flying dragon marmalade

Poncirus trifoliata 'Flying Dragon'

These are the fruits on Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’, otherwise known as hardy orange. I have written about this small tree many times. Last year one of you blogging buds suggested using the fruit to make marmalade. The thought had never occurred to me. I had always thought of them as purely ornamental, maybe even poisonous.

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Well, once planted, it was a thought that grew on me. At the same time I was picking the last ripening tomato and the first ever huckleberries, I decided to give it a go.

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A search for Weck jars took me to Sur La Table, where I found these little Italian jobs that appealed to me even more. They have a single, rather than two-part, lid, but otherwise are treated the same. I later found a full array of Weck jars and bottles at Schoolhouse Electric.

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I’ve had these two charming books for a long time, so they’re probably out of print.

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Sloe Gin and Beeswax is a feast for the eyes. Its recipes use metric measures, but it addresses all kinds of esoteric ingredients, like medlars.

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Even it made no mention of Poncirus fruit, but I pieced together a recipe from several sources. Covering the fruit with water, I simmered them for about an hour. Once they had cooled, I halved them, scooped out the pulp and seeds into a small pan and cut the peel into strips. Add the juice and seeds (the seeds act like pectin) of one lemon to the small pan, some water to cover and simmer for fifteen minutes. Strain off the juice into a large pot, add the peel, 4 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar. Bring to a furious boil until it reaches 220 degrees F. I stirred in some toasted walnuts and whole coriander seeds. Process like you would any jam. The result is not to everyone’s taste (but then you could also say that of marmalade in general). I consider it something of a gourmet novelty and will gift it to only the very most special people.

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Are you growing anything that presents a culinary challenge? If so, I would love to hear about it. And if it was you who suggested this adventure, I thank you.

19 thoughts on “flying dragon marmalade

  1. That’s exciting, Ricki! The closest thing I have is a Meyer Lemon, which has several fruits but they’re a long way from ripe. It will be fun to pick the first one! They seem to be getting bigger faster now that they’re in the sunroom and the Oak trees have lost all their leaves. Is your hot (I see you used a pepper, too)? It sounds like an interesting culinary treat!

  2. You do have some very interesting trees Ricki, I’ve seen this in a garden here but never for sale; I have the normal bitter orange but there are no fruit this year. I didn’t know you could make marmalade with the one you have; I will try harder to find one as it would survive outside in the ground whereas all my citrus have to go into the greenhouse during the winter.

  3. That sounds fantastic, Ricki! I think the strangest thing I ever made was a syrup out of my ornamental grapes – Vitis vinifera ‘Purpurea’. As syrups go, it wasn’t really worth the trouble. Although the taste of the grape itself is pretty good, the woody flavor of the seeds inside it took precedence. I tried to learn to like it, but eventually poured it all down the drain. But hey – without experimentation, nothing ever moves forward right? Even if it retreats backwards again immediately after… 🙂

  4. I like the bitter bite of traditional marmalade so I think I’d really like this preparation. Kudos to you for coming up with a good use for these fruit! There’s a lot of food people wouldn’t consider eating without a healthy dose of sugar (now that it’s Thanksgiving season, just think of cranberries), and maybe this works the same way. I have a lot of coffeeberries in the garden right now that are listed as edible but close to flavorless. That might be my next quickfire kitchen challenge…

    • James~I actually like cranberries best with just a touch of sugar, some horseradish and lemon. The usual very sweet preparations get passed right along to the next reveler. Nice to see you back here, James, as well as writing on your own blog. Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. I made some of the poncirus marmalade 2 years ago. Good, not not as nice as that from Seville oranges. No fruit last year, but loads this year, so I’ll try again.

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