What ever happened to this beautiful art form?
Once, especially in winter when citrus fruits were in season, you would find, in greengrocers (not necessarily supermarkets) beautifully wrapped oranges, lemons, mandarines and other citrus fruits. According to it’s origin, the tissue would be mostly Italian or Spanish.
Now all the fruit is in plastic net bags with plastic labels.
My friend Cristina in Prato,in Tuscany, collected most of the beautiful papers shown here.The Spanish ones I found in a primeur (greengrocer) in Paris.
The reason for the wrappers? To protect the fruit from mould and cross contamination.The technique was apparently developed in the town of Orange, California in the 1880’s. The fruit was placed in crates in such a way, that the name of the company could be seen through the slats in the crate.
Here’s a recipe for something appropriately lemony.
120g caster sugar
The juice and grated zest of 2 large organic lemons
Put the cream in a large pan with the sugar, whisk well.
Bring slowly to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Take it off the heat, add lemon juice and zest and whisk well.
When cool, pour into 6 glasses or ramekins and refrigerate for 4-5 hours.
Serve with Shortbreads.
100g unsalted very soft butter
50g castor sugar
100g plain flour
pinch of sea salt
Cream the butter and sugar in the food processor.
Whisk the flours together to incorporate.
Add the flours and a pinch of salt to butter mix, process to combine.
Remove and knead into a cyclinder shape, cover with cling film and chill for i hour.
Preheat oven to 130°c.
Slice the cyclinder into thin disks,put on a parchment paper lined baking tray and bake for 45 minutes.
Remove with a spatula and cool on a wire rack. The shortbreads should be very pale in colour. When ready to serve sprinkle them with icing sugar.