For the etrog jam recipe, click here.
Last night instead of painting I made some etrog jam.
For those of you who don’t know what an etrog is, it’s a citrus fruit that looks a bit like a bumpy lemon. If you’ve never seen one that won’t really help you because you’re extremely unlikely to ever cross paths with one unless you’re jewish. You certainly won’t find one in your local supermarket.
The big deal about the etrog is that it is one of the “four species” – four plants that are connected with the jewish festival of Sukkot: a palm-branch-bud called a lulav, three sticks of myrtle, two bits of willow and an etrog. We hold these during prayers on the festival and they represent plants from different climates in Israel (desert, mountains, rivers and the hot coastal plain) as well as a lot of other more esoteric things.
Anyway, come the end of the festival, what do you do with your etrog. I had three of them and I got another from my mother. Loads of etrogs (etrogim). They don’t taste of much and have very think skins, a bit like a pomello but on a fruit the size of a lemon. The actual fruit inside is real small, sour and full of seeds. One of the popular things you can do with them is to make etrog jam.
I did this a few years back and ended up with several jars that no-one wanted to eat except me, but the children have grown up up a bit since then so I reckoned I’ll have more customers this time. I got out my etrog jam recipe book and followed the instructions.
Unfortunately there were two recipes there – the first one for a mirkahat (don’t ask me to translate that into English) and the second one for a jam. Last time I read the whole page and made the jam, this time I didn’t bother reading down and made the mirkahat.
The picture at the top shows what I created. A mirkahat apparently is a sugar syrup full of fruit. It tastes fantastic, but it’s no marmalade or jam. If someone could invent a way to give tasting over the Internet then you could try it yourself. As things stand, you’ll just have to take my word for it.
The only problem is that the syrup is very stiff and the bit of peel came out hard instead of soft. I might try adding some hot water to one of the pots and see if I can dilute it and make it easier to get out of the pot and spread. All the same, three pots of etrog jam is not a bad product of a couple of hour’s work.