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Lions Roar : January 2003
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2003 87 control and shape the results. When we tack- led key limes soon afterwards, we got it exact- ly right. The one we prepared from Florida navel oranges, which would otherwise have been pathetically sweet and bland, proved instead to be innocently refreshing—a maximum marmalade that, for once, children could love. And that small step up in acidity and brightness of flavor meant that a marmalade we made from Temple oranges was revelato- ry in its easy accessibility combined with a wealth of citrusy flavor notes. Kids would love this one too, if grownups let them any- where near it. By now, I thought I had this marmalade business in the bag, but there is one final twist to the story still to come. We learned that our pal Ed Ivy owned some land in Florida with wild orange trees growing on it, and so we begged him to send us some of the fruit. Now, wild orange trees are a source of entertainment for native Floridians. Tourists, seeing a citrus bonanza for the taking, often pull their cars over to the side of the road and pick armfuls of the wild oranges before they think to bite into one, only to discover that they are as sour as lemons. All sweet oranges in Florida grow on trees grafted to sour orange rootstock— which often takes over the whole tree once an orchard is abandoned. Pick a wild orange and chances are the fruit will be inedible. The likelihood that these same trees will be bearing genuine Seville oranges is, of course, rather negligible. That fruit is also a cultivated variety, selectively bred for the perfume of its peel. In fact, Seville oranges were once widely grown in Florida, and, as we shall see, some still are. But even if all you can get hold of are the wild, native sort, they are close enough kin to the Seville to make excellent British-style marmalade—as we were about to discover for ourselves. When Ed’s shipment arrived and we cut open the box, what met our eyes was as mot- ley a crew as can be imagined. As with most wild fruit, there was clear visual evidence of a lack of pampering. The color of the peel was dull and dingy; its texture was as rough and blotchy as the back of a toad. A casual glance was also enough to know that they would not be bursting with juice. But a fingernail pressed into the peel released a pungent cit- rus aroma with hints of tangerine. We