Orange Marinated Red Pepper

I love bell peppers but I can’t eat them raw so I don’t buy them often because of that.  Which is a shame, really, because bell peppers add a lot of flavor to salads and can be a great snack.

I read Marc Matsumoto’s blog “No Recipes” (and you should too!  His recipes are amazing!) and one day I received a post about “Grapefruit Pickled Peppers” and was very intrigued.  I read through the recipe and I had to try the method immediately.  This method makes a very crisp, marinated pepper that you can eat right out of the jar.  Marinating the peppers in a citrus juice “cooks” the peppers as the acid will break down the fibers a little bit. I have been eating these peppers almost everyday in an afternoon snack salad.  I hesitate to call these peppers “pickles” because technically they are not pickles, so I call them “marinated” peppers.

In Marc’s recipe, he uses grapefruit juice but I had some orange juice from making the Carne Asada, so I stuck to his method but used orange juice instead.  I also didn’t have any fresh cilantro on hand.  Knowing that cilantro has a peppery flavor, I used dried celery and peppercorn that I had.  I also didn’t have lemon juice on hand so I used a dried lemon rind with the pepper.

Orange Marinated Red Pepper

Adapted from Pickled Peppers Recipe of No Recipes

Yield:  1 quart

2 cups Orange Juice
1 teaspoon dried celery
2 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon peppercorn
1 dried lemon rind
1 bay leaf
2 red bell pepper

  1. In a large bowl combine orange juice and kosher salt
  2. In a quart jar add the dried celery and peppercorn.
  3. Slice the pepper and stuff it in the quart jar.  Stuff the bay leaf and dried lemon rind in with the peppers.  Pour the orange juice over the peppers.  Cover and refrigerate.  Use within 2 weeks.

Triple Sec

I came across this recipe just in time.  I was fresh out of Triple Sec and down to my last dash of Cointreau and I was going to go out and buy an orange liqueur when I came across this gem.  I love, love, love margaritas and since I love making my own homemade liqueurs I decided, “why not?” (if you’ve been following me from the inception of this blog, you probably have realized that I just go for it when it comes to making my own food.)  I had just gotten my crate of oranges from Pearson Ranch California Oranges and wanted to use a few for this liqueur and am I glad I did.

Homemade Triple Sec!  Can’t wait to try this!

It’s ridiculous how excited I am to share this liqueur recipe with you.  It’s just so, so yummy and if you start it now it will be ready by summer.   Can you say MARGARITAVILLE?  Eat your heart out Buffet!  These help make *the best* homemade margaritas – ever!

Also, did you know that it’s International Scurvy Awareness Day?  Limestrong is a non-profit organization who’s focus is to “eradicate” scurvy.  Now, we know that scurvy will never be eradicated but through awareness we hope to reduce any new develpments.  Scurvy is a condition caused by the lack of Vitamin C and a way to combat ever getting scurvy is by eating fresh fruits and veggies, especially citrus!  So, yes, go make a margarita with your new homemade triple sec!  Your body will thank you!
 To make the Triple Sec you want 10 oranges.  Using a vegetable peeler, you want to peel the zest from 4 oranges (much like we did for the limoncello) and put them in a half gallon jar.  Next you want to juice the oranges until you have 2 cups of juice.  In a large pan, you want to heat sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved, then, while stirring, you want to add the orange juice.  Cool the syrup completely and add it to your half gallon jar.  Then add the vodka.  You can also use everclear but since only four cups is used in this recipe, I decided to use vodka.  Cover and place in a cool spot for at least a month.  Strain and bottle.

I see soooooooo many margaritas in my future!
Triple Sec
Yield:  about one and a half 750ml bottles
10 oranges
4 cups sugar
1 cup water
4 cups vodka or grain alcohol
  1. Using a potato peeler, zest 4 oranges, much like we did for limoncello.  Add the peel to a half gallon jar.
  2. Juice all the oranges until you have 2 cups.
  3. In a large pot, heat sugar and water until all the sugar is dissolved.  Once the sugar is dissolved, slowly pour in the orange juice while stirring. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.  Take off heat and let cool completely.
  4. Once the syrup is completely cooled, pour into the half gallon jar over the orange zest.
  5. Add vodka or grain alcohol.
  6. Cover and let steep in a cool spot for at least a month.
  7. Strain and bottle
  8. Enjoy summertime margaritas!

