Just as the earth is freezing deeper, and the chill in my bones is penetrating as far there are a few states in the country that is not bundled up and shivering. The southern portion of the country frosts and headlines scream of the global warming is now supplying us with an abundance citrus fruits. Lemons, limes and grapefruit might be the ubiquitous attention grabbers but there are many other possibilities as well. Myer lemons have a low acidity and offer a lemony-orange taste. Buddha’s hand is a variety that has no juicing qualities but zests a grapefruity-lemon note into a dish. There are key lime, kefir lime, sweet lime all waiting to be juiced into something…please. Of course, one cannot overlook the blood orange. Offered to us during the frigid days of winter this bastion of color delivers a sour orange taste that enlivens any dish – though it seems naturally paired to fennel.
So, forget that oranges are to juices; grapefruits need a sprinkle of sugar or limes are relegated to Margaritas the winter doldrums requires extreme measures.
Grapefruit and Kiwi Salsa - yields approx. 4 cups
1Grapefruit - juiced
1 small Red Onion - diced
2” finger of Ginger - peeled and finely diced
4 Kiwi fruit - under ripe, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 small Papaya - peeled and cut into small cubes
1 Lime - juiced
1/4 cup Raspberry Vinegar
4 Spring Onions - diced
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons of dry Mustard
Salt and white pepper to taste
Set the red onion in the lime and grapefruit juices for 15 minutes along with the ginger. Gently combine all the ingredients together, and let sit a half hour before serving.
Meyer Lemon and Lavender Cello
12 Meyer lemons (about 3 pounds)
1/2 pound kumquats
1/8 teaspoon lavender – slightly bruised
1.75 ml pure grain alcohol
4 cups sugar
2 liters bottled water
Wash the lemons and kumquats under hot water. Carefully remove the zest from the Meyer lemons. You do not want there to be too much pith (the white pulp) for it will cast a bitter flavor into the cello. In a 3 liter jar add the lemon zest, the kumquats, lavender and alcohol. Cover with a tight fitting lid. Let the mixture sit for 10 days in a cool dark spot.
After 10 days strain the alcohol through a fine mesh strainer lined with a clean coffee filter.
In a 4-quart saucepan bring the sugar and water to the boil, and let it boil for five minutes. Remove from the heat allow the sugar solution to cool completely.
Combine the alcohol and sugar solution together, and store in clean glass jars. Let it cure a few days before serving. (You can make traditional lemon cello by removing the kumquat and lavender for the recipe).