Ripe To You is located in the Central Valley of California, specializes in the more 'exotic' types of citrus and can ship anywhere! I immediately bought a minimum order of 6 pounds of the sour Seville orange to start playing with them. Whee!
First thing I did was to make an orange sauce out of my Renaissance cookbook for the Roasted Lamb Shoulder I picked up.... as the recipe was similar to Sauce Bigararde, I should have used more oranges. Ah, well, it was still decent if only lightly orange-flavored.
Next, I used the juice and zest of a Seville for another Renaissance recipe -- candied sweet potatoes. Believe it or not, sweet potatoes were known in Europe long before the starchy potato. In the 1600's, sweet potatoes were a rare treat usually seen at holiday feasts... and it was also considered an aphrodisiac, given out as gifts. This version had a wonderful texture (heavy on the butter in the baking); the added contrast of the sharp orange flavor was a nice change over the modern favorite of brown sugar and cinnamon.
I intend on taking a couple oranges over to my neighbor Guppy to let him candy the orange peel while I make the more medieval version which I jokingly call "citrus chips" as they use just the zest without the pith so they don't have the softness of candied peel. The period term was "dry suckets" compared to peel (or candied roots) stored in syrup which was called "wet suckets". I also intend on drying one orange's peel for use in liquour making (it is the essential ingredient of Curaçao and Grand Marnier) and of course Seville oranges are required for making true Orange Marmalade.
Meanwhile, I'm also processing some 8 pounds of rosehips from the garden.... better late than never. Our landlady loves roses but doesn't do much to them (good: no pesticides, good: no deadheading so the rosehips develop, bad: no pruning so they're wild monsters) sobigtig and I have been pruned down the to or three biggest bushes, and I've plucked all the rosehips off them that were worth saving. Next year I'll have it marked on my calendar when the best time to picking rosehips will be so I'll get more of them without tossing out a third because they've gone bad. Rosehips are another of those "lost traditions" that is making a comeback -- in generations past, they were heavily used as the hips have an enormous amount of Vitamin C, and rosehip syrup can be added to a number of recipes or turned into jelly or (if you're willing to do the work) jam. I took a picture of some of the hips looking like miniature pumpkins -- like pumpkins, the hips have a hollow center filled with seeds, and like pumpkins you need to scoop the seeds out to use the flesh. Unlike pumpkins, rose seeds are covered with very fine 'sliver hairs' that cause itching on your skin almost instantly and are not recommended to be eaten. As hips are a good deal smaller than pumpkins and the seeds are pretty large, using a small sharp knife to pry the seeds out and scrape the core clean is necessary. I tried it with a couple of hips and found it time consuming, so I'm not making jam this year... but I'll try it next year.
Now if I can only find mutton instead of just lamb.... :)