Creamy Meyer Lemon & Orange Citrus ‘Butter’

by Cynthe on September 17, 2009

Creamy Citrus 'Butter' (Crystallized Meyer Lemon-Orange Syrup)

Creamy Citrus ‘Butter’ (Crystallized Meyer Lemon-Orange Syrup)

~ Am planning to make candied citrus peels & slices for the holidays, so we should have a small supply of Meyer Lemon & Orange Citrus Syrup and/or Butter. Let us know if you’re interested and we’ll keep some for you!

Meyer Lemon & Orange Citrus Butter *Out-of-Stock*
8oz~$12 ea, 4oz~$7ea, 2oz~$5 Gift Basket Sampler Jars

THIS HAS BEEN an experimental year of erratic culinary explorations & discoveries. I’ve had an interest in cooking for 50 years!!! Ever since I was a child working with our patient cook Manu, in Lahore, (West) Pakistan. My gourmet culinary forays as a teen exhibited maturing skills. Though a VERY communicative person (some think excessively so) ~ I never planned on or even thought of becoming a food blogger…

Life presents circumstances and opportunities for us to pursue…or not. FigsWithBri is that for me. After my daughter-in-law Briana died last October (shortly before her 32nd birthday), Bri’s global FWB food blogging community mourned with us, offering their sweet support and kind words as a balm for a profound loss we had to bear, but will never forget.

Bri poured herself into this blog from JULY 2007 until the Spring of 2008, when she became too ill to cook or to write. She assembled an impressive body of work, gathered enthusiasts from near-and-far, and seemed to have ‘found her calling.’ All of us thought she was on her way to something special. Well, she was. But it wasn’t to be here…with the rest of us.

After the piercing pain from the hole left in our family began to ease, the question came up about what to do with FigsWithBri? I couldn’t bear to take it off the web. It’s such a wonderful way to remember Briana! All these posts written with her enthusiastic ‘voice,’ unusual gourmet & hearty yummy vegetarian recipes for family & friends to return to, for new readers to discover, and for us to remember Bri with…

Marc, her husband (my son), is still in no condition to cook. It was an activity, he and Bri did together….sparked by Bri’s boundless enthusiasm for locally grown produce, interest in sustainable living, and appreciation for delicious food prepared ‘just-so.’

So, I’ve stepped in to keep FWB ‘alive,’ to stay in touch with all of you, and to give expression to how much Brizy’s still an intimate  part of our lives.

CLICK!-MonthlyMingle Heirloom ICONs

This is my post for the September 2009 Jugalbandi CLICK! & Monthly Mingle Heirloom events.

It’s not really about my unintentional creation: Citrus Butter ~ though we’ll get to that ~ or even about food photography, but rather is a tribute to a confluence of three women, who have been formative in my culinary interests. Each has left me heirlooms to remember them by.

Grandma 'Mo' (left) Grandma Helen (middle) & Briana

Grandma ‘Mo’ (left) Grandma Helen (middle) & Briana

Some background, first, as shared by Bee & Jai of Jugalbandi:

“heir·loom (ârloom) [Middle English heirlome : heir + lome, lome = implement;]  noun.

1. A valued possession passed down in a family through succeeding generations.

2. An article of personal property included in an inherited estate. An heirloom is “passed on” to the next generation, but in its original meaning, it was part of an estate — not an outright gift from one person to another. Thus, it is an “impending” item that is passed from one generation to another, because of “heres” or “heredity.” (Source)

Bee & Jai continue “Some things endure the test of time… Food left to its own devices, characterized by excellence, maturity, and enduring appeal.

The heirlooms featured in this post are “valued possessions” passed along through my family:

1) The mixed collection of delicate hand-painted gold gilt ‘Chinese’ porcelain dinnerware & earthenware service pieces my maternal grandmother, Celeste B. Amstutz, collected over 40 years of gracious living in Singapore. She and my grandfather, Bishop Hobart Amstutz, were posted there during the middle of the 20th century (early ’20s to late ’60’s) as a Methodist missionaries.

Though the unusually large collection is valued at hundreds of dollars (per a local antiques appraiser), these pieces aren’t genuine antiques. They were made by skilled artisans in Hong Kong & Japan during the middle of last century (1940s – 1960s) to emulate older authentic Chinese antiques.

2) The sterling silver ‘iced tea’ spoons made in Thailand may also be from Grandma Celeste or perhaps from my paternal Grandmother, Helen H. Brush. She and Grandpa Charles Brush (who died in his 60’s and whom I only met when I was two) lived as Baptist missionaries in Burma followed by another 24 years during the final years of the Raj, in the state of Bengal in eastern India.

3) This FigsWithBri.com blog ~ a NEW ‘heirloom’ birthed two years ago ~ but a deeply valued possession of ours and of her readers, ie.part of an estate — not an outright gift from one person to another…an “impending” item…passed from one generation to another…characterized by excellence and enduring appeal.” FWB is Briana’s legacy. Her gift to each one of us.

*   *   *
Now for this ‘accidental’ recipe, if you’ve managed to read this far…kudos!

