These condiments employ some of the oldest known preserving techniques, salting and pickling, and are mainly for savory uses. Although many enjoy them on ice cream or in cocktails, my Dark Cherries in Merlot Syrup are superb with lamb, duck or fine cheese, and my Grandmother’s Spiced Crab Apples are updated to taste better than I remember, good enough to use year-round with any manner meat or cheese.

Seasoning with fruits preserved in salt is a centuries-old tradition in cuisines from Japan and India to North Africa. In Morocco perfumed local lemons are salt-cured and used in their traditional tagines–stews cooked in clay pots with distinctive conical lids–especially lamb stew and the classic chicken with olives. I now use them in marinades, soups and salads, to flavor a pot of beans, sautéed greens like spinach or chard, hummus, on bread with olive oil and garlic, with roasted peppers and olives, in couscous or rice pilaf, under the skin of a roast chicken or in the cavity of a fish.

Traditionally a section is removed from the jar, washed and steeped in a dish during cooking but not necessarily eaten. When using mine I find everything in the jar is edible--pith, peel, fruit and brine. Just use less. Chop fine or use a garlic press to mash the fruit, then add it directly to the dish. A couple of teaspoons is usually enough.

For a basic seasoning, add 1 teaspoon to 1/4 cup olive oil, with 1/2 garlic clove and 1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar. Puree or combine in mortar and pestle. Use as a marinade for steak, chicken, fish, drizzle on bread or sauteed greens, on soups or salads.

Download Salt-preserved Citrus recipes: 
Salt Preserved Citrus (Salt_Preserved.pdf 103k)


Dark Cherry Champagne

Candied Young Ginger

As a seasonal specialty I offer my Candied Young Ginger. I use young Spring ginger root harvested before it sprouts, tender, juicy and fragrant, with none of the coarse stringy fibers that come with maturity. This spicy, addicting confection infused with Asian spices is left after making my White Ginger Syrup. It usually finds its way into my fruitcakes, but I pack some into these limited run jars. Great with chocolate, chopped on ice cream, as garnish for your favorite desserts and of course, wonderful in your own baking and culinary creations. Also a delight by the slice right out of the jar!

Calamondin Marmalade - NEW!

Also called calamansi, the pride of the Philippines, this citrus is known to make the very best marmalade. Some years ago I made a few batches but they proved so difficult to obtain, so costly, so laborious to prepare it was impossible to make more. The few pounds I was able to score every year would go to enhance my 5 Mandarin Marmalade blend.

In mid-February I visited one of my citrus sources south of San Jose to procure what I could for the year’s syrups and marmalades after this winter’s devastating freeze. Some mother trees—those used to provide grafts for new stock—were badly damaged, some completely dead. I found a few limequats and a handful of kaffir limes when Maria, the knowledgeable orchard manager, asked if I might want calamondins. She ushered me into a hoop house where a row of 5 or 6 espaliered specimens stood laden with fruit!

They are tiny, the largest top out at an inch in diameter, and so delicate they can’t be pulled from the branch without ripping the skin. I ran back to my truck for a pair of manicure scissors to harvest as many as I could, and managed to collect nearly 30 pounds. Though small they are laden with full-size seeds; it took me 2 days to cut the lot.

Blended with a bit of Meyer lemon, Rangpur and mandarin juices, the result was well worth the effort–a pure delight! Deep, brilliant, jewel-like color, fine strips of delicate peel and a bright, piquant flavor that dances between mandarin, orange and lime, with a long finish all its own. It rarely gets any better than this!
8 oz.

Salt-Preserved Meyer Lemon

Meyer lemons are a good stand-in for the lemons of North Africa, scented, sweet and thin-skinned. Cured with bay leaves and the faint perfume of citrus blossoms. Use anywhere you'd add salt--in marinades, on vegetables, in dips, soups, salads, rice or grain dishes. Chop fine or use a garlic press to mash the fruit and it's easy to add a salty citrus punch to any dish
8 oz.

Ingredients: Meyer lemons, kosher salt, herbs

Salt-Preserved Rangpur Limes

The Rangpur lime is really a sour variety of mandarin orange. I cure these with juniper berry, bay leaf, rosemary and lavender to create a heady saffron-like flavor. More adventurous than the Meyer lemon, sharper, spicy, with a clean mandarin orange-like finish. Use anywhere you'd add salt--in marinades, on vegetables, in dips, soups, salads, rice or grain dishes. Particularly good with fish or seafood. Chop fine or use a garlic press to mash the fruit and it's easy to add a salty citrus punch to any dish.

