Friday, December 6, 2013

Marmalade I made

Thank you so much for the lovely comments on the GB's Mina dress. I'm glad you like it. I'm happy with it and I am glad I persevered through my difficulties. Most importantly, she likes wearing it. I like being able to give her something unique to wear, whether sewn or crocheted. Now, the story of another recent homey adventure...


Last summer, I tried my hand at homemade strawberry jam, with mixed results. My jam was delicious but it remained a bit watery and loose. Nobody seemed to mind; we used it as a topping for pancakes and ice cream instead of spreading it on bread or toast. I enjoyed making the jam. It felt like a truly domestic project, something that I'd be proud to say I had at least tried to do. I'm glad I tried it, even if the outcome wasn't perfect. Recently, I felt like trying again. This time around, I did more research and gained a better understanding of the process. I also decided to try a different means of sterilizing the jars; I did this in the dishwasher when I made my strawberry jam and I'm not sure it worked very well. I decided to try oven-sterilization instead.

Next, I thought about what kind I could make; berries are out of season now. But citrus fruits are plentiful as we head into winter. I've always enjoyed marmalade, whether store-bought or homemade, and I decided that would be my next attempt. I researched recipes and came across one which sounded interesting, Anna's Orange Marmalade, by Ina Garten. I've long been a devotee of Ina's recipes and event planning and styling, but I chose the marmalade recipe primarily because it seemed simple and doable. The user reviews were positive. Marmalade, then.

Anna's Orange Marmalade

Ingredients

4 large seedless oranges
2 lemons
8 cups sugar

Directions

Cut the oranges and lemons in half crosswise, then into very thin half-moon slices. (If you have a mandoline, this will be quite fast.) Discard any seeds. Place the sliced fruit and their juices into a stainless-steel pot. Add 8 cups water and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Cover and allow to stand overnight at room temperature.

The next day, bring the mixture back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 2 hours. Turn the heat up to medium and boil gently, stirring often, for another 30 minutes. Skim off any foam that forms on the top. Cook the marmalade until it reaches 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer. If you want to be doubly sure it's ready, place a small amount on a plate and refrigerate it until it's cool but not cold. If it's firm -- neither runny nor too hard -- it's done. It will be a golden orange color. (If the marmalade is runny, continue cooking it and if it's too hard, add more water.)

Pour the marmalade into clean, hot Mason jars; wipe the rims thoroughly with a clean damp paper towel, and seal with the lids. Store in the pantry for up to a year.



I decided that I would halve the recipe for my first try with it. Half the recipe would give me about four half-pint jars, which seemed like a good start. I used two very large navel oranges and one large lemon. I sliced all the fruit very thinly with a sharp knife because I do not own a mandoline. I'd like to have one someday, but I'm picky about my kitchen equipment and the good ones are pricey. Next time, I'll slice the fruit even thinner if I can.


After boiling the fruit the first time, the water was full of pulp and the thinnest slices were fruit-less, just curls of peel. The house smelled wonderful after this step.


The boiled fruit gets an overnight rest in the pot, with the lid on. You just take the pot off the heat, cover it, and leave it until the next day. This surprised me. I don't think I came across any other recipes that specified doing this. I was a little concerned about spoilage, but all that sugar must retard the process. So I covered it and walked away.


The next morning, I transferred the fruit mixture to a bigger stockpot for the long second boiling process. The scent was even stronger, I could even smell it in the backyard! This step was easy like the previous ones, but I did keep an eye on it. I sat in the family room, which is open to the kitchen, and crocheted. It was totally domestic, yo.



While the boiling progressed, I prepared the jars, rings and lids. I opted to sterilize my jars in the oven this time, after reading that it was easy and possibly more effective than the dishwasher method I had tried last time. I liked this article about jar sterilization; it's well-written and informative, and the author seems to know what she's doing. The rings are reused from last time but I did buy new lids. I was worried that they'd be expensive but they weren't at all, I think I paid $2 for a dozen. I'm proud to be a miser but botulism is a scary prospect.

The fruit mixture was soon ready to go and I filled the jars. They all sealed right away, which made me happy. I liked the oven method; I felt like the jars got hotter this way and stayed hotter. Plus they weren't wet while I tried to work with them, like they were out of the dishwasher. I almost dropped a few of those wet jars last time around. From the halved recipe, I got three full jars and a fourth which was just slightly less than full.


Isn't it beautiful? I love the way the peels look - long, curling tendrils in the jam. I had never eaten marmalade with such long pieces of peel before and it took a bit of getting used to: there's a bitterness in the pith and the outer skin that you don't taste as easily when the peels are chopped. The color is my favorite aspect of this marmalade; the long cooking results in a deep golden-orange tone - liquid amber in a jar.


