Lady Marmalade I am not but I do enjoy a good citrusy hit on my toast early in the morning! So while wandering through my favorite food sites, I came upon David Lebovitz’s Bergamot Marmalade and drooled appropriately. Of course, living in rural-ish New England doesn’t make easy access to exotic citrus, so I had turned my frown into the decision to find some sour oranges and give it a shot with those. Shortly after I read David’s recipe, while dreams of bergamots still tauntingly danced in my head, I decided to hop a plane and shoot on out to Seattle to see he who shall remain nameless for the time being.  Cross-coast love, ain’t it grand?

We wined and dined and cooked together for the whole weekend, one of life’s singular pleasures if I may say so, wandered through Pike’s Place market where I bought some Hawaiian sea salt that will feature in a later post, and eventually made our way through this tiny produce stand in his neighborhood.  The first time we walked in it was with purpose, grabbing tomatoes and avocados for lunch, and I almost didn’t notice the glowing yellow meyer lemons piled in one of the corner stands.

Almost.

I walked past after a few good sniffs of those sunshine peels, desperately telling myself that there was no way citrus would survive a transcontinental flight and what the heck would I do with that many meyer lemons? And thus off we went to have our avocado salad, nary a lemon in hand. But I got to thinking, like you do when food borders on an obsession, that if I packed them carefully I could probably take a couple of pounds of them home with me. And while I sat there internally debating whether it would be worth the hassle, my dear he reminded me of the bergamot marmalade I had gushed over not too long before.

One more quick trip and amid the sad goodbyes and hugs was my rollerbag stuffed to the gills with some clothes, my nifty new spices and two pounds of Citrus × meyeri.

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Aren’t they beautiful?

Little round blots of sunshine sitting on my counter and reminding me of the decidedly not-rainy Seattle weather I had just experienced, it makes me so happy! Surprisingly, they survived with only a few dents and dings to speak of, and just perfect for making a nice tart marmalade.

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And so I chopped and I chopped, pulling lemon seeds out for hopeful sprouting, chopped and chopped and chopped and if anybody has a better idea than chopping these dang things up with a sharp knife let me know, OK? I don’t own a food processor at the moment, but this right here made me half-wish I did because that would be so much easier.  Though with my luck I’d end up with lemon mush and not marmalade.  And then I stirred and I watched as it bubbled and sent this heavenly smell of bright citrus sweetness into my apartment and finally, in the end I was left with two jars of the most amazingly tart preserve.

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One jar I gave as a gift to a wonderful lady who let me spend the weekend crashing at her Boston apartment, and the other is sitting happily in my fridge, brightening up the top shelf considerably.  It’s delightful on wheat toast, bizarrely good on wilted spinach, totally delicious in greek yogurt and with every bite I get to remember our Seattle food adventures with a huge smile on my face.

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