Don’t Waste That: Citrus Peels

I hate waste of any kind.  If I throw something out I feel so ashamed and guilty.  Some people may call me cheap but when something is perfectly fine, I try to find another use for it.  One thing that has a lot of uses are citrus peels.  I save them.  All of them.  If I take an orange to work, I wrap up the orange peel in a paper towel and bring it home – I know, I know.  I can feel your judging eyes.  If I use the juice of a lemon or lime in a recipe, I save the peel. 

These last few weeks I’ve been eating an orange a day and I’ve been saving those peels for another use:  Orange Vinegar.

When I make orange vinegar for eating, I always zest the orange because the pith will give the vinegar a bitter taste.  Add the orange zest to a quart jar, fill with vinegar, and steep. 

After it’s steeped for a good amount of time (a month or more; taste it to make sure it’s at the flavor you want), strain and bottle.  This vinegar is yummy in a lot of things: adding it in marinades, adding to sauteed greens, using it in a salad dressing.  The possibilities are endless.

Another tip: do not throw the pith out after you zest it.  Throw the pith down your garbage disposal, turn it on, and it will help disinfect and clean it!

If I can’t get around to using the peel right away, I save them in my citrus peel bag.  My citrus peel bag has peels from an assortment of citrus that I keep in my freezer.

Limes, Lemons, Oranges, Grapefruit, you name it it’s in here!

My citrus peel bag is specifically for making citrus cleaning vinegar.  I do not remove the zest from the pith.  I just fill up a quart jar with the reserved frozen peel, fill the quart jar up with white vinegar, give it a good shake, and let it steep on my window sill.

I let them steep for a long while; usually I forget about them.  When I think the vinegar is ready I strain and bottle it. 

See how pale the peels are?  that’s what we’re shooting for!

I fill up a squeezie bottle with citrus cleaning vinegar to use as a rinse in my dishwasher and I also half it with water to use it as a cleaning solution in a spray bottle.  I label it Cleaning Vinegar.

No, it doesn’t look tasty…& it’s not!  This solution is simply for cleaning!

Preserved Oranges

Remember when we did Preserved Lemons?  Well, you can do the same thing with oranges (and limes and gragefruit, basically any citrus)!  I don’t use preserved oranges as much as preserved lemons but they are great for a well stocked home bar.  You know all those annoying drink recipes that call for a “twist of orange” and you’re like, “Damn it!  I’m not going to buy an orange just for a twist!”  I just replace that twist with a sliver of preserve orange rind!  It gives your drink the same oomph as a fresh twist and you don’t have to do without; plus, you can eat the rind!

Preserved Oranges


4 Oranges
4 T Kosher Salt


  1. Slice 4 oranges into eights – maybe smaller depending on how big you want your slices to be and how big your oranges are
  2. In a sterile quart jar, sprinkle about a half tablespoon (I use one generous pinch) into the bottomof the jar.  Lay around 6-8 slices into the jar and push them down until they start to express their juices.
  3. Sprinkle half a tablespoon over the layer of orange slices
  4. Repeat layering oranges and kosher salt until you fill the quart jar up to the neck.
  5. Let oranges sit on your counter for 24 hours.  After 24 hours, fill the quart with fresh orange juice, ensuring that you cover the oranges.
  6. Let the oranges sit for a week.
  7. Label and place in the fridge.  After a week in the fridge, check your oranges.  If they have expanded add more juice to cover.  They will keep about a year in the fridge.

