Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Bitter Orange Marmalade

Inspired by beautiful recipes and a tree full of bitter oranges, this weekend we made jam.
Jammin' (or preserving as formally known) is what Tara considers "A lost Art". And i think i have to agree with her there. After studying up (because believe me, this is not child's play) I felt i had the basics under control. I'm worried that this might become an obssession
Bitter Orange Marmalade recipe
You will need about 6 oranges
Some gauze or a piece of muslin
Some string (preferably not dyed)
(for every kilo of oranges you will need 3 liters of water and 2.5 kilos of sugar)

Step 1. Wash and dry oranges

Step 2. Using a hand juicer cut oranges in half and juice. Pour juice into a big plastic bowl (Not seeds!). Set aside seeds in a small bowl - do not throw away as they are a key ingredient.

Step 3. Slice very thinly the rind and the remaining bits stuck on the rind and toss into bowl with juice.

Step 4. Make little baggies of seeds. The seeds of oranges contain pectin which when mixed with the acidy oranges will produce a lovely gel that in turn makes the jam jammy. it is very important to not skip this step. i used 10 x 10 cm gauze strips and put four baggies into my bowl.

Add half the water. Cover and let sit in a cool place for 24 hours.

Step 5. Put the mix into a pot and bring to a low boil until the pieces of rind are soft and smooth and squish a bit when you squeeze them between your thumb and forefinger. This should take at least an hour and maybe a quite a bit more.

Step 6. Now remove your little seed packs and squeeeeeze out all of the jelly substance. Try to get as much out as you can, not only cause it's fun, but also cause it helps.

Step 7. Add the sugar, making sure it all dissolves and doesn't stick to the pot.

Step 8. Turn the heat up until it is at a full boil. Now you want to turn it down so that it remains at a "rolling boil". This part is left up to your instinct. Or at least that is what i'm led to believe. Does it feel like it's rolling? Does it sound like it's rolling? gooood. This is my impression of a "rolling boil".

Now the tricky part is to understand when it's done. One trick is to put a few saucers in the fridge and when you think it may be thickening and becoming syrupy you spoon a bit onto a cold saucer and put back in the fridge for 2 - 4 min. When you take it out again you should see a thin layer on top of the marmalade, like a thick skin. If you put the plate on it's side, it should wrinkle.

Once you reach this point, you want to pour the marmalade, while still hot into sterilized jars left to dry in a warm oven. and then process for about 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

And then you will have made marmalade!

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