Tangerine sorbet and citrus tangents
January 13, 2022 8:05 AM   Subscribe

Author and pastry chef David Lebovitz shares a recipe for tangerine sorbet and musings on citrus. Lebovitz also links to his recipe for bergamot marmalade, references the California Rare Fruit Growers organization, and name-checks kumquats (which are "either members of the citrus family, or they're not".)

Something else to chew on: a Smithsonian interview with fruit detective David Karp. ("Each fruit is a world unto itself.")

Other recent citrus posts:

The loose boys are back [satsuma mandarins]

Grapefruit Is One of the Weirdest Fruits on the Planet
posted by fruitslinger (27 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
As someone who makes a lot of frozen desserts at home.....that tangerine sorbet sounds legit.
posted by gimonca at 8:11 AM on January 13

Kumquats are citrus imo. They grow on trees that look like citrus trees, they have citrus characteristics like rough skin and seeds inside.

But they are like grapes in that you eat the entire thing, rind and all, even though individually the rind tastes terrible.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:32 AM on January 13

Delectable and eponisterical!
posted by gwint at 8:33 AM on January 13 [3 favorites]

I was also confused about the bergamot marmalade piece because I've got bergamot growing in my garden and it's a flowering plant in the mint family. Turns out there are not two but three different plants with that name.
posted by gwint at 8:39 AM on January 13 [14 favorites]

Yes, I had never known about bergamot as a fruit until a friend started making bergamot marmalade himself.
posted by briank at 8:46 AM on January 13

For this past thanksgiving I made the cranberry sauce using bergamot citrus juice and zest and it was amazing. I can't wait to try the marmalade when they come back into season.
posted by Dr. Twist at 8:46 AM on January 13

One of my favorite Argentine ice cream flavors is candied kumquats in a whiskey-cream base. I wish I had a reliable source on fresh kumquats because I'd love to try to replicate it.
posted by dr. boludo at 8:52 AM on January 13 [5 favorites]

TIL that mandarinquats exist! If any of you lovely people have ever seen one in the wild and could help me obtain one or two (especially if that's possible around Rosh Hashana time) it would make me insanely happy.
posted by Mchelly at 8:57 AM on January 13

Citrus rules!! In our yard we've got a ruby red grapefruit tree, two Meyer lemons, a key lime, and I just planted a satsuma tree last week. My mom's got a giant sour orange tree (that we use for mojos and naranjada and sour orange pie), there's wild calomondins growing a few blocks away (that we finally made marmalade from this year, it was amazing), and we just got my brother in law a Cara Cara orange tree that I cannot WAIT to eat some fruit off of.

Very intrigued by mandarinquats, will definitely keep my eyes peeled (no pun intended).
posted by saladin at 9:10 AM on January 13 [3 favorites]

even though individually the rind tastes terrible.
posted by The_Vegetables

Flagged for blatant anti-fruit bias!
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:10 AM on January 13 [3 favorites]

I made an Asian Pear salad once with thinly
Sliced vanilla-syrup poached kumquats. It was really good, but required a lot of seeding.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:12 AM on January 13

Portland residents: if you are interested in the less common citrus varieties, New Seasons Market (or at least the Mountain Park store) carries a bewildering array of citrus in november. I counted at least 3 varieties of kumquat, not counting cross breeds like limequats.
posted by Dr. Twist at 9:46 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]

Shiiiiiiiit, I think we peeled kumquats, back when I was a kid and we got a bag of them, from maybe one of my dad's business contacts.

Boy, was that a lot of effort for not much return!
posted by wenestvedt at 10:37 AM on January 13 [3 favorites]

kumquat may, I shall try these deserts.
posted by lalochezia at 10:40 AM on January 13 [3 favorites]

Once while walking through the Garden District in New Orleans with a couple of friends, we passed a kumquat tree in full fruit -- the branches were loaded and there were fruits all over the ground. I remarked that we should ask if the homeowner would let us take some, and a voice called out of a nearby window, "Yes, please do!" The resident lamented that they loved kumquats but the tree produced so many that it was a nuisance that attracted rodents and flies. They even gave us a plastic bag to carry as many as we liked. We loaded up and enjoyed them as a snack, and still brought enough home from our trip to make a couple pints of marmalade. It was glorious.
posted by me3dia at 10:41 AM on January 13 [11 favorites]

Portland residents: if you are interested in the less common citrus varieties, New Seasons Market (or at least the Mountain Park store)

My wife brought a bag of bergamot oranges home from their Cedar Hills location last month. Bergamot juice + seltzer = INCREDIBLE. I’m sure it would make a great lemonade as well; might need to go back and get another bag.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 11:15 AM on January 13

My wife's grandparents have a couple of kumquat bushes at their house which are usually good for a couple of kumquats whenever we visit. I've even had some in January when it's below freezing there so I've added it to the mental list of fruit trees I could probably grow here in Toronto by keeping them in a large pot and bringing them into the shed over the winter. Feels like a bit too much work right now but who knows what the future will bring.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:25 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]

I've made tangerine Margaritas, recommend, and I love grapefruit marmalade, would love to try kumquat or other varieties. I'm in Maine, envying saladin's fruit tree bonanza.
posted by theora55 at 11:40 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]

Ooh, ooh! Is this where I get to share my original recipe for a cocktail made with Rangpur limes, which are not limes but a cross between a mandarin and a citron? OK!

