bitter-sweet CITRUS marmalade and Menton Lemon Festival

Citrus scented celebration from a frugal inspired origin.
Juiced LEMON leftovers re-purposed into a delightful bitter-sweet citrus marmalade.

Conversely to avoiding the lemon’s pith when making Limoncello...
this marmalade invited the full bodied lemon shell and thrived.

FEBRUARY is a special month on the FRENCH RIVIERA.

There are few certainties Europeans can count on these days.
Therefore, imagine how many look forward to this particular ray of sunshine.

The economic reality that has hit many European countries is distressing to say the least.  
Although France may not be as affected as Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain etc...
it has been feeling the effect of a soon to be lost decade relating to any economic prosperity.

However, true to their ‘Joie de vivre’...
the celebration of local produce has remained a reason to feast.
In this case, the citrus is highlighted...especially their prized ‘Citron de Menton’.

Like clockwork, every February, since the early 30s...
this charming, sleepy town of Menton has flourished from its citrus blossoms.

Nestled on the coast of the French Riviera, some of the most prized lemons are grown.
So much so that it’s honoured it with memorable events, lavish parades and fabulous statues.

This extravagant citrus festival...
la Fête du Citron has entertained crowds from all over the world.
This years happens to be their 79th citrus carnival celebration.
Once more, I've missed out on making it out there this winter.
Well, I should maybe concentrate on joining their 80th...it would be amazing if I could ;o)

For now, my love of citrus will have to be lived vicariously through...
my other love of experimenting in the kitchen.

As I mentioned in a post relating to the origins of my Limoncello liquor recipe...
the ‘Menton’ lemon had left an important trace on my palate.  
Its richness in essential oils and flavour are quite unique to this area’s geographical region.

Although, in North America we prize our sweet ‘Meyer’ lemon...
the ‘Menton’ lemon is equally exceptional.
We can at some point look forward to having it in our supermarkets.  
It seems like they are in the process of getting the ‘authenticity’ approval required to export.  
I can’t wait for these to be added to our grocery carts and recipes ;o)

Now, back to my frugally inspired marmalade.

One morning, I was squeezing lemons for a ginger lemon juice I make in quantity to freeze.
Afterwards, the lemon halves just lay there, seemingly in need of some attention.

Strangely, I had never before given them a second consideration.  
But, for some reason, that morning, I figured I'd have to put them to some use.

First off, I decided to boil the empty lemon halves in order give my home a citrusy scent.
I initially thought, maybe this was enough to relieve my guilt of throwing squeezed lemons.

Then, my mind wondered off towards something sweet.
Hmmm, could this whole, squeezed lemon suit a marmalade?

After all, it had worked wonderfully in my citrus, choco-coco flourless torte.

I figured, I didn't have much to lose.
 I reminded myself on how most of my best recipes have come in the form of last moment ideas.

While this marmalade was in the making...
my home became as aromatic as being in a citrus orchard.  I was in heaven.  
Now, all there was needed was a little patience to test out this concoction of mine.

Once, again, I am sharing what I call a successful experiment.
The re-purposed, empty lemons lent themselves to a wonderfully bitter-sweet delight.

LEMON - orange 
bitter-sweet marmalade

yields 6 mini (125ml) or 3 small (250ml) glass jars
yields 6 cups (750ml)

Note: A high powered blender is absolutely required.

Click HERE for PRINTER version

(American / Metric measures)

. 4 medium lemons (cavity halves)
. 1/2 cup (125ml) Orange (frozen concentrate)
. 2 cups (500ml) filtered water
. 2 cups (440g) granulated sugar

Optional: add 3 Tbsps. of fresh Ginger, grated

Equipment required: A high powered blender

1.  After scrubbing the lemons clean, squeeze out their juices.  Reserve juice for other occasions.  Note: I make many recipes with this juice, however, when rushed, I make frozen cubes.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring to a boil the empty lemon halves.  Simmer on MED-LOW heat for 15 minutes or until the peel gets soft.   Afterwards, strain and cool them for another 30 minutes.
3. With the use of a high-powered blender, blitz together: the lemon halves, water, and orange concentrate until creamy smooth.  
4. Some small lumps will remain, therefore, with a sieve, squeeze through the pulp back into the medium saucepan.   Add and stir in the sugar.  
5. Bring the mix to a boil on MED-HIGH heat and then simmer on MED-LOW for about 1:15hr.  At this point the mix should be reduced into a somewhat thick consistency.
6. Prepare your very clean, hot, sterilized glass jars and ladle the hot mix into them.  Cap the jars immediately and tighten without forcing.  Let them rest in place for 24 hrs. before displacing them into your pantry.  Note: remember, the seals have to be concave to have a successful storage seal.  If this has not happened, I freeze the jars and use it when needed.   Once opened, it should be refrigerated and used within a few weeks time.  This marmalade can store easily for at least 6 months if not more.  Enjoy.

Other, than smearing it on toast, I've since then used this marmalade within a few recipes already...more on that in later posts for sure ;o)

If any of you have had the opportunity to be part of this Lemon festival, I'd love to hear about it.

As well, if any of you make this marmalade and use it into recipes...I'd love to try them out as well.

Wishing you all a sunshiny February day.

Comments or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at:  foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Go HERE for more SWEET creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)
. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.
OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later.