Marmalade

After the blood orange marmalade went over well at the last Food Swap, I decided to get serious about making more before the blood oranges disappear from the markets.  So today is marmalade day!  We’re making two variations: blood orange (again) and lemon ginger.  Some day I might try a meyer lemon rosemary.  Hmm.

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In any case, rather than go over the precise measurements, I’ll provide the general ratio and note variations where applicable.

Marmalade

1) Weigh your fruit.  To each pound of fruit, measure a pound of sugar and water.  A pound of water is roughly 2 cups of water, so you’ll want 2 cups of water to each pound of fruit.  Simple!

2) Take the zest of the fruit with either a really sharp knife or a vegetable peeler.  You don’t want bitter pith, but if there’s a little on your strips of zest it’s no big deal.  Part of the appeal of marmalade is the bitter/sweet action.  Cut the zest into little strips.

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3) Juice the fruit into your pot.

4) Take the inner guts and seeds of the fruit out of the pith and put it into a jelly bag or cheesecloth.  You’ll end up with the empty white parts of the peel.  You can compost that, if you garden.  Tie up the jelly bag or cheesecloth and put it in the pot.  *For the the lemon ginger marmalade, we added grated ginger here.

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5) Add the water and boil, uncovered, for 30 minutes.  The zest should be tender.  This also gets the pectin out of the fruit guts.  Take the jelly bag out.  Squeeze the bag over the pot or on the side to get as much juice and pectin out as possible.

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6) Add the sugar and boil until the mixture reaches the jelling stage on a thermometer (220).  You can also use the jell test.

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7) Ladle your marmalade into clean jars and process.  If you don’t want to can it, put it into some kind of storage and keep in the fridge.  In my experience, it can take about a week for it to set, but it will be a loose set.

Yields:  For the lemon ginger, I used 4 lbs of fruit and about 8 TBSP grated ginger.  This yielded about 13 pints.  For the blood orange version, we got about 7 pints.  The blood orange did not pass the jell test in the freezer until it hit 225 on the thermometer.  And that was really frustrating, although nobody who has tried it seemed to mind.  The jell is not as jelly-like as the lemon.  On further research, I found that the blood orange has less pectin that other oranges or lemons.  Next time, I will add the juice and guts of at least one lemon, if not two.  That should help the jell.  The lemon marmalade jelled beautifully.

Valuable lesson relearned: As we had two pots of marmalade going at the same time, we decided just to put the blood orange mix in a somewhat smaller pot.  It kept boiling over after the sugar went in.  I’m not sure how much we lost, but it can’t have been enough to make a whole pint.  But the moral of the story is…leave room for it to boil up!

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Not a bad haul!

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