Rangpur, After the Monsoon (shaken, double OF)

1 medium Rangpur lime, cut onto eighths
1.5 oz No. 209 gin
.75 oz Saffron-Rosewater syrup †
.5 oz lime juice
Makrut lime leaf chiffonade, for garnish

Put the cut up Rangpur lime into the small end of a metal cocktail shaker.
Muddle the fruit to express the juice.
Add the gin, syrup, and lime juice, along with ice.
Seal the shaker, shake hard for 15 seconds.
Open the shaker and dump everything into the Old Fashioned glass, adding more ice if needed.
Garnish with the chiffonde, add a short straw if desired, serve.

† - Saffron-Rosewater Syrup
(AKA Saffron Sharbat)


1.25 Cups Water
2 Cups Sugar
.25 cup Rose Water
Saffron Extract [See sub-recipe below]

Add water and sugar to a heavy bottom pan.
Heat till all the sugar is dissolved.
Turn off heat and let cool.
Add saffron extract (including the saffron threads) and rose water to the sugar syrup.
Cool completely and bottle.
Store refrigerated.

Saffron Extract


Generous 1/4 teaspoon Saffron strands (.5 gm)
1 Tablespoon Water

Heat water in microwave or on stove top to near boil
Crush saffron strands between thumb and finger while adding to the hot water.
Let it steep about 15 minutes
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 11:45 AM on January 13 [8 favorites]

I loved this part:
She and I had a long chat about that after a journalist tried to pit us against each other in a story, which didn’t pan out. We bakers and ice cream-makers stick together, through thick and thin, churned and frozen.
posted by Lexica at 11:50 AM on January 13 [5 favorites]

I'm in Maine, envying saladin's fruit tree bonanza.

Ha, I visited a friend near Lewiston a few years back and was so jealous of her backyard full of apples and pears and cherries and raspberries. Y'all can grow so much great stuff that will cook to death down here in the heat of Florida!
posted by saladin at 12:02 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

I guess maybe this is the thread to mention that Frog Hollow Farm is shipping Dancy tangerines right now? I just got an email about it. That's the varietal I grew up eating from backyard trees and (at least in my experience) while they may have a lot of seeds, they have a deeper "tangerine" flavor than a lot of the mandarins and clementines you get at the store.

I haven't ordered any because I know my mom would be furious to hear I paid THAT for a dozen Dancys when she could just mail me some for free.
posted by potrzebie at 12:34 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

I miss Frog Hollow Farm peaches. Great post, saladin. Thanks!
posted by Bella Donna at 1:47 PM on January 13

Kumquats are "a member of the Citrus family," and there's no longer really scope for well-informed good faith differences of opinion about that. Kumquats
... are in fact nested within the citrus clade. These and other distinct clades that we have identified are therefore more appropriately considered species within the genus Citrus, on a par with those that formerly were referred to as the three ‘true’ or ‘biological’ species (C. reticulata, C. maxima and C. medica).
posted by Aardvark Cheeselog at 2:04 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]

David Lebovotz's plum sorbet is very good. I don't even like plums that much but I've made it many times. Basically as delicious as raspberry sorbet but much cheaper!

The Gastropod podcast episode about citrus is one of my favorites to if you like to listen to your food facts.
posted by carolr at 9:17 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]

I'm churning a batch of the tangerine sorbet right now. Interestingly, that this recipe is also in his cookbook The Perfect Scoop, which is on my bookshelf and from which I've made my last few batches of ice cream. The cookbook version is slightly different—20g more sugar, no booze, the zest of one tangerine rather than two, and the zest gets warmed with the sugar rather than added straight to the juice. I didn't realize this until after I'd mixed mine up, but the complexity of a hint of juniper-y gin with the tangerine is part of what got me to go ahead and make this now…
posted by JiBB at 10:58 AM on January 17

And it turned out delicious. The hint of gin is definitely a good thing, to my taste. I've annotated the cookbook version, for when I make this again.
posted by JiBB at 11:52 AM on January 17

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