The wait. The anticipation. The arrival. The first bite. A simple way to describe what I go through each year waiting for my favorite piece of citrus – SUMO Citrus. This mandarin that it more the size of a navel orange has a rich, melt in your mouth kind of taste. Perfect to enjoy on their own. But I have more in mind. I made Meyer Lemon Fudge during the Christmas season. Back then I though I need to try this with other citrus. Of course my beloved SUMO was on my mind. The next morning after buying my first batch of the season, I gathered my fudge making ingredients and got into the kitchen.
1. The recipe I use, which is based off a recipe from the blog, Through Clouded Glass, calls for milk. I like this better than fudge recipes calling for sweetened condensed milk, because I always have milk on hand, so I don’t have to worry about missing an ingredient at the store.
2. Most of the flavor of the fudge comes from the zest of the SUMO. Normally you would just peel it and throw the peel out. This gives you a chance to use something to add flavor that was headed for the trash. It also uses about 2 tablespoons of juice, which is roughly half a SUMO, so you still have the other half to snack on while making the fudge. If you cannot find a SUMO, you can use whatever mandarin or tangerine variety you like.
3. I am a big fan of Morena Pure Cane Sugar. You can buy it at Walmart. It is a minimally processed non-GMO sugar. It has a better flavor than regular white sugar. It is a little more coarse, so I run in through my food processor so that it mixes into the fudge more readily.
4. The recipe uses white baking chips that are stirred in at the end. Choose chips that use real vanilla instead of the fake or artificial vanilla. I paid a little extra to get Ghirardelli. The quality of those chips was a little better than the cheap store brand or even Nestle.
5. The fudge didn’t get that orange color on it’s own. I had to use food coloring. I used a gel paste food coloring. It has more vivid colors and it’s not a liquid so it won’t mess with the fudge setting up. You could also try a natural food coloring method. Check out the blog, Nourishing Joy for some ideas.
They say when life gives you lemons make lemonade. Very wise counsel. But I say when Frieda’s Specialty Produce gives you Meyer Lemons make fudge. I know that’s a little different but hey fudge is delicious, and who says it has to be chocolate. Plus it is Christmas time so fudge seemed very appropriate. I researched some fudge recipes. I wanted to use fresh lemon juice and zest and I wanted to use milk. I found a recipe from the site, Through Clouded Glass. This recipe called for lemon flavoring or extract but I opted for 1 Meyer Lemon’s worth of juice, which worked out to perfection.
One of the biggest concerns with making fudge is taking a bite and filling like your candy takes like your last trip to the beach. Grainy fudge is no fun. In order to make a better texture I like to make my sugar finer. The small the granules of sugar the less likely of experiencing grainy fudge. The sugar I used is Morena Pure Cane Sugar. It has a better flavor, it less processed, and is non-GMO. In order to make it finer, I just run it through my food processor for about 30 seconds.
I was very excited in how this turned out. It is melting in your mouth good. It’s a great way to showcase the wonderful flavor of Meyer Lemons, which once you try, you will never want to go back to the old standby lemon. Also makes me want to try out other wonderful citrus throughout the winter months – I have visions of Blood Orange, Cara Cara, Sumo mandarin, maybe even Ugli Fruit fudge dancing in my head. The nice thing about the lemon fudge is that it wasn’t as heavy feeling as traditional chocolate fudge. Even if you lost all self control and devoured several pieces, you wouldn’t regret it as much later as with the heavier chocolate.
To get that wonderful yellow color you see in my fudge, you have to cheat a little bit and add food coloring. I don’t use just regular food coloring, I prefer gel paste food coloring. It has more vivid color and doesn’t add any liquid to whatever you adding it to. It easily mixes right in. The stuff will last you a long time.
In the winter time I find trouble breathing especially in the dry morning air. It also helps me to have something to suck on. But instead of buying cough drops this winter, I decided to make some of my own, in a sort. I have made candies before and that’s pretty much what this is. By combining some honey, sugar, water, and lemon zest, I was able to make a treat that far out does any cough drop or lozenge I have ever bought. They have a nice cooked, caramelized honey flavor, similar to some honey sweetened jelly beans I bought a year ago.
To make these lozenges, you need to a follow a basic formula:
1 part water
3 parts honey
4 parts sugar
Then you add in your additional flavorings, like lemon zest, but you could also use other types of zest or maybe even some fresh ginger! I used the zest from half a Meyer lemon when I made these. I also recommend when picking a honey to use something that is medium to strong bodied. I used a strong Killer Bee honey. You could use a good Buckwheat honey, anything on the dark side. I would avoid clover or orange blossom honeys are their flavors are too delicate for this purpose. Those are best left to be enjoyed at the table.
Instructions Combine the sugar, water, and honey into a 4 to 5 quart sauce pan with a lid. Cover and boil for about 5 minutes. This will help sugar crystals from forming and giving you a grainy candy. Uncover after 5 minutes, and slap on a candy thermometer. Cook the mixture to around 295 degrees which is considered the hard crack stage in the candy world. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes, before using a teaspoon to distribute the candy onto a sheet pan lined with either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Give the lozenges an hour to cool before storing in an airtight container. I put my lozenges into a container with a piece of parchment paper between each layer. Keep these things in a dry place as any moisture will cause them to become a sticky mess.
Make sure to suck on these lozenges. If you bite down you will find pieces stuck to your teeth, a good thing only if you are trying to remove fillings (which really isn’t a good thing).