Candied Bergamot Zest
I came into some bergamots. Like an inheritance, four gleaming orbs showed up one day unexpectedly, their pocked skins sending missiles of mouthwatering spray into the air. Visions of bergamot gumdrops danced in my head, my imagination sparked by that familiar floral perfume.
But it wasn't meant to be.
Precious though they were, I was the victim of poor planning and had but a few hours to make them last. Zesting and candying might be my best chance to preserve them for the days when the light shines longer.
I stooped over the wood, my fingers aching from the careful task at hand. The flesh was bitter, but the pith even worse, and my knife's steel stained from it all.
Finally. 2 cups of gleaming pith-free hay was ready for its bath. It cooked and cooked, but the bitter stayed. I strained it, warmed another batch and put the pliable and nearly transparent zest back in. The syrup glowed golden. This next time, the zest was a little more forgiving but it got a sugar coating anyway.
Over the next few months, I'll use the candied bergamot zest in all sorts of things, from cakes to a fresh pot of tea and the golden syrup is fantastic over warm blueberries, a perfect accompaniment to poundcake and ice cream.