Monday, May 13, 2013

Adventures in Food Preservation, Part 4: Marmalade!

I've made jam a couple times before but because you've got to be exact, I've found the process intimidating to take on by myself.  But it's ever-so-fun in a group.  Get a good source for detailed instructions: our text is great (and cheap), Preserving Summer's Bounty, there's of course lots of info online, and it's a good idea to follow the directions on the box (if you get your pectin in a box).

There is a good deal of equipment needed for jamming:
  • large pot
  • canning rack that will fit into said pot
  • canning jars (can be reused)
  • new lids (these can't be heated twice)
  • rings (can be reused)
Not technically required but very useful:
  • magnetic lid wand (sounds dumb but keeps scorching hot lids sterile)
  • jar lifter (basically tongs with grip)
  • wide-mouthed funnel
  • thin spatula to scrape inside of filled jars to remove any air bubbles
Yes, it's a bit labor intenstive (cleaning and sterilizing all jars and such ahead of time...) but the results are pretty amazing and cheap (especially if you're growing it or foraging) and all your loved ones will feel so fortunate if they get some.

We burnt the marmarlade (ever so slightly) and it was good!  So let's just call it caramelized:

Orange Marmalade
3 pounds (about 12 small) oranges: ours were assorted varieties from Dennis, who can be found at the Little Italy and other SD farmers markets, including low acid vanilla pinks and blood oranges, which gave the marmalade a rich, dark color.
1 Eureka lemon
1 Meyer lemon
4 cups filtered water
4 cups sugar (we used evaporated cane)

Scrub the fruit clean. I do not use soap (yuck); just rubbing and water.

Cut in half and juice the oranges (you need 2 cups of juice), saving all the seeds & membranes in a muslin bag or cheesecloth (cuz we're making our own pectin!)  Scrape the white pith (and save in the bag) from the oranges.  Julienne the peels (for 4 cups).

Cut Eureka lemon in half and juice.  Add the juice to the orange juice. Add the seeds, membranes and peel to the bag.

Cut the Meyer in 8ths, lengthwise.  Remove seeds and membranes and add them to the bag.  Slice the Meyer sections into thin triangles.

Put the juice, peels, Meyer triangles, water & muslin bag (closed tight, let the string hang over the edge but don't let it catch on fire) in a large, heavy bottomed pot.  Bring to a boil and boil, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring so the fruit and bag doesn't stick to the bottom and burn (like we did, but hey, it still tasted great).

Remove from heat.  Transfer bag to a bowl and allow to cool.  Measure the marmalade mixture and for every cup, add 7/8 cup of sugar.  When the bag is cool enough to handle, squeeze the pectin juices into the marmalade mix (and then compost the bag contents).

Heat the marmalade back up to a rapid boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently (which we did so we didn't burn it anymore).  Secure a candy thermometer in your mixture (did I mention how much equipment jamming requires?), making sure it does not touch the pot.  You want to get the temp up to 220-222 degrees so it will jell.  There are other ways to tell if it's jelled, but those are a bit too esoteric for me.

Fill sterilized jars (that you've been keeping in hot water), scrape down side to remove any air bubbles, clean head space & outer threads with a clean, damp cloth, add lids & rings (that you've been keeping in hot water), not super tight, and process in 180 degree water bath for 5 minutes.

Again, follow all instructions (from a resource other than this streamlined post).

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