Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lemon Suck

Lately I happened to mention to someone that we never get enough lemons. As if to mock me, three unrelated people each presented us with a bagful last week, and we were faced with the delightful prospect of too many.

Given how hard it is to drink water in winter, we whipped up a fresh batch of lemon cordial to help the water slip down. And then we turned our attention to Lemon Suck.

Lemon Suck –what a wonderful name – is nothing more than a runny marmalade mixed with walnuts. Americans use it to flavour and sweeten their tea (they suck the remains, hence the name); we use it heaped on scones, or for a sweet-sour spoon treat in the mid-afternoon, or as a tangled garnish over lemony desserts. However you use it, it's delicious.

I begin with a Deborah Madison recipe, but as we don't use it in tea, I reduce the water to make it slightly less dribbly; and I quadruple the walnuts because I love the way they become almost candied and infused with lemon.

Lemon Suck

- 1 dozen organic unwaxed lemons, washed
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup shelled walnuts

Slice the lemons into thin rounds, discarding the ends. Place the water and sugar into a heavy based pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Gently lower the lemons into the pan – they will not be completely covered by the water, but as they soften they will submerge – and turn down the heat. Cook gently, moving the slices around from time to time, for 1 to 1½ hours, or until the lemons turn golden and the pith, opaque. Add the walnuts, stir gently to combine, and cook for another 5 minutes.

Pour into sterilized jars. Store in a cool dark place.

Adapted from a recipe by Deborah Madison in The Savory Way.

(Local: lemons, walnuts. Not local: sugar.)

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