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Lions Roar : January 2003
86 SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2003 direct that the marmalade be made without adding any water at all. If I had been paying more attention, I would have realized that, prepared as direct- ed, these marmalades would have been too thick to spread. In fact, this is the way the pre- serve was made before commercial producers discovered that adding water greatly reduced the amount of fruit required, while the result- ing “spreadability” persuaded the public to buy it regardless. (Previously, if softening was required, it was done at the table—perchance as Margaret Dods suggested almost two hun- dred years ago in The Cook & Housewife’s Manual—by liquefying the paste “ex tempore with a little tea.”) My misreading, though, was a fortunate thing, because what came to me in a flash was that when it came to contemporary recipes there was no reason except economy for that liquid to be water. Economy, of course, is a potent persuader, especially in hard times. But these days it shouldn’t cost all that much more to replace the water with the fruit’s own juice. What got me to put this notion to the test was spying, while shopping, half-gallon cartons of not-from-concentrate orange and grapefruit juices. I began my experimenting by replacing the water in a standard grapefruit marmalade recipe with not-from-concentrate ruby-red grapefruit juice. The thick, tawny-colored result was noticeably different from ordinary grapefruit marmalade in its density of flavor and the tightness of balance between bitter and sour and sweet. Instead of the usual sourball puckerishness, that edge of medici- nal bitterness gave the marmalade a three- dimensional quality that lifted it to a new level. It was, in the complicated response it demanded, a very adult preserve. The name I gave to the outcome of this method was “maximum marmalade,” and that this was no exaggeration became all the more evident when Matt and I repeated the experiment with organic lemons. There, the result was so mouth-fillingly intense that it was almost masochistic. It was impossible to be sure whether the yelp from my taste buds was one of pleasure or panic. It wasn’t a mat- ter of the marmalade being too bitter, too sour or too sweet, but too much of all three at once. However, the most that this demanded of the preserve-maker was some effort to