Sunday, January 20, 2008

Marmalade Marathon!

Last weekend when I traveled to Sarasota, I stopped at Hancock Groves in Dade City (along I-75) for some Florida citrus.

Since I'm not a native Floridian, it's not odd for me to purchase it. If I were a native Floridian, it would be odd. I was speaking to someone from Florida's Department of Citrus last year and she said Floridians purchase the least amount of Florida citrus. Perhaps it's like living near Niagara Falls, it's always going to be there so why visit it? Anyway...

I ended up with a quarter bushel of pink grapefruit, navel oranges and tangelos. The bag was full, so I thought, until the clerk helped me stuff three or four more oranges in there.

Have I told you how much I love Florida citrus???

After getting what I call, "the Florida Sunshine," home, I thought, "there's no way I can eat all this before it spoils." Thank goodness for the Internet!

I searched for EASY marmalade recipes. I emphasize easy because there are some pretty complicated ones out there, ones that take TWO days to make. Also, most of the recipes I found contain lemon. Why lemon? Had to make a special run to the grocery store for that.

First I made grapefruit marmalade and even included the rind (to make it authentic). I used this "Blushing Grapefruit Marmalade Recipe" over at YumYum.com because it was quick and relatively easy. I imagine boiling the rind with baking soda helps break down the rind rather than letting it set over night (as most recipes suggested).

Next was my injury (read here if you haven't already) and finally was orange marmalade. I found the recipe over at PickYourOwn.org. I love this site. It helps me locate u-pick places in the Tallahassee area, has canning recipes and offers tips about canning.

Let me tell ya, making marmalade is hard! Suppose hard isn't the word, just time consuming. I probably spent 8 hours making both batches. With the grapefruit, I had to slice out the white pith from the rind then slice into narrow strips.

And, the orange came out a little runny but the recipe said it won't set for another two weeks. I hope so! Otherwise I just made a nice topping for ice cream. Didn't include the orange rinds in this one, didn't have the patience.

What am I going to do with it all? Not sure. I have about twenty jars of the stuff, suppose I'll have them as hostess gifts (I'm heading to Texas next week and seeing a friend from Yellowstone, she'll appreciate it). They should be okay for 12 to 18 months.

Hungry for more foods from the Sunshine State? Read my article, "Savoring the Flavor of Your Florida Vacation."

A Trojan in the Kitchen

Living single has its upsides and downsides. The upside is when goofy things happen in the privacy of my own home, I don't have to share them and reveal what a geek I am. The downside is when goofy things happen, I don't have anyone to immediately share them and show what a geek I am.

Hemming and hawing over this incident, I've decided to share...

Yesterday was my marmalade maelstrom - see the proceeding post. In between grapefruit and orange, I somehow chipped one of my nails (not in the fruit) and went hunting for my nail clippers. The first place I looked was my travel toiletry bag.

I stuck my hand in, reached around and felt a funny sensation on the ring finger of my right hand. It wasn't quite pain but almost a tickle.

I looked in the bag and saw a Pink Bic Lady Disposable Razor.

"Oh, no," I thought, then looked at my finger.

I sliced a thin layer of skin, the area about the size of a dime. The skin held on for dear life. Blood started to seep out yet, I couldn't feel any pain until I rinsed it under the sink.

"OUCH!" I was in pain. [Note: Well, "ouch" isn't the exact word, just trying to keep things clean] Blood kept oozing out and splattered into the sink (I didn't realize how much blood's in a fingertip). Worst of all, I had marmalade to make and getting injured was not in the plan!

I took my bandaged finger into the kitchen and proceeded to wash the dishes for the next round of marmalade. Not good. I was in pain.

Acidic citrus and dish soap made the pain unbearable. I needed a way to get the dishes clean and move to the next project!

I know what you're thinking. Use rubber gloves. That would be nice if I had rubber gloves. But that wasn't my first thought...

My first thought was a flashback to when I worked in Yellowstone. I thought, "latex." We used finger rubbers to roll on our digits to protect our wounds from the food (and vice versa) we worked with.

Perhaps you can see where this is going. I first tried to remember if I had any balloons around and decided if I did, would have no idea where to find them.

My last resort was, well, a condom. I mean, it's obvious I won't be needing it for its intended purpose anytime soon and I'm sure it was well beyond its expiration date. I grabbed a Trojan and popped it on my finger (well, in order for it to stay on, I put three fingers in there) and washed away. I'm sure this isn't what their new tag line of "Use a condom every time," was intended for.

"This is working out pretty good," I thought as the wound stayed dry and there wasn't any pain. I thought I was clever.

But things soon changed.

Pain shot through my arm as I scrubbed the marmalade pot. It was the kind of pain that pushes you on the brink of passing out.

I looked at my finger rubber to see...

...the Trojan had broke!

I had the same reaction as anyone else who has had one break, "Oh, $#!7."

Bucking up the pain and wondering if I was exposing my finger to any kind of infection due to the breakage, I finished the dishes. Next was cutting the citrus - oranges and lemons - without any type of protection. Can you feel my pain?

So, I have to ask. Have you used a Trojan for anything other than its intended purpose?