Thursday, April 9, 2015

LOL! Marmalade

In San Diego, loquats are ubiquitous and largely ignored, even when heavy with their delectable, unique fruits.  I grew up eating them off my English immigrant grandma's and my Mexican-American great-grandma's trees.  Each spring I was treated to their yellow appearance on the branches and would wait with joy for them to turn slightly more orange so I could seek out the perfectly ripe specimen.  I have trees of my own now but while every where else in SD the fruits are abundant, this is the second year that mine haven't beared at all!  I'll spend some time trying to remedy this for next year but in the meantime, I have friends with a plethora of extra fruit.  So this marmalade is courtesy of the Coopers:

Loquat Orange Lime Marmalade
I like making marmalade because it produces it's own pectin; I don't have to add extra, non-organic ingredients.  That an organic pectin is not available is shocking to me. And I like cutting the marmalade with another fruit (I've also made a strawberry- and a mulberry-meyer lemon variety!) because that helps temper the sweetness of all the added sugar and the stiffness of the pectin.

4 cups loquat (after being peeled, seeded, membranes removed) from the Coopers
2 pounds (about 8 small) cara cara oranges from Smit Farms at the Little Italy farmers market
2 pounds (about 3 large) navel oranges from Solidarity Farm
4 limes from the Coopers
5 1/3 cups local spring water
4 cups sugar (I like organic evaporated cane)

Prep the loquats: I had a ton of fruit so I peeled them after blanching using this method.  Then I removed the seeds and the stringy membranes around the seeds by hand.  (You could also freeze the fruit at this point to use in other future recipes.)

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

Cut oranges in half and juice (you need 2 2/3 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 (this is the the most time consuming active part of this recipe).  Julienne the peels.

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

Put the juice, peels, lime triangles, water & muslin bag (closed tight, let the string hang over the edge but don't let it catch on fire) in a medium/large-ish, heavy bottomed pot.  Bring to a boil and boil on medium heat, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so the fruit and bag doesn't stick to the bottom and burn.

Remove from heat.  Transfer bag to a bowl and allow to cool.  Measure the marmalade mixture and for every cup, add a 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.  Secure a candy thermometer in your mixture, making sure it does not touch the pot.  You want to get the temp up to 220-222 degrees so it will jell (this step also takes awhile).  Then stir in your loquats, return to a boil, and remove from heat.

Fill sterilized jars (that you've been keeping in hot water) leaving 1/2 inch head room, 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 water bath covering the topd of the cans by an inch of water just below a simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the water bath and let sit, undisturbed overnight.  Next morning, check to make sure they've sealed and tighten the rings.

Makes about 10 1/2 cups.

There are many resources for more complete instructions on jamming and canning.  Check out your local library, co-op, or homesteading groups.

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