Le Cédrat: Cooking with Bumpy Lemons

Citrus season continues! One fruit in particular often catches our eye as we’re walking through town. My boys and I have started referring to them as “bumpy lemons.”

First, we noticed these large yellow fruits in store window displays. Then, one of my favorite Swiss food blogs wrote about them and their many uses. Finally, our favorite vendor at the farmers’ market started selling them. It was time to try them out!

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My 2-year old still calls them “bumpy lemons,” but we know them now as cédrats (Citrus medica). We bought about half a dozen cédrat at the farmers’ market last week that were grown in Sicily. As the vendor weighed out our fruit, he wanted to make sure I knew they weren’t citrons or lemons. I may be wrong, but I think he assumed that as an American, I wouldn’t know the difference between a lemon and a cédrat!

Besides the added texture of the yellow skin and their larger size, cédrats have a much thicker rind than a regular lemon. In terms of smell and taste, the difference is more subtle. Maybe cédrat is a bit more bitter? This could also be my impression because cédrat have a larger proportion of bitter peel, compared to the juicier interior of a lemon.

After careful consideration, I decided to make two things with my cédrats: 1) marmalade or confiture and 2) arugula salad with seared scallops.


Confiture de Cédrat

Making jam always seems like a daunting task, and it does take time. Sterilizing jars, in particular, I imagine as very laborious. However, you don’t have to do this if you make jam that will be eaten quickly—which in my home isn’t a problem!

Here’s what I did, using a recipe from Parmesan et Paprika as a guide:

1. Sliced 1 kilogram of cédrats (in my case, 4 of them) into very thin pieces with a mandoline.

2. Added the cédrats to a liter of water in a large pot and brought it to a boil. Simmered for about 1 1/2 hours over medium-low heat.

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3. Stirred in 1 1/2 kilograms of sugar and the juice of one lemon.

4. Simmered for another 30-60 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the jam began to thicken. When I put a small amount on a plate and it thickened as it cooled, I knew it was ready.

And, voilà! Delicious homemade confiture. We have so much that I’ve been handing out small jars to friends and neighbors. I’ll likely be having some on my zopf for second breakfast again today.

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Arugula and Cédrat Salad with Seared Scallops

After making my jam, I use the remaining cédrat to make a savory lunch. During my cédrat research phase, I discovered two recipes for salads that looked intriguing. So, while I was stirring the jam, my dear husband picked up some scallops from our local fishmonger for an easy salad.

I tossed some of the finely shaved cédrat with arugula and a quick dressing: 4 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice with salt and pepper to taste. The scallops were cooked quickly with some olive oil, lemon juice and chopped shallots. Before serving, I sprinkled some fresh lemon zest on top.

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Citrus fruits are still abundant in our markets. I may need to tackle oranges amères (bitter oranges) next!

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4 thoughts on “Le Cédrat: Cooking with Bumpy Lemons

  1. Sandy Shaw says:

    Hi Heddi, The scallops looked so good!! It’s still cold here and we can’t wait for a break in the winter. After all…it’s March!!

    Sent from my iPhon

    >

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