Sunday, June 26, 2005

Cedrate: An ancient fruit, the actual modern equivalent is still in dispute. From a scholarly article in Petits Propos Cullinares 69 "Although all the modern authorities I consulted assured me that cedrate is the citron, in the past this does not seem to have been the case. Citrons and cedrates are referred to separately by d’Ohsson, writing in the late eighteenth century, for instance. Other evidence for and against is complex, inconsistent, and so far inconclusive. It is not helped either by Unger’s own confusion, which was what aroused my doubts about the identification in the first place. To cut a long and interesting story short, I tend to the conclusion that cedrate was the bergamot orange, a fruitful idea for which I am indebted to Ottoman historian Joyce Matthews."

Left: The bergamot orange.

According to Persian tradition the quince is an aphrodisiac, while the cedrate calms the physical passions.

The bergamot orange peel is the orgin of the bergamot essense used to make Earl Gray Tea. It is interesting to note that Earl Gray Tea used to be made from the leaves of tea originating in China, but today, most Earl Gray Tea uses India tea leaves.

What inspires me to write about cedrates today? Well, I opened a jar of "Cedrate Jam" this morning to top off some organic, homemade, whole wheat southern biscuits that I made for my Dad. One note is that the term 'jam' is a little misnomer, the jar I have from the maker Namakin is more like preserves. In fact, it was reminincent of my mother's homemade watermelon rind preserves. Quite tasty and different for a Sunday June morning. I could imaging myself in an ancient Persian garden while hearing the birds chirping outside my window in the trees.

Cedrate Jam can be found at Hatam's in San Rafael.

1 comment:

ubudesign said...

First time I had this jam was when I was 8 y.o. going north from Tehran to the Caspian Sea. You could buy it from locals along the roadside. Another jam from that region that's my favorate is "bahar nareng" which is orange or perhaps other citrus blossom made into jam.