I managed to “score” 16 pounds of hard-to-find citrus on Tuesday! Eight pounds of organic Bearss limes and eight pounds of organic Rangpur limes. Ordinary Bearss limes are not hard to come by – they’re the standard supermarket variety – but organic (i.e. unsprayed) ones are not common. And Rangpur limes are a rarity, so I’m delighted to have found them!
(Rangpur limes, by the way, are not limes at all. They are a cross between a mandarin and a lemon, and look rather like a small mandarin orange – but are incredibly tart, even more so than lemons. How they got called “limes” I have no idea – it’s not in their heritage and they are bright orange!)
Now, one might wonder whether purchasing 16 pounds of citrus is the wisest thing to do right before leaving on a trip (I fly out to Maryland tomorrow for my uncle’s memorial service), especially when you’re already candying several pounds of kumquats. On the other hand, wisdom has never exactly been my hallmark, I love candied citrus, and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get either again – it’s towards the end of the season for both. So I grabbed them up. So today, instead of packing, I’m frantically stripping peels from Bearss limes in preparation for the first round of candying. (The Rangpur limes will have to wait – in the fridge – until I get back.) I’m almost done taking the peels off the Bearss limes, then I’ll have to cut them up into chocolate-dipping sizes, blanch them, and start them candying. Once they’re in the sugar syrup, they can be stuck in the fridge until I get back.
(Why the rush? Mostly, because I don’t have room for 16 pounds of citrus in the fridge, and if I leave them on the counter, they’ll dry out.)
I can’t wait to try the results! I have never candied lime peel and this is the first time I’ve ever seen a fresh Rangpur lime. It will be interesting to see how well they combine with chocolate, and fun to try them out in fruitcake!