Thanks to Eve Jochnowitz for this guest post – important thoughts for anyone who is considering making etrog vodka or jam! Eve maintains a blog on Yiddish language, culture and food called In Mol Araan.
For many of us, one of the countless delights of the joyous Succoth festival just ended is the windfall of a citron (ethrog, etrog, or esrik), an unusual, delicious and generally difficult-to find fruit for most of the year. The citron (citrus medica) differs from its relative the lemon (citrus limon) in that it is less acid, with a deeper, rounder, slightly bitter flavor. The citron has considerable less juice and pulp than the lemon, and a thicker, pithier rind. For many years folks have been asking for citron recipes in the days following the holiday and I have always found this to be an inspiring challenge. Esrik-scented vodka was a revelation.
This year, regrettably, I must urge you to ignore all previously proffered esrik recipes. Find out why below.
I have now heard from two individuals, one of whom worked on an esrik farm, that we should under no circumstances eat our esrogim. Because there is so much pressure for the fruit to be as beautiful as possible, the esrogim are drenched with toxic pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides to an even greater extent than typical in conventional agriculture.
This raises some interesting questions about the nature of beauty, or where the beauty of a fruit resides. My own feeling is that a fruit soaked in chemical toxins is way less beautiful than an organic esrik would be, and I don’t even mean I need to eat the esrik or make the vodka, but just that such an esrik would be more beautiful for its own sake. What do you think? Might a growing demand for naturally beautiful esrogim change established practice?
Shake & Reuse: Lulav and Etrog
Bacon Vodka is the New Ham Soda
Wait Until Next Year…
Photo Credit (and another interesting etrog article) from: Sustainable Judaism