Creamy Lemon & Orange Citrus ‘Butter’ (crystallized lemon-orange syrup) was a wonderful left-over from making candied lemon slices & orange rinds ‘Preserving Magic’ this past spring.

I used 8 cups (2 liters) of water in a stainless steel saucepan. Brought it to a rolling boil over high heat with first, whole Meyer lemon slices, followed by Naval orange peels. Cooked each batch for 15 minutes or so until the rinds were tender. (Test by piercing one with a sharp knife tip, skewer, toothpick, cake tester…whatever you have handy.)

Meyer Lemon Slices Boiling in Sugar Syrup

Meyer Lemon Slices Boiling in Sugar Syrup

After the cooking was done, I gently scooped the cooked citrus pieces out of the hot water with a slotted spoon and placed them on the rack to drain to use later. Put paper towels underneath the rack to catch the drips.

Next, transfer 2 cups (500 mL) of the citrus cooking water to a smaller saucepan. Add 2 cups (500 g) of sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat. Add the drained citrus slices or peels. Stir to coat well. Let the sugar water & citrus sit at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.

After 8 hours of steeping, place the saucepan over low heat and cook until the slices / peel have absorbed all the syrup, about 30 minutes. Adjust the heat, so the syrup doesn’t boil over. Watch carefully towards the end of the cooking time, so the slices / peel don’t burn.

Boiling Navel Orange Rind Slices

Boiling Navel Orange Rind Slices

I did this twice with the same batch of syrup, ~ first with lemons, then with oranges ~ effectively bringing the syrup close to its sugaring (candying) point. Added an extra cup of syrup: 1 cup water+1 cup sugar as I didn’t think it would be enough for my lemon slices to cook in. So there was plenty of syrup left over after the half hour of cooking.

Meyer Lemon & Navel Orange Citrus Jelly

Meyer Lemon & Navel Orange Citrus Jelly

The next morning, after the sugar syrup had cooled off, looked to see how much was left in the saucepan. Discovered it had cooled into a gorgeous thick jelly, which I poured into a large 16 ounce jar for use in another culinary adventure.

Well, THAT culinary ‘adventure’ ended up being simply enjoying it on toast for breakfast and sharing it with our sweet friends Shankari & Rajesh from Stream of Consciousness.

Since I don’t eat a lot of jam, jelly, or syrup (though I have a passion for making gourmet jams & preserves), our share has lasted for 6 months. Over that time, in the refrigerator, it’s changed consistency. After four months it got the ‘creamy’ opaque quality shown in the featured photograph, then the crystals began to separate looking much like nebulas floating in the remaining clear syrup (see following photos).

Was intriguing to watch, sort of like a childhood crystal-growing experiment, which I attempted to do ages ago with much more boring results.

Crystallized Lemon-Orange Syrup

Crystallized Lemon-Orange Syrup

Then, of course, with food blogs the question of how to photograph it came up. Though Marc made the best suggestion, to light it from below, I had already eaten too much of the last slim jar…

Crystallized Lemon-Orange Syrup

Crystallized Lemon-Orange Syrup

Autumn approaches. Meyer lemons grow fat on our little trees. Soon it will be time to mull over winter holiday recipes & homemade food gifts, and rather than sugar plums…to make candied lemon slices, glittery orange rinds, and more Meyer Lemon & Orange Citrus Butter.

On purpose, this time.

Meyer Lemons ripening on backyard tree

Meyer Lemons ripening on backyard tree

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

bee September 17, 2009 at 8:09 pm

what a lovely post!!! thank you, dear cynthe. please post pics of your heirloom silverware, china and glassware if you have the time and inclination. i’m sure they’re gorgeous. i’ve been missing bri a lot of late.

Cynthe September 17, 2009 at 8:54 pm

Bee ~ You caught me in the act…of struggling with my main image file not uploading properly. (My error – imagine an embarrassed face & crinkled nose.) I’m still refining my blogging skills, having to remember to add copyright notices to the photos, making editing refinements AFTER I’ve uploaded a post, etc. Now, it’s there and I’ve submitted it to you for the two Heirloom events at Jugalbandi & Monthly Mingle.

Kate McMaster September 18, 2009 at 8:51 am

What a beautiful gift to give! I have been thinking of Bri a lot lately and the gift she inadvertently gave to me…you and Bill!

Meeta September 22, 2009 at 11:49 pm

Cynthe, a lovely recipe and a huge thanks for keeping this space going. I am so honored to have this recipe as part of the Monthly Mingle. Thank you!

Cynthe September 23, 2009 at 12:46 am

Kate ~ Thanks for peeking in to see what we’re up to at FWB. As first anniversary of Bri’s death approaches, I’ve been considering various ideas of how to celebrate her memory…and especially to carry on her enthusiasm for nurture, food & friends.

Cynthe September 23, 2009 at 12:54 am

Meeta ~ Thanks for your kind comments. Participating in your Monthly Mingle was fun and a sort of “branching out” for me…having taken on the FWB mantle, not by plan…but by circumstance. Realized your contest emphasis was on heirloom recipes & I was focused on other sorts of heirlooms in this post. But, citrus has been candied for many generations before my birth, so the recipe still qualifies as an heirloom of sorts.