Ingredients: Rangpur limes, kosher salt, spices
8 oz.

Dark Cherries in Merlot Syrup: Fancy Food Show Gold-Award Winner!

Everyone's favorite, dark cherries are paired with fruity merlot wine and ambrosial hints of raspberry, scented geranium, galangal root, bergamot, black pepper, cinnamon, vanilla and bay. For sheer complexity of flavors this is my most interesting product. Enjoy with pork, duck, game hens, quail, beef or lamb–deglaze your pan with some syrup and stock to make a sauce.

Serve on the plate like a pickle or chutney, or in a little bowl on the side with a spoon for the syrup, which is every bit as good as the fruit. Coat a champagne flute with syrup, fill and drop in a cherry. Great with cheese, or just spoon a few over good vanilla ice cream! Note: fruit fills the jars when raw but shrinks in processing, adding their juice to the syrup. Not pitted.

Ingredients: whole cherries, wine, sugar, vinegar, corn syrup, herbs & spices
8 oz.

Dark Cherries in Merlot Syrup: See it being made!

Membrillo/Quince Paste

Quince is a pectin-rich fruit that figures in history as the original golden apples of mythology. It looks like an apple but exudes a heady perfume and is so firm it often needs cooking to be edible. In membrillo the fruit is mixed with sugar and cooked down to a thick paste that can be sliced. 

I first encountered this food in my marmalade research. It has been made in Spain since the Middle Ages and is traditionally eaten with manchego, a dry sheep's milk cheese from La Mancha. When the Moors brought the sour orange to Spain from North Africa it was discovered that this fruit was also high in pectin, and a similar paste was made from it that evolved into the citrus marmalades we know today. 

Quince came into my life quite by accident. I became friends with the owners of an auto repair shop that serviced my truck, Farmer's Market customers on the weekends they weren't at their country place in Humboldt County. It turned out that on their 20 acres west of Garberville they had planted a certified organic quince and apple orchard, and were about to bring in their first crop. 

It was Christmas Eve when I got a call from Mike that they were on their way. A few hours later he showed up with 500 pounds of end-of season quince. I spent the next 2 weeks in a frantic race against time to process it all, but the ripe fruit was superb, with waxy deeply colored yellow skin and a heavenly scent. 

Making membrillo is an arduous task. It takes me up to 17 hours to produce one 20-pound batch, from preparing the fruit to constantly stirring the volcanic mass as I boil it, bound up in mask, gloves and gauntlets, to hours more of baking. Reduce, reduce. But my result, after a few trials, was far superior even to Iberian imports, and has found great success in the fine cheese shops that now carry it. 

Enjoy my membrillo traditionally atop manchego cheese, or any firm salty cheese. Add a bit to meat sauces to thicken and add a fruity note. A regular Farmer's Market customer claims that adding this to her chili won her a chili cook-off contest!

Ingredients: quince, sugar, yuzu lemon, Texas lemon

Available in 1-pound (shown left) and quarter-pound (shown right) quantities.

Spiced Crab Apples

Considering their ubiquity 50 years ago it is stunning how completely Spiced Crab Apples disappeared from the American diet, a victim of the death of home canning and commercial versions with lurid red coloring and no flavor. They became a joke, then forgotten.

My farm visits are now mostly in summer and too early for apple anything. Occasionally there may be enough Duchess to eke out a pie or two. But often there will also be the Whitney crab apple limbs fringed with fruit, a reminder of the pickles my grandmother made from them. A few years back I decided I'd use them and make some.

I knew I'd have to improve on Grandma’s recipe to withstand the impossible perfection of memory. First I took out the water and added fruit juice, then some favorite spices. They came out so well my mom's made them every year since. One Farmer's Market customer was reduced to tears; "I haven't had these since my grandmother died 50 years ago!"

Here is your chance to renew old memories or make new ones. Enjoy year round with cheese or main course meats, pork, ham, turkey. For the novice: you will place them on the side of your plate and pick them up to eat them off the core as you would any apple.

Ingredients: crab apples, apple juice, sugar, cider vinegar, spices.

16 oz., 1 pt.

Spiced Crab Apples: See it being made!


More Features

Mission Statement Is it a Gift? Family Farm Images / Galleries Blog About Robert Media / Press

Your Shopping Cart Bookmark and Share



info@robertlambert.com Home

Robert Lambert - This store is powered by ShopSite web catalog software.