Citrus medica L.

WITH THICK AND wrinkled skin, this citrus fruit native to Southeast Asia can be found in several formats, from rounder to more oval. According to Câmara Cascudo, in his História da alimentação no Brasil (History of Food in Brazil), its cultivation was introduced in the country by Portuguese colonists, in the sixteenth century. The thick, greenish, bitter peel is used to make a classic dessert of the Brazilian countryside tradition: Doce de cidra. The coarsely grated peel is parboiled several times and then cooked in heavy sugar syrup, in large copper pans, on wood-fired stoves. Attention: sidra in Portuguese means cider, the fermented beverage made with apple juice.