Monday, February 09, 2009

Marmalade... no, not the cat!

I've always loved the colour of marmalade: gorgeous tones of orange ranging from silken yellow through vibrant ginger on to scrumptious sienna. Perhaps that's why I adore George so?!

I decided to try my hand at making some Seville Orange marmalade recently, never having made use of my preserving pan in the 4 years I've owned it, I thought it was high time. I've come across a fabulous book from the River Cottage handbook series focusing purely on preserves. This is a great source of information and recipes for all kinds of jams, pickles, sauces... and fruit liqueurs (including my beloved Sloe Gin) so I think I will need to buy my own copy of this and hand this one back to the library for somebody else to enjoy!

For my first attempt I opted for the sliced fruit method where all the chopping is done at the start of the process (squeeze the juice from 1kg of oranges and slice the peel including all the pith). The peel is then soaked overnight in the juice plus 2.5 litres of water and then simmered in the preserving pan until tender: about 2-2.5 hours (until pan contents are reduced by about a third). Add 75ml of lemon juice (I cheated and bought bottled) and 2kg of demerara sugar (although white sugar will do, I like the darkness the demerara brough to the mixture). Simmer until all the sugar has reduced - if you don't the sugar will stay granular within the marmalade I am expertley informed - then boil rapidly until setting point is reached (about 20-30 minutes but could be more). Et voila - marmalade.

And it tastes yummy :-)

I then went on to try the whole fruit method where the chopping is done after you have simmered 1kg of fruit for a couple of hours. But I made the mistake of trying to cook Sunday lunch at the same time and missed the setting point and ended up with a preserving pan of black treacle which had burnt to the bottom. Not good. I've soaked and soaked the pan, to no avail, Steve very kindly used his engineering prowess to sand it all off and regain a nice shiny bottom (the pan of course... not me!). I was going to add some whisky to this second batch but I may drink it now instead as I think I may have missed the Seville season now for this year. Well, there have to be some perks!!

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