Friday, March 13, 2009

We Made Marmalade!

Last Saturday the ladies of the Laurel District canning group got together for our first project: making and canning orange marmalade from foraged citrus.

We also preserved some lemons, Moroccan-style, for good measure. I brought along Claudia Roden cookbooks and we discovered recipes for chicken tagine with green olives and preserved lemon; sweet potato salad with preserved lemon, and artichokes stewed with the salty fruit.

Stella Lamb hosted us in her lovely, well-stocked kitchen. We divided ourselves into three teams, as there were eight of us, making three pots of marmalade: two bitter, with peel, and one sweet, without.

The afternoon was busy and entertaining; several of us remarked on how this activity reminded us of our grandmothers and mothers long ago, putting up preserves and socializing.

Joann Maggiore and MJ Barnes contributed equipment and canning know-how; Molly Stouffer brought scones and dashed out for more pectin; Sally went and got us more knives; Betsy and Katherine pitched in with peeling, chopping and stirring. People who contributed materials included Meg on Pampas and Dina Bedini.

We produced at least thirty jars of orange-lemon marmalade, plus several jars of preserved lemon which are curing in our kitchens right now. This project was lots of fun for me and the other women - we learned how to put up fruit, and we built ties to our neighbors.

There's talk of a sauerkraut party - I am not able to organize it myself at this time, but anybody who wants to move the project forward, feel free. We need a location and our sauerkraut teacher, Helayne, will discuss scheduling.

Thanks everybody for helping us make marmalade!

My preserved lemons aren't ready yet, but I'm going to adapt the recipe using regular Meyer lemons from our abundant crop; I'll also put it in the slow cooker - America's answer to the tagine. Note that any traditional tagine recipe works in a slow cooker.

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