Thursday, December 12, 2013

3 Citrus Marmalade

Last year was the year of the Limes.

This year, it's Lemons.

 Lots and lots of lemons, a bounty of lemons.   Not only did my tree produce really well,

a friend of mine has a tree that outdid itself as well.  So she brought me some, and then some more.   Which were gladly welcomed.  I had plans to juice them, and freeze the juice and use it throughout the year.   And I thought maybe I'd try my hand at lemon marmalade.  Well, gee, along the way I got some limes from yet another friend.   And that did it.  I was making marmalade, I had such a gracious bounty of citrus, I did not want to waste any of it.

However, I didn't really want lemon-lime marmalade, somehow that just didn't sound that appealing, so I bought three oranges to add in.  And that felt right. 

3 Citrus Marmalade.

I googled recipes for marmalade and basically figured out that equal amounts of fruit, water and sugar were the key to making a good marmalade.  So, that's what I did.  But when I tasted it, just before bottling the jars, I ended up adding an additional 2 cups of sugar. It would have been horribly bitter if I hadn't.  And then the marmalade tasted right.  And best of all, it is setting up nicely.   (Nice little pat on the back here, just had to do it). 

First off, if you have access to someone's backyard fruit, take advantage of them. 

Wait a minute, that just didn't sound right, ummm, make friends with people who have fruit trees, and offer to go and pick the fruit if necessary.   Yup, that's the ticket, offer to pick it.   Failing that, if you need to buy citrus, make sure you scrub the peel well.  Sometimes they wax it.

Then after scrubbing it, you can take the peel off using a peeler, or a very sharp knife, and then chop it up into teeny tiny bits using your Mezzaluna.   I love my Mezzaluna, I've had it for many, many years, and it makes such short work of chopping herbs, nuts or in this case, lemon peel.   And since I had so many lemons, I juiced up several of them, before cutting the peels up.  The lemons had such a thin layer of peel, that I didn't bother cutting the pith away on them. 

To start with, peel your oranges, well, most of it.  But leave the pith behind.  I use a sharp knife, and cut the peel as close to the skin as I can, leaving the pith behind on the fruit.  Then I just cut the pith away. 

I then took the oranges and the limes too, and after cutting the peel off, I segmented the fruit and chopped it up.  

Then with the Mezzaluna, chopped up the peel up into little teeny pieces.
 I also took some of the lemons, cut them in half lengthwise, then took out the core membrane which also had most of the seeds, and then proceeded to cut them into small pieces.   I have to say, it all went a lot quicker once I did that.  Don't throw away the pith, the membranes or the seeds.  You'll be putting them into another pot and boiling them up separately.  And I forgot to take a picture of that.    However, after letting them cook for an hour or so, strain out the liquid and add it to the your big pot.  This is where the pectin comes from that helps to set up your marmalade.   Just add enough water to cover the core and seeds. 

Marmalade Recipe
6 cups Fruit/Juice
6 cups Water
6 cups Sugar  (add more later during the second cook if the marmalade is too bitter)

Threw them all into the pot, with the juice after measuring them up.  Then pour in an equal amount of water.   Add your sugar and let it simmer for an hour or so, until the peel is tender.   At this point add the strained liquid from the membranes and seeds (you don't want any seeds in here), to your pot and let it cool down.   Let it sit overnight, then the next day, let it come to a low simmer for a half hour or so, and ladle the marmalade into some prepared jars.   This second cook helps to set the pectin which means you don't have citrus syrup. 

*I want to make a note here, you need to make sure your jars are hot before ladling the marmalade in there.  I prepare the jars in one of two ways, I take them right from the dishwasher while they are hot or place the jars on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven for about 10-15 minutes at 325 degrees.  This ensures that not only are the jars hot, they are also sterilized.  Very important.    And while you're waiting for the jam and the jars to heat up, you need to clean up after the bird who found your mat in the kitchen and proceeded to chew it up.   Oh wait a minute, that was me.  Sorry.

And there you have it, a whole buncha marmalade.  And it's not all for me, I've been gifting it out to a few select people.   
I have to say, I do love to make my own preserves, not only do they taste good, I know what's in them, and it's just plain fun.

Sidsel Munkholm - Author
Sidsel Munkholm - Author

Sid loves to cook, feed people and have fun in the kitchen. She shares her successes and the involuntary offerings she sometimes gives the kitchen goddess as well. And she's still looking for the mythical fairy to help her clean the kitchen after a marathon cooking session. Currently working on a cookbook showcasing the recipes from her Danish heritage.

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