I am always on the lookout for interesting produce at the farmer’s market. The other day I stumbled upon fresh bergamot. I have not seen this in the states, and usually only spy Bergamot when in Europe. I am a sucker for these gems, mainly because their scent is intoxicating! They are not like any other citrus; tangy, and tart, with warm hits of spice. As soon as you slice one open, the aroma wraps around you, like an old friend and invites you in. Just imagine how wonderful this Bergamot Vanilla Bean Marmalade smells as it is bubbling away on the stove. It is worth seeking out fresh bergamot to make a batch of this marmalade.
I brought 4 of them home, and let their perfumes take over the kitchen for a good week. It wasn’t until they were almost too ripe, that I decided to do something with them. I had all sorts of ideas from cocktails to curds, but then I decided on marmalade. I love slowly simmered pots of citrus, and sugar, taking over the kitchen. Warms the space, and puts me at ease.
You will want to use a bread knife to get the slices very thin. First I quartered the fruit and then sliced each quarter as thin as I could. Be careful not to cut yourself. I wanted to keep the color of the fruit, so I decided to blanch thin slices before slowly cooking with sugar. After blanching, and letting the fruit dry a bit, I slowly cooked with sugar and water. You don’t need pectin as the natural sugars of the fruit and the sugar, will thicken the marmalade. The finished marmalade is really lovely on its own, but the flavor was intensified with the warmth of sweet vanilla bean paste.
Not only is this special marmalade for yourself, but it would also a lovely gift from someone sweet in your life.
Recipe: Bergamot Vanilla Bean Marmalade
2 cups sugar
3 cups water
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
Quarter bergamots, and then slice thinly.
Put the bergamot in a dutch oven, and cover with cold water.
Bring to a boil, and cook for 3 minutes.
Drain in a colander, and immediately rinse with cold water.
Let drain very well; about 30 minutes.
Return the slices to the dutch oven, add the sugar and water.
Bring to a boil, stir, and then reduce the heat.
Continue cooking until thickened, and the temperature reaches 220.
Remove from the heat.
Let cool slightly.
Stir in the vanilla bean paste, and then put into sterilized jars.
Makes 4 small jars of marmalade.