On Sunday, 26 April, the third Forage Oakland public event was held, which once again took place at Scott’s Temescal home. Scott was kind enough to open his home to about 25 eager fruit mongers, and here is what the day’s events were like:
1. An introduction of Forage Oakland, for those who don’t know the project very well; guests arrive, and Jan, one of the guest bring along beautiful meyer lemons, which feature prominently in the day’s events.
2. Chatting with the neighbors, etc.
3. Iso gives a demonstration on how to make limoncello using Jan’s meyer lemons
4. Stacie gives a candied meyer lemon peel demonstration with said meyer lemons. Please visit this photo album for the illustrated, step-by-step recap.
5. Lemonade is make with the juice of the meyer lemons
6. We gather a crew and walk two houses east to harvest two lemon trees and an orange tree in the backyard
Meyer lemon: blanch 3 times total and simmer on the 3rd until knife tender
Valencia/navel oranges,mandarins, and tangerines: blanch 3 times total and simmer on the 3rd until knife tender
Grapefruit and blood oranges: blanch 4 times total and simmer on the 4th until knife tender
Blanching: place citrus cups in a pot and cover with cold water (just enough to cover peel) and bring to a boil, strain water well and start process over again with cold water.
On the last blanch, bring to a boil, but do not strain the water, reduce the heat to simmer and continue to cook the cups until knife tender. Once knife tender, strain well and let cool.
Once cool, scoop the inner pith with a spoon and remove the membrane inside where the stem attaches to outside. Do not remove too much of the pith. The pith is what allows the candy peels to have a nice soft texture.
Cut peel into nice long strips.
Once you have your citrus strips ready to go, make your simple syrup.
Simple syrup is 2 parts sugar to 1 part water, put this all into the pot, stir, and heat making sure that the sugar is completely dissolved. Once the sugar is dissolved, add peel. You should make enough so that the peel strips will be covered in the pot and can float around somewhat freely. If the pot is overcrowded, the peels will candy unevenly—in this case it is better to get a second pot. Bring the syrup to a simmer and do not stir—stirring may cause the sugar syrup to crystallize. The peel should stay at a simmer, do not let boil too rapidly.
Cook until just translucent. When the peel is nearly done, the syrup bubbles will be quite small “champagne bubbles”, once you’re there check for translucency and taste to see if peel is fully candied. Be sure not to overcook Meyer lemon, it caramelizes easily.
Once peels are translucent, you can lay them out to dry on cooling rack that has been placed on a cookie sheet covered in parchment or wax paper. Using a slotted spoon, lift peels out of the syrup letting as much syrup drain off as you can and spread them on the cooling rack – try to spread them out evenly in a single layer so they will dry evenly (use as many cooling racks as needed for this).
Dry peels overnight or until they feel slightly tacky to the touch. Coat them in granulated sugar (sifting off the excess) and serve. They can also be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one year.
The leftover syrup can also be saved and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Use to sweeten lemonade, cocktails, whatever…