Three Citrus Marmalade

I’ve always been on the fence about marmalade.  Some commercial marmamalades are too tart, some are too bitter, and some are too sweet.  There are hardly any that I could find that I really truely liked.  So, when I recieved Eugenia Bone’s book Well-Preserved, it surprised me that I really wanted to try her Three Citrus Marmalade.  It sounded so good on the page.  Yes, the very first jam I ever made was a marmalade (what can I say?  I’m an overachiever!).  It was hell.  I stayed up until 4 am making it…but you know what?  The next day when I tried some of the excess marmalade with toast, it was amazing.  The.  Best.  Marmalade.  Ever.  Having a mix of three different citrus really balances out the individual strong flavors of all the citrus.  I really want you to make this marmalade.  Really.

The name of the marmalade says it all:  Three Citrus.  You can use any three citrus you want just be sure to use oranges and lemons.  You can use ruby red grapefruit, seville oranges, navel oranges, cara-cara oranges, meyer lemons, ponderosa lemons, etc; as long as you stay with the ratio 1 grapefruit:  3 oranges: 2 lemons  For this batch, I used a pomelo, 3 navel oranges, and 2 lemons.  The easiest way to make this marmalade is in two days.  If you break it down into two days, you won’t be up until the wee hours of the morning finishing the marmalade.

On the first day, once you have scrubbed and dried your citrus, you want to peel each citrus in as large of pieces as you can get.  It’s easiest to do this with a paring knife.  A paring knife will allow you to make equal sizes of peel.  You’ll then cut off as much pith from the peel as possible. 
Once you have the citrus peel cleaned.  You will cut the citrus peel into small matchsticks until you have one cup.  I don’t like the taste of grapefruit peel so I leave it out (I find it too bitter) but I alternate between lemon and orange peel so that I have an equal amount of both.  Some people like all orange, some people like all lemon.  It’s really up to you and what you enjoy.

In a medium pot, add the slivers of rind and cover with 3 cups of water.  Cook over medium heat for about 25 minutes.  Do not drain.


 You will cut the citrus in half across the equator and pop out any seeds.  Using your food processor, blend up the citrus into a pulp.  At this point you want to measure your pulp.  However much pulp you end up with, you will add that much sugar on day 2.  I had 4 cups of pulp. 

Pour this pulp into the pot with the rinds and water.  You will stir this up, cover, and put in the fridge overnight.

On day two, transfer the pulp mixture into a wide heavy pot.  Add the sugar in accordance with how many cups of pulp you ended up with the night before (I added 3 cups, 4 cups is just too sweet for me) and a teaspoon of butter (the butter will help the marmalade from foaming up).   Cook over medium low heat until your candy thermometer reaches 220 degrees.

You will need to prepare at least 4 half pint jars.  I always have extra with this recipe, however, so I always prepare 5-6 half pints.  I ended up with 5 half pints and an 1/8 of a cup that I poured in a ramekin to put in the fridge.  Process using BWB for 10 minutes



Three Citrus Marmalade
Yield:  4 half pints
1 Grapefruit
3 Oranges
2 Lemons
3 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon of butter
Day 1
  1. Peel citrus in as big of pieces as possible.  Cut most of the white pith off of the rind.  Cut the rind, alternating between citrus peel, into little match stick until you have 1 cup.  Pour rind into a medium pot, cover the rind with 3 cups of water and cook at medium high heat for 25 minutes.  Do  not drain.
  2. Cut the citrus in half across the equator, pop out the seeds, and grind in your food processor until you have a thick consistent pulp.
  3. Measure the pulp and take a mental note of how many cups you had.
  4. Pour the pulp into the pot with the citrus rinds, cover, and put in fridge to rest overnight
Day 2
  1. Prepare 6 half pint jars per “Kitchen Tactics:  Boiling Water Bath Canning”
  2. Pour pulp mixture into large, wide pot.  Add 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of pulp.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of butter
  4. Cook over medium low heat until candy thermometer reaches 220.
  5. Pour into prepared half pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.
  6. Process for 10 minutes

A Few of My Favorite Things: Pearson Ranch California Oranges

I adore lemons probably more than any other food, especially of the citrus group.  I grew up in Arizona and always took lemons, well citrus in general, for granted.  They were everywhere and always for free.  Someone somewhere, either at work or in your neighborhood, had a lemon tree that just grew too many lemons.

