Thursday, December 23, 2004

Private Label Marmalade

Now we live in California, which is not like The Land of My Birth (New York City). One way in which we are daily reminded of ths is by looking at the lemon tree in our back yard (another way is by the actual possession of a back yard, but that's another story). Our lemon tree is relatively small, in robust health, and wildly productive. There had been a good deal of discussion about what kind of lemon tree it is, because the lemons produced on it vary in size from garden-variety supermarket lemon size to something closing in on the size of a grapefruit. Further, these lemons are frequently oddly shaped, with folds and tumorous lumps. They are very thick skinned (more than half an inch of peel) and sweet fleshed, and wonderfully fragrant. The Little Old Lady who used to own this house was famed for her lemon meringue pies. A visitor a week or so ago suggested that they were Ponderosa, or near-Ponderosa lemons (I'm flashing back to Lorne Greene here, and showing my age once again).

Regardless of their nametag, I have lemons, and thus have undertaken all manner of lemon-related cooking. Yesterday I made a dozen half-pints of lemon marmalade. Since a friend had commented that his wife has now ordered her fourth copy of PETTY TREASON, and that this seemed to qualify her for a part-time position in my aggressive yet charming marketing staff, I offered to send her a jar of lemon marmalade. Lemons are plentiful; money (as with most writers) a little less so. So I wasted half an hour making up labels for the marmalade: "Miss Tolerance's Best Lemon Marmalade • Sweet • Tart • Not too Bitter." I have decided to send some to various people around the country (as soon as I can find suitable boxes and bubble wrap. Perhaps there is marmalade in your future!


Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Is it possibly a Meyer lemon tree? I know of Meyer lemons only by reputation--they appear here very infrequently. But your description of the taste of your lemons seems to fit.

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Dave Smeds:

Does sound like a Meyer lemon. That's what Daniel Spector said it was at the party.

Speaking of the party, were the lemon bars you served made with lemon juice from the tree's lemons?

I have a deep affection for any lemon-flavored treat. It's always struck me as odd that a favorite flavor comes from a fruit I can't stand to eat in its natural state, while other things, like pineapple, I love to each in their fresh form but absolutely hate as a flavoring.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

Kevin Murphy said they were Ponderosas (at that same party, Dave). Meyers are mild and flavorful, but very thin skinned (Kevin gave me some at our workshop the next week).

As far as the lemon bars: I don't remember any, but I had been cooking and baking for about 36 hours, and my recall is somewhat sketchy.

Nice to see you here, by the by.

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The party was a highlight of my holiday season. Thanks for inviting me.

To think I once thought of you mostly as the SFWA Secretary who sent out the annual thank-you cards to the volunteers. ;)

6:22 PM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

And to think that in the craziness of moving in here, I didn't send out the SFWA Thank You cards this year... Alas. But it was a pleasure to see you here, Dave.

4:43 PM  

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