Friday, July 30, 2010

Lemon marmalade and history

We'd love to hear from people who know about the history of fruit and nut trees in the Blue Mountains, records of:
the pre-settlement Indigenous plants that local Indigenous people ate and that kept them healthy through their medicinal properties;
the early settlers who farmed and gardened to feed themselves and provide produce for small local markets;
twentieth century developments.

In a little tome that is a cross between a volume of local history and a cookery book — The Blue Mountains Olde and New Ways Cookbook by Juliette Palmer Frederick (Katoomba 1992) — there is a recipe for a simple lemon marmalade that follows.

Take four lemons and cover with water (under 600 ml) in a saucepan.
Boil till the lemons are tender and switch off heat.
Remove, halve and de-pip the lemons, then dice or slice them finely.
Return chopped fruit and juice to liquid in saucepan.
Add 500 gm sugar and boil fast for, say 15 mins, i.e. till setting stage is reached.
Place in sterilised jars and seal.

This is the kind of information that we'll be sharing at our next workshop at Kihilla on Saturday 14 August. Hope to see you there!

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We can harvest a wide range of fruits and nuts locally each season.

Local fruit and/or nut gardeners are invited to make additions or suggest modifications to the following work-in-progress compiled by Lizzie Connor.


Across the mountains: loquat, mulberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late spring) raspberry

Best in the lower mountains: avocado, jaboticaba, lemonade


Across the mountains: apricot, blueberry, boysenberry, cherry, currant (red, black, white), gooseberry, kumquat, loganberry, loquat, mulberry,nectarine, peach, plum, raspberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late summer) almond, apple, fig, hazelnut, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), pomegranate, youngberry

Best in lower mountains:lemon (Eureka), lemonade, lime, mandarin, orange, persimmon (non-astringent) and (in late summer) avocado, babaco, macadamia, rockmelon, wampee, watermelon

Best in upper mountains: jostaberry, lemon (Meyer), persimmon (astringent)


Across the mountains: almond, apple, chestnut, feijoa, fig, grape, hazel, kiwi fruit, kumquat, medlar, olive, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), plum, quince, raspberry (some), rhubarb, strawberry, strawberry guava, walnut

Best in lower mountains: avocado, babaco, cherimoya, grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), macademia, monstera deliciosa, orange, pine nut, pistachio, rockmelon, tamarillo, walnut, watermelon, white sapote

Best in upper mountains: lemon (Meyer), mandarin (Satsuma)


Across the mountains: apple, hazelnut, kiwi fruit, kumquat, pear (incl. nashi)

Best in lower mountains: grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), orange, tangelo

Best in upper mountains: avocado (Bacon), lemon (Meyer)