This is a grown-up condiment; it tingles on your tongue. It's sweet but sour. The long strands of peel create a bit of chewy resistance. They're almost candied. It's an interesting recipe. I think the lemon goes a long way toward creating the complex flavor. I've been eating it spread on whole-wheat toast for breakfast, as above. The Bear loves it, the small Bears find it too sour and unfamiliar. I'm happy with it, for the most part. It thickened beautifully - maybe a bit too well, actually. Next time, I will take it off the heat just a few minutes sooner. It's very firm in the jar, but 15-20 seconds in the microwave takes care of that. All in all, it came out just fine.

I'm glad I tried again. I could really have fun with this craft. It is a craft, right? You have to have skills to do this properly. The main thing is that I like doing it. I really like the idea that you can cook fruit with water and sugar until it becomes something else entirely, put it in a hot jar and there's a whole new thing to eat. There are tiny wonders in the everyday: the oranges and the lemon were sitting, solidly, in the basket on the counter and then they were spread on toast.

43 comments:

  1. Visiting from Cozy Little House. Read your posts back into time. Such a lovely visit. Following on Googe Friends and also following on Pinterest. Will be back to visit another day.
    Joy

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  2. Your marmalade looks and sounds yummy. :-)

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  3. I marveled at the marmalade you made! Lovely to look at besides taste!
    Looks like I missed your last post! Oh noooo! Gotta get back there now! :)

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  4. Good job on that! I adore marmalade. I've gotten apricot and also orange pineapple.. yummy stuff!
    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  5. It is a craft!!! And it looks amazing lady!!! One of my best memories when I was a child was eating my grams homemade bread and her jam spread on top for a night time snack before bed. You have inspired me through this post to try my hand at this! I think to give your kids these memories is awesome!!! Beautiful job!!!!

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  6. I love marmalade (as you would expect with my blog name!) but I have never made it.

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  7. For sure it's a craft, looks like you did a great job
    Clare xx

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  8. That looks some good stuff. I love marmalade and I am lucky that no one else in our house does so it is all mine! Jo x

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  9. Τhis is the perfect marmalade, your photos and instructions are also impeccable Jennifer!Thank you!You are such a wonderful chef!
    Wish you a happy 2 Advent and warm greetings from here!
    Olympia

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  10. Mmm, looks delicious Jennifer, clever you. Marmalade is very big in this country, there are competitions and all sorts of different flavoured ones. Paddington Bear especially likes it. I made some strawberry and raspberry jam in pre-holiday hurry a couple of summers ago, and it didn't set at all. It was absolutely delicious though, and we stirred it into rice pudding (not sure if you have that in America, it sounds like it might be an English thing). So glad your girl bear loves her dress, it makes it so very worthwhile when you make something they like. Hope you and yours have a really good weekend.

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  11. Well done for having another to at preserving Jennifer. Looks as though you did a great job. I think that it is one of those things that takes a little perfecting but once you "get it" you can do it. It seems that you have "got it" now, so you are off!! Glad that you enjoyed it, that is the most important thing I think. xx

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  12. The first (and quite possibly last) time I attempted to make marmalade, I boiled it for too long and ended up with something that was more like orange toffee (oops!).

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  13. Definitely on my to do list - I've never made jam nor marmalade. It looks lovely. Have a great weekend. x

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  14. It looks lovely and so pretty in the jars. I have made lots of jams and marmalade many years ago and found it most satisfying my children loved it too when they were small, but I don't bother now because there is just me at home, but you have reminded me just how nice it is to make your own and it makes a lovely gift for friends too. I did make redcurrant jelly last summer and it was yummy. :)

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  15. I love marmalade but I am the only member of my family who'll eat it. It really is an acquired taste and growing up in England kind of gave me that taste I think. However, when we were at Stonewall Kitchen in the Summer, I picked up a couple of jars to hoard. Not sure when I'll eat it as we don't really eat much bread anymore, but it delicious on hot buttered toast. Well done Jennifer!

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  16. I'm over from Brenda's WW post. I love marmalade and yours looks very good. Thank you for the recipe.
    Hugs, cindy

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  17. Orange marmalade is my absolute favorite!! Yours looks so delicious. I have never made it myself, but I would like to give it a try.

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  18. Thanks for another lovely post, Jennifer. Once again you have inspired me as you described your latest crafting project. The marmalade looks beautiful and yummy even if your little bears are not fond of it.....yet :)
    Gracie xx

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  19. You know I love to cook and bake, but I've never tried making my own jam! I agree that your marmalade is beautiful when in the glass jars where you can see the curls of the fruit. My cousin made apricot jam this spring and when I saw her a couple of months ago, she gave me a jar. I told my husband I think it's the best jam I've ever had. Nothing beats homemade! BTW, I actually found that hot chocolate you mentioned at Wal-Mart of all places! I was looking in the ethnic aisle, in the mexican section for a certain salsa, and I couldn't believe it when I spied the hot chocolate. I didn't buy any though, as I still have a LOT of my homemade mixture here and I'm the only one who drinks it.

