ASK THE KITCHEN SCIENTIST

To submit a question to the Kitchen Scientist email

 

10-5-03: I am hunting a recipe to fix and make jam and/or fruit out of CITRON.
Thank you. Chris - Brunner, Ontario.


TARA'S ANSWER:

Thank's for the question, Chris.
Before we delve into recipes, let's learn about the
citron.
     Like its name implies, the citron is a member of
the citrus family which also includes oranges, limes,
lemons, and grapefruits. It's larger than a lemon and
has an unusually thick, glossy skin. In fact, the skin
or peel can make up most of the fruit's weight.
     The citron is an ancient fruit and is thought to
have originated in China thousands of years ago. It
migrated to Europe with Alexander the Great in the
third century B.C. It wasn't until the 1600's that it
finally made it to the West. Historians believe the
Spaniards brought the fruit with them when they landed
in Florida. Even then, it was treated more as a spice
and as an ornamental plant, than as a food source.
     Still today, the whole fruit is seldom used as
food or eaten without being cooked because its pulp is
extremely sour. The fruit gives very little juice.
But, what it does give can be used to flavor
carbonated sodas or as a substitute for lemon juice.
However, the most important part of the fruit is the
peel. It's usually candied and used in pastries,
fruitcakes, jams and preserves.
     There are a number of different varieties of
citron. A small amount of the Corsican variety is
grown in the United States mainly in California. Some
citron is also grown in Florida. The exceptionally
fragrant fingered citron, also called Buddha's Hand or
Buddha's Fingers, is popular in China and resembles a
yellow octopus. It is used as temple offerings and is
also candied. The Etrog, a smaller sized citron, is
the leading variety used in Israel for the Feast of
the Tabernacles ritual. 
     Since the citron is a citrus fruit, it should be
treated like other citrus. Simply substitute it for
lemons or limes in recipes pertaining to jams,
jellies, or preserves.
The recipe that follows was taken from  Jewish Cooking
for Pleasure by Molly Lyons Bar-David.

CITRON JAM

1 citron or etrog
1 orange
sugar
water
1. Thoroughly wash and citron and orange and cut both
in half lengthwise. Then slice each half very thinly
and remove seeds. Soak the fruit overnight.
2. Next, pour the water off the fruit. Add fresh
water, enough to cover the fruit. Bring to a boil.
Change water again and bring to a boil once more. Let
the mixture cool and then pour off all water.
3. Weight the fruit (with a scale) and add an equal
weight of white sugar. (For example, if the fruit
weighs four ounces, then add four ounces of sugar. You
can also measure the fruit in a measuring cup and then
add an equal volume of sugar. For example, if the
fruit equals one half cup, add one half cup of white
sugar.)
4. Cook over low heat for about 45 minutes until the
jam begins to jell.
                                       

Candied Citron Peel

(This recipe will work for almost any citrus,
including oranges, lemons, and limes).
2 citrons, washed and peeled with bitter, white pith
removed
sugar syrup
Peel from one orange, white pith removed (optional)
cinnamon stick (optional)
1 teaspoon cloves (optional)
1. Cut the citron peel (and orange peel) into narrow
strips simmer in boiling water until they're tender.
Remove from water and place in a bowl and set aside. 

2. In a separate saucepan, prepare a sugar syrup by
combining one cup each water and white sugar.  Add
cinnamon stick and cloves, if desired. Simmer over
medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar has
dissolved.
3. Add the peels to the syrup and simmer until they
are completely translucent. Drain, cool, and store in
the refrigerator.

CITRON TRIVIA


* In Judaism, the citron is thought to be the
forbidden Fruit of Knowledge eaten by Adam and Eve in
the book of Genesis.