Every year when the citrus comes in, we think we'll never be able to get enough of the sweet, tart fruit. Oranges fresh off the tree. Meyer lemon everything. Bruleed grapefruit. But then citrus season keeps on keepin' on, and suddenly we're out of ideas. Folks with fruit trees begin to give away garbage bags full of lemons and oranges, and "free citrus" signs pop up all over the city.
If you're sick of making lemons into lemonade, take some fresh ideas from some of our favorite local restaurants.
Booze It Up. Let's amend the old expression. When life gives you lemons, you should actually probably make Limoncello. Or Orange-cello, or Grapefruit-cello (arancello or pompelmocello, if you wanna get technical.) Using just the citrus fruit of your choosing, a little everclear, and this recipe from Matteo Schiavone at Pomo Pizzeria, you'll be well on your way to boozy citrus glory in a month or two.
Can It. We like to use Crepe Bar's Noble Bread toast as a vehicle for delivering heaping mounds of delicious house-made orange marmalade into our mouths. Slightly spiced with just a bit of cinnamon, Jeff Krauss's is not the bitter, artificially-flavored marmalade of our childhood. Instead, it's a chunky, zesty, and 100% delicious spread that we'd feel absolutely comfortable eating straight from the jar. Choose your citrus and make your own using this recipe, but add a sprinkle of cinnamon for that perfect Crepe Bar touch.
Candy It. Kumquats can be a little intense, flavor-wise, but there's something extra awesome about a bite-sized citrus fruit that can be eaten peel and all. Thank goodness someone invented candied citrus, so we can have our kumquats and eat them too. Take some inspiration from Binks Midtown's Valentine's Day Menu and try placing candied kumquat on top of shortbread or a ginger cookie. Or, follow Pastry Chef Rachel Miller's example and use candied tangelo and rosemary as ingredients in a gorgeous, tangy, herbal cake.
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Dessicate It. Derek Zoolander says that "Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty," but we'd argue that there's nothing more beautiful than a completely dehydrated piece of citrus fruit. Lemon, Orange, and Grapefruit chips are becoming a popular item on restaurant menus - particularly as garnishes on our some of our favorite drinks. Luckily, they're easy to make using just an oven and a smattering of thinly sliced citrus. Culinary Dropout Bartender Lyndsi Hastings-Mundy won the "Most Unique Garnish" award at the Devour Phoenix Bartending competition for her use of dehydrated blood orange in an Earl Grey tea, brown-butter bourbon, and Apple Cider Cocktail.
Preserve It. Preserved lemon is an amazing addition to a variety of dishes, including La Grande Orange's Shredded Kale and Quinoa Salad. We like to add a bit to Moroccan stews or Israeli couscous. A bit tart, a bit sour, and amazingly textured, even a small amount of preserved lemon can add a pop of intriguing flavor to your dishes. And if you've got salt, lemons, and about a month of prep time, you've basically already turned lemons into ... preserved lemons. Try it with other citrus fruits and let us know how it goes.