the way to do this is with the handle end of a teaspoon, segment by segment; the ladies used forks), juicing them (my job, using our simple reamer), scooping out the flesh, and then julienning the peels.
That was a job. We cut the shells in half again, laid them inside down on the block, and, using a stainless-steel knife, cut the peels into strips no wider than a new half-dollar is thick. Then we combined the juice and the julienned peel, with maybe a third of the reserved pulp but none of the white pith, in our huge stainless-steel stock pot, covered it with water, put in all the seeds which Lindsey'd tied into a cheesecloth bundle, and let it stand overnight.
We finished yesterday's work with Martinis, garnished, of course, with yuzu zest. I have to say this makes a delicious Martini: Old Amsterdam gin and Boissière dry Vermouth, three to one, stirred a hundred times with lots of ice, strained into chilled glasses whose rims have been rubbed with yuzu zest, then garnished with a twist of same.
This morning Alta arrived with lunch fixings: hardboiled eggs to be converted, with good Zaandam mayonnaise and Maille mustard, into Lindsey's favorite sandwich, the egg salad strewn with peppercress. There were green beans dressed with lemon juice and olive oil, and fennel; and we washed it all down with glasses of Prosecco. And then we got to work.
Lindsey supervised the cooking, boiling about five pints of the citrus at a time in the big copper preserving pot with three-quarters as much sugar, cooking it to the right consistency. Alta and Donna prepared the jars and the rings, and I handed people things, and cleaned up a bit, and watched, and made labels.
There was enough for four batches. Two gallons of marmelade! We regretted, a few times, that it was going into such small jars. Finally, though, they were all filled and sealed and labelled, and it was time for Martinis again. Yuzus and marmalade and Martinis: Yuzumarmar. We have to do this again next year.
(Oh yes, dinner tonight. Let's content ourselves with bread and cheese and a nice green salad.)