Sunita September 23, 2009 at 2:47 pm

Thank you Cynthe for this wonderful post and for keeping this beautiful space alive.

Joanne September 23, 2009 at 7:51 pm

this is such a touching story. Thank you so much for sharing it along with the recipes.

Cynthe September 24, 2009 at 10:37 am

Thanks for coming by Sunita & Joanne. It’s the moments you take to leave a comment that make all the difference to a blogger….especially someone new-ish at it, like me.

We all have life stories to tell. And what better excuse than chatting over food….even virtually! Our stories are precious, rich with life, feelings, and meaning. Blogging allows us to record them – how cool is that! – and even better, to find an attentive audience. It’s our stories, more than the food (dare I ‘fess up), that I’m interested in reading. But I do enjoy creative cooking & photography, so having FWB is a terrific venue for improving my skills…and best of all, making new friends.

Soma September 24, 2009 at 12:57 pm

What a beautiful post! I came in blogging last year when I heard about Bri at Jugalbandits.. & in a couple of months she was gone… I have not met her & but known her & her spirit a lot from all the reading.. a few years back my mom lost her fight with cancer & left us pretty early in her life… the tears never stops to flow…hugs to you for keeping her spirit & this space alive.

Cynthe September 25, 2009 at 12:23 am

Soma ~ Thanks for coming by. I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your Mom to breast cancer. I hope you are able to find some solace in your sweet memories of her.

Our wonderful health insurance agent…who helped Bri & my son, Marc, patiently through the financial nightmare of a serious illness…is now fighting her own battle with very aggressive inflammatory breast cancer. Needless to say, it makes me very sad, especially since our agent’s path of discovery mimics Bri’s recurrence…but a year later.

There’s a part of me that’s deeply dismayed about the epidemic of breast cancer. My sense is cancer doesn’t have to be a killer disease….unless in the ‘karmic’ sense, it’s our time to go.

My own interest in natural healing and medicine, and being Bri’s daytime care giver during her illness, led me to finding out about two innovative integrative cancer clinics. Both clinics are having amazing successes ~ truly remarkable results ~ with their clientele….most of whom come to them with different types of advanced, stage 4 (terminal) cancers…after all other protocols have failed or have become intolerable. I am impressed ~ and inspired ~ with the health-supporting therapies these compassionate physicians are offering their cancer patients.

From extensive research I’ve done over the past four years, I’m NOT convinced current conventional medical cancer protocols practiced in the USA are the best ~ and certainly they aren’t the ONLY ~ methods of dealing with cancer. Chemotherapy’s basic premise of weakening the patient’s immune response, so the poisonous chemo protocols will be more effective is a backward rationale more suited to the “dark ages.” Much more enlightened and more EFFECTIVE HEALING treatments are being developed & practiced in Germany, and closer to home at these two cancer clinics.

The two clinics are:
~ Dr. Forsythe’s Century Wellness Clinic: 877-789-0707 (Toll-Free) in Reno NV

PLEASE WATCH: Selicinium video http://www.CancerHopeCenter.com
Selicinium is a homeopathic remedy that starves cancer of the blood sugars it thrives on. It has initiated an effective healing response in 72% of Dr. Forsythe’s patients and of those in 78% of his breast cancer clientele.

~ Dr. Filiberto Munoz’s San Diego Clinic: 011-52664-683-1398 in Tijuana, just over the border from San Diego. (Here’s are links to reviews of his clinic. And a second one, last half of page.)

The successful custom integrative holistic treatments being offered to folks with advanced cancer diagnoses are featured on a DVD “Cancer Conquest” available from Burton Goldberg’s website.

Mr. Goldberg researched & first published in 1994 the massive encyclopedic reference resource: “Alternative Medicine, The Definitive Guide” in which leading edge physicians explain their treatments.

OCTOBER 2009 is the one year anniversary of Bri’s death. Read this post on what I’ve discovered about effective cancer treatments at my essential oils blog. I am impressed with the health-giving discoveries these doctors are offering their cancer patients. Wish we would have known all this early in 2008.

Soma September 25, 2009 at 8:47 am

My mom actually had stomach cancer, which aggresively spread everywhere in a couple of months time.. Cancer is a killer, now my aunt is going thru chemo with not much hope.. I have members of my family with breast cancer, & a few of my friends are fighting it right now. I hope with all the advancement of science, we are able to fight this demon. It is ok in the karmic sense.. if it is time to go we have to, but not in pain this way. Thanks for the links, I will go thru’ them & pass it on to who ever needs it. Take Care.

Cynthe September 25, 2009 at 10:45 am

Soma ~ In re-reading my response from last night, realize I made an error identifying the clinics as services for “breast cancer” patients. Actually, these clinics have developed healing, immune supportive, protocols for people suffering from ANY type of cancer.

Also, my apologies for assuming your Mom had breast cancer. And to have so many family members and friends challenged with various forms of the disease, must weigh heavily on your heart.

OCTOBER 2009 ~ I have written an article with all this info and more. This links to the ‘Healing From Cancer’ resource page on FigsWithBri.

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