|No.. You cannot has natsu-mikan|
There it hangs, looking like a big orange or grapefruit, ripe on the tree in the small yard of many Japanese houses. Sometimes the ground is littered with them. You would think you could pick a few up, take them home and have them for breakfast, but that would be a mistake.
First, they are a bit more bitter than grapefruit, and not quite as soft inside. Also, Japanese law and custom takes a dim view of "gleaning" fallen fruit, even when it has rolled out onto the sidewalk. I have been staring at Yuzu, treed and fallen for 7 years of visits and never have had to guts to snag one.
The first step to perdition was at a park full of plum trees in full bloom. "Please do not pick the plums, we harvest them" read the signs. But there was nothing about a low-hanging Yuzu on the one lone tree in the middle of the park's plateau picnic area. Amazing how a walking stick extends one's reach. One swipe with the stick and the Yuzu is mine.
Once home, we peeled it and tried it. Fairly grapefruit-like, but with a lot more tough rind inside.
(I wonder what the difference between tart and bitter is?)
A few days later, the waves at the beach are high, the wind fierce, the sun bright in the sky, the surfers out enjoying the ride and I am out walking on the beach. There in front of me on the sand is a Yuzu. A beach Yuzu! Umi-Yuzu
Obviously fallen into the ocean and washed up.
It is in perfect shape; no bruises, holes, mushy bits or whatever.
This Yuzu is a legal find. Beach gleaning is a culturally accepted practice hereabouts; I have seen office ladies in inappropriate heels scooping up wakame seaweed along the water's edge, so into the back-sack goes the Yuzu.
To be followed by 4 or 5 more.
Now comes the fun.
My friend relates that the Yuzu used to be used exclusively for seasoning as a dressing with soy sauce. Later they were used for marmalade and jam-making. Can I whomp up a passable Yuzu marmalade?
|All your natsu-mikan are belong to us!|
The interwebs are full of grapefruit marmalade recipes; most involve scraping, peeling, zesting, boiling, straining , cheese-clothing and much more kitchen stuff that can go wrong and waste time. Fortunately there were also a few microwave recipes on-line.
The secret to manly cooking is to take the easiest bits of each recipe and combine them, so as to do the whole thing as easy as possible. And use free raw materials, so that if it fouls up you can jettison the ensuing compost.
This time I got lucky.
Take 3-4 beach Yuzu, wash the skins to get the sand and salt off them.
Cut them up into slices, chunks, bits. Do not remove anything.
Plop the bits into a big enough microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap and nuke for 20 minutes.
Remove from gamma ray forge, puree with stick-blender thing. Add a few ounces of boiling water to make the puree-ing easier.
Do not splash hot glop on you! It sticks and will burn clean to the bone! No wait, that's napalm, but the glop looks almost as dangerous.
Add sugar to taste - appx. 1/3 to 1/2 volume of Yuzu glop will work fine.
Puree again with stick-blender.
Clean off the stick blender, re-cover with saran wrap and nuke again for 15-20 minutes.
Spoon into jars, nuke the jars (minus metal lids) with glop for 2-3 minutes, remove; screw on the lids; turn the jars over so that the white-hot glop sears the inside of the lid and any germoids there adhering.
Let cool, enjoy the un-jarred remains on toast.
Take that Marks & Spencer's
Yup, I can see why it was a tradition to have one in every yard. the compote/ marmalade/ glop is yummy. Very sweet and sour, sweet and tart, citrus-sy.
Bonus round: A trick from Korea is to mix a spoonful of sweet jam with hot water, as a soothing drink. Add a shot of white rum. Now I can kick back - wait! I have to clean up the mess in the kitchen!