It’s only been three weeks since our last encounter and I am still deeply mourning the end of a love affair.
I met the sassy Satsuma for the first time this year in the Cute Gardener’s backyard, where for the entire month of December it flourished like wild fire on one medium-sized tree, delivering never-ending pleasure to my tang-driven morning palate. A cardinal flame colored citrus breed between an orange and a tangerine native to the South (as in Louisiana and Alabama), it verges on a fine line between sour and sweet. It is also the easiest of all citruses to peel; the top or bottom literally comes off like a cap with one firm tug and the rest uncoils behind it. Fleshy, plump little sections bursting with juice are revealed and it’s easy to get sucked into eating two or three at one sitting.
Because they were so plentiful and I was literally having them hand delivered to me in bags of twenty or so at a time on a weekly basis throughout the early weeks of January, I enjoyed a very giving holiday season of inviting friends over to share the sprightly treats. Satsumas are an ideal complement to vanilla rooibos and herbal teas that incorporate dried fruits and berries and dark forest leaves and roots. They also go exquisitely well with caramels, slabs of dark chocolate bark and nuts of all types.
Although I could have eaten the fruits plain for an eternity, it was fun to challenge myself to come up with new ways to enjoy them. My favorite creation of this season was a decadent Mediterranean-inspired salad that I could imagine Cleopatra enjoying on the veranda of her palace.
2 small Satsumas, peeled and sectioned
2 small Medjool dates, chopped into small pieces
1 oz. crumbled Armenian feta
2 tbls. chopped almonds
1 tbls. olive oil
Toss first four ingredients together in a bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and eat.
When I was down to the last four Satsumas, I sadly bid them adieu with a celebratory drink. I juiced them into a glass and mixed in one teaspoon of organic, Peruvian maca powder that gave me a high zing for the rest of the day and tasted exactly like a butterscotch-tinged but superfood healthy version of an Orange Julius shake.
It was a short tryst but a memorable one nonetheless.