Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Citron Cooking and Learning With Slow Food

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The Aqua Terra Slow Food convivium held a fun two-hour citron extravaganza at the June Taylor Still-Room in Berkeley.

We Learned
Through the magic of video and speakerphone, we learned all about citrons (esrogs) from the only large commercial grower in the US, John Kirkpatrick.

John grows five varieties of citrons, which have various characteristics such as differences in the peel, number of seeds, and proportion of pulp:

Temoni (originally from Yemin), Buddha's Hand, Halperin, Kivelovitz, Braveman, Chazon Ish
The foam "bedding" keeps the citrons free from blemishes.

We Ate and Drank
Several of us brought the results of our citron cooking experiments, made with citrons received in advance:
  • Preserved citrons - Based on a preserved lemons recipe from the Apple Farm.
  • Citron marmalade - Made with 2 entire fruits
  • Citron candy - Made by June Taylor. Visit the Ferry Building farmer's market soon and you might be able to find a bag of this delicious chewy candy.
  • Hangar One Buddha's Hand vodka kindly donated by St. George Spirits, who call John a "marvelous human being."
  • Candied Citrons and Citron Syrup which I made, simply by putting equal parts sugar and water in a pan with sliced fruit and letting it reduce. But when I left the fruit in the syrup, the syrup ultimately became very bitter. In my first go around when I poured the syrup out right away, it was delicious (especially in a citron-jito with mint!)
  • Citron Curd (like lemon curd) - This was everyone's favorite.
  • Citrons in Sugar, from an 1830 cook book, where slices layered with sugar extract the little juice there is.

Click to see the big Victorian Sponge Cake recipe. Heavenly butteriness.

We Had Fun!

Delicious Citroncello recipe was based on this limoncello recipe.

Where to Get Citrons

After the Sukkot celebration in October, the price of citrons will come down. You can find them at the Monterey Market and Berkeley Bowl in Berkeley, CA as well as various specialty markets around the US (although I'm not sure where).

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