Thursday, February 17, 2011

making marmalade

as always at christmas, we gorged ourselves silly on sweet, succulent little clementines. however, once christmas was over, our consumption tapered off significantly. i didn't pick up on this fast enough and got another big box of them delivered with our weekly organic box in early january. thus, i found myself with a load of clementines in the basket and no one interested in eating them. so i went in search of a marmalade recipe.  i found one here, on an australian food blog (do go check it out, as his light was much better than mine and so the pictures are great). of course, i couldn't just follow the recipe, i had to stray from it, but he offered some good on saving all of the pith and seeds, wrapping them up in a little piece of muslin and throw it into your boil in order to take advantage of the natural pectin that's in the seeds.

mandarin marmalade

20 mandarins or clementines (approx. 2 kilos)
1 kilo organic caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
juice of 1 lemon
6 C (750ml) water

makes 3 250ml jars of marmalade.
  1. peel your oranges, saving about half of the best skins and all of the seeds and pith.
  2. break the mandarins apart (i made the mistake of leaving them in halves and oddly, they didn't really come apart, so my marmalade is rather...ah...chunky.
  3. place the pith and seeds in a small square of muslin cloth and either tie it shut, or sew a quick seam around the entire edge of it (like i did) to keep them trapped inside.
  4. finely slice the peel into small strips (see the original recipe website, he's got great pix of this step).
  5. place all of the ingredients in a heavy pan and stir. put it on the stove over medium heat and stir constantly until the sugar is melted and it comes to a gentle boil.
  6. turn down the heat to very low and allow it to simmer gently for at least two hours, stirring it occasionally. i actually left mine on the stove the whole afternoon - more like 4 hours or so - because it made the house smell heavenly.
  7. prepare your jars...i give mine a tour in the dishwasher and then boil the little rubber seals in a pan. the site where i got the inspiration for the recipe has an interesting method of setting them in the oven that i'm going to try the next time.
  8. fish out the parcel of seeds and pour the marmalade into the jars and seal them. if you have enough seeds, there should be enough natural pectin that the marmalade will set up, otherwise, you can use some purchased pectin.
it was enough to fill three 250 ml. jars - you could use smaller ones and give them as gifts. we've already used up one entire jar - i used the dregs yesterday when i made beth's bread & butter pudding, and i can highly recommend doing that.  and i'll admit that i have, more than once, just had a little saucer of the marmalade with my tea. i find this very russian of myself. and it feels a bit decadent, but virtuous too, since i made it myself with organic clementines that would otherwise have gone to waste.


Magpie said...

Mmm - I recently made marmalade with some of the gift grapefruit my father got for Christmas and some Meyer lemons I picked in a friend's CA backyard. I got that same trick about the membranes and stuff from June Taylor (via the Times). It's so delicious, and no one else in the house likes it so IT'S ALL MINE!

Bee said...

Your orange peel looks deliciously orangey! I have some nice pictures of my peel and pith, too; shame about the marmalade that never set!

Maybe I will try again. Delia Smith warned me (too late) that marmalade must be made in small batches. Don't be tempted to quadruple the amount! Also, Margaret Patten says the fruit loses its pectin if it isn't fresh. What is your saying? I make the mistakes so you don't have to.

Char said...

there was a recipe recently that called for marmalade. this would be fabulous with i have to find it.


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