I am still thinking about this internet thing—how maybe instead of a tree fort where we go to be alone, it’s a tin can phone. We speak into it our secret little things, not sure if the person on the other end will actually hear us right. It’s feels nice that someone is there, but it’s also a little scary.
After your kind words about last week’s post, I am sitting with this internet optimism. The cute metaphors help. It seems I’m not the only one who feels like community and maybe even friends can be made here.
I don’t remember much of what I learned in college. I wasn’t wasted, just stressed and distracted. However, one thing that I haven’t quite been able to stop thinking about are commonplace books. Commonplace books are, as Atlantic writer Alan Jacobs calls them in this piece, “The Tumblrs of an Earlier Era.” They were essentially scrapbooks where folks copied quotations, letters, poems, recipes, and remedies: stuff they wanted to remember. Sound familiar?
Commonplace books were a big deal in early America and women especially passed them among themselves, each one adding what they found most valuable. In the end, there was a record and a resource. Isn’t that also what we’re trying to do here? I plan to think of this the next time information overload gets me down.
In that spirit, I am passing along this recipe Rangpur Lime Marmalade. I thought you might need it. Maybe you have a good tree or a good friend that gives you Rangpur Limes without you even having to ask.
Let me tell you, these little gems were made for marmalade. They’re thin-skinned, which is a good thing perhaps only in the case of marmalade. Flavor? They’re puckery with complexity. And so much pectin!
Rangpur Lime Marmalade
12 oz Rangpur Limes
12 oz sugar
2 1/4 cups water
1. Halve the limes and remove the seeds and pith according to these stellar instructions over at Hitchhiking to Heaven. At the end of the process, you’ll have a bowl with some seeds/juice (throw the pithy “cores” in there too) and a bunch of halved limes on your cutting board. Reserve the little bowl of scraps for later.
2. Slice all of the halved limes lengthwise into quarters, by cutting down the notch you made in the middle. Then begin to cut each quarter crosswise, as thin as you can manage.
3. Once sliced, place the segments in another bowl, catching any juice that collects on the cutting board and adding that to the bowl with the segments as you go.
4. When all the limes are sliced, go back to the little bowl of pith and seeds. Using a strainer covered with cheesecloth, strain the contents so that the juice goes into the bowl of fruit and everything else is captured in the cheesecloth.
5. Tie all these goodies up into the cheesecloth and make a nice, sealed bundle. Throw this in with the fruit.
6. Over high heat, combine the cut fruit with the water and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to low and simmer for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for about 6 hours.
7. After 6 hours, remove the cheesecloth bundle and squeeze it in your fist to extract any extra liquid.
8. Add the sugar, return to heat, and cook at low heat until sugar dissolves. Then bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the mixture has reached the gelling point, as determined by the freezer test.
- With all that pectin, it took this way less time to gel than I expected. I made two batches and it took less than 10 minutes each time. I felt like I may have overshot it a little on the first batch and started checking the second batch much earlier.
- It won’t ruin your marmalade if you let it set overnight before cooking it with the sugar, but the rinds in the final product will have less chew (and this lady likes chew).