Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Making Marmalade

I love marmalade.

There, I've said it! I make a lot of jams & jellies from local wild berries (thimble berry, elderberry, blackberry, salal, huckleberry) as well from the berries I grow on my property (raspberry, loganberry, blueberry, soon-to-grow black currant, red currant, gooseberry) & I enjoy doing so.

I don't really eat much of it though. I might make the occasional batch of wine from them, or eat them unprocessed, but jam on toast? Nope - not my thing.

But marmalade... That's a different story!

That tart & tangy citrus flavour with loads of candied citrus rind... who needs bread? That just gets in the way (as the husband frequently says when sitting with his peanut butter & a spoon in hand).

The first time I ever tried to make my own, it was a disaster! Didn't set at all & was used as a topping on ice cream & yogurt. I remained leery of making another attempt for a long time (20 years?)

Until a neighbour gave me about 8 Seville oranges at the end of January. I HAD to figure out how to make marmalade! So the research started...

I've been using several websites for finding inspiration in the kitchen & the newest one I've recently been introduced to is: Saveur - a fabulous site that I've not yet fully explored (after all, spring is here & who has time to sit indoors all day looking through recipes??)

The recipe I decided to use for the marmalade is this one: Dundee Style Marmalade. It seemed really complicated at first, but the idea of using weight ratios instead of precise measurements really appeals to me. I had 8 oranges, not 6, so I just went ahead & threw myself into it. As you can see in the above picture, it worked & looks amazing! Rich citrus with a hint of caramel (almost an over-cooked flavour) & lots of lovely candied citrus peel. Technically, the jars are supposed to sit for 2 months, but honestly, who has the patience for that sort of thing?

I wanted to make more. But the Seville orange season is relatively short - unless you are prepared. January & February seem