No more scurvy for me!  Yar!

Then I moved to Maryland and the the lemon party was over.  WHAT?!  How do these people live without lemons?!  I didn’t even know it was possible.  Lemons are worth their weight in gold here.  The sad thing is, citrus in Maryland are generally in a sad state.  By the time they are picked by the corporate Florida farms, then boxed, shipped to a distribution corporation, trucked to Maryland, distributed to the grocery store, wait in the grocery store cold room, make it to the shelves, to *finally* get picked by a customer, the citrus are dried and shriveled.  It’s really quite sad.  That should not be the life of a citrus fruit.  The citrus you can find from the Farmer’s Markets are not much better, considering that they still have to get trucked to the farmers – and some of the farmers that sell year round do deal with distribution companies.  After my upteenth dried out orange/lime/lemon, I have, for the most part, stayed away from citrus since I’ve been here.
Then I got depressed and homesick around February.  It was another cold day.  I needed a pick me up. 

I needed lemons.

I did a search online and did a little research.  A few of my requirements were direct delivery, no distribution centers, and a locally/family owned farm.

I came across Pearson Ranch California Oranges.  Ok, ok, I know that California is not local to Maryland -BUT- it is family owned and not a huge corporate farm conglomerate.  They are a conventional citrus farm, they specialize in direct delivery to their customers, and they have a lot of East Coast customers.  They have a monthly lemon and orange club that you can join, they have combo citrus packs, and they also have a plethora of different citrus to choose from; from Pomelos to Meyer Lemons to Keffir Limes and Blood Oranges.  If there is a citrus you want, they more than likely have it.  However, they do go by seasons so do keep that in mind.

Farmer Tony is the owner and he is very acessible through email and Facebook.  All of their employees are quick to respond and are very helpful – and – the most important thing, their citrus are delicious!

Dried Citrus Zest Strips

I was in the grocery store today as there was meat on sale and because I can never go to the grocery store for only one thing, I ran into this in the spice aisle:

SIX DOLLARS AND 50 CENTS?!  SIX DOLLARS AND 50 CENTS for 1.5oz of “California Lemon Peel”?!  Are you kidding me?!  Is this stuff powdered gold?!  And, knowing how corporations like to cut corners, you know that this is not made from Meyer Lemons. 

But wait, it gets better!

FIVE DOLLAR AND 50 CENTS!  FIVE DOLLARS AND 50 CENTS for 1.5oz of “Valencia Orange Peel”  If Lemon Peel is powdered gold then Orange Peel must be powdered copper!

Being from Arizona, my first reaction was to laugh out loud hysterically in the aisle of the grocery store, then I started taking pictures.  I think the Marylanders in the grocery store must of thought I was insane for making such a big deal about dried citrus peel.  I wanted to walk up to random people in the grocery store and yell at them about how they are being ripped off!  haha.

Lets look at the ingredients lists:

To be fair, this is a pretty good ingredients list with only two ingredients but the second ingredient is Sodium Sulfate.  Sodium sulfate is a salt that is mainly used in the manufacture of detergents and paper pulp.

Folks, I’ve got a real easy method for you and you don’t have to break the bank to do it either.  Grab your vegetable peeler, grab the citrus of your choice, and peel the zest right off those citrus (much like the way we did for the limoncello ).  Make sure you limit the amount of pith on the zest as the pith is bitter.  The zest hold all the apparent powdered gold – or powdered copper for that matter.

Lay those peels in a single layer in your dehydrator and check them every 4 hours or so.  Most of my peels dried overnight.  Once they are done drying put them on a plate to cool off.  Once they are completely cooled, place them in a pint jar.  OR, you can lay them on a single layer on a plate or cookie sheet and let them dry at their own pace.

BAM!  Ingredients:  Citrus Peel

You can pulverize them into a powder, place a couple of peels in a grinder with peppercorn and sea salt to use as a spice on chicken or fish, or grab a strip and drop it in your water!