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  20. You make it all sound so easy. Maybe because you made it in a manageable-sized batch. My parents always went into HUGE production mode when making any jams, jellies, preserves in general. Mom made A LOT! I think that's what always turned me off. We rarely eat jam here ... what would I do with 20 jars of blackcurrant jam (even if I DO really like it)!! They made marmalade too, using Seville oranges. "Must be Seville!!!" "Violet, the Seville oranges are in the stores again ... time to make marmalade!!!!". On and on. But it was good. And Mom always snuck me a couple of jars when I would visit. Your marmalade looks amazing Jennifer ... and I felt the same way about making simple ingredients into something wonderful when I made my first loaf of bread ... "Hey! It's REAL BREAD!!!" so cool ;] Wendy x

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  21. Jennifer, it all looks so delicious. =)

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  22. Your home made marmalade looks good x

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  23. I adore marmalade and eat it most days. But I have never tried to make it! This looks so delicious, I think I should try it, one of these days. Great photos!

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  24. Ahh, it looks wonderful! I've made different kinds of jellies before but never marmalade. I may have to give it a try.

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  25. Hi Teresa, Your marmalade looks great and well done!!! Love the deep amber color!!! It's hard to believe so little ingredients can make so much jam!!! I am also a BIG Ina fan!!! Have a fab weekend!!!
    Love
    AMarie

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  26. It looks really good. I love the amber colour of it in those jars. I made marmalade about a year ago and it went SO wrong...I used navel oranges as I couldn't find Seville so it was too sweet, I cut the peel way too thick...oh, and it's runny. We've been using it up as a sauce for orange almond cake. But sourdough toast with really good, sharp marmalade and a cup of tea is possibly my favourite breakfast. X

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  27. Love your title, and purely for that reason, I'd give this marmalade a go! But, your step-by-step instructions and pics convinced me, as well!

    Poppy

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  28. Yay for you! It sure does look beautiful. I love marmalade. Have never tried making jam or canning anything. Am always afraid of that sterilizing part. Apparently though, you don't have to worry about sterilizing if you plan to finish something within a few days, so you can actually make a small portion of berry jam and keep it in the fridge for 3-5 days -- I will try that one of these days. Have a great weekend. Tammy

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  29. Good for you giving it a go. I am so happy it turned out and you like the results. I bet your house smelled absolutely delicious.

    Well done Jennifer.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  30. It certainly does look beautiful and i bet it tastes divine. Pretty jars too!
    love jooles xxx

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  31. I have made lots of jam over the years, but for some reason I've always been afraid to try marmalade. This recipe looks very doable - thanks for sharing it. Your photos are gorgeous!

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  32. Oh yum! My mouth literally is watering - pop some bread in the toaster, I'll be right over! ;-) Chrissie x

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  33. Wow! Such a beautiful color!!! You inspire me!! I'd love to try this out sometime! :)

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  34. It looks delicious. I've made jam but never marmalade, I should give it a try after seeing this post.

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  35. Your marmalade is so beautiful! As you wrote about it, I could almost smell it myself. I made some wild plum jelly and some grape jelly made from store-bought grape juice a few years ago. I was surprised how easy it was, but it was time-consuming. The grape jelly was really good. I couldn't tell the difference in that and the store-bought stuff. It was fun giving it away as gifts too. It makes such an impressive, hand-made, and pretty gift with a ribbon tied in a bow and a round piece of material placed under the ring. Your pictures are great!

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  36. I can smell it from here, looks delicious! :) x

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  37. Looks wounderful, my mum would love it.

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  38. How scrummy :D (That is an English word I always worry about using on an American's blog in case it doesn't translate as the compliment it is!) It's years and years since I made marmalade but I could smell yours from here ... you've taken me right back!

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  39. This looks delicious Jennifer. I have never made marmalade before as I am not that big a fan and no one in our house really likes it, but I know a few people who do, so maybe next year I will give this recipe a go. I love your beautiful jars that you used! xoxo

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  40. Your orange marmalade looks so good! :) My grandmother use to make it in the fall.

    check out my site sometime, here is a really good peanut butter cookie recipe, you will love these if you like peanut butter;
    http://michaelswoodcraft.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/best-ever-peanut-butter-cookies/

    Greetings from South Carolina!
    Michael

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  41. what a beautiful colour marmalade, wow I have never heard of leaving it overnight to steep, I love blog land you learn so much .Im defo coming to give this a whirl .
    I love your dress you made and what a pretty model

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  42. This post really made my mouth water. I love thick cut marmalade, and the tangier the better. Your house must have smelled divine whilst it was all bubbling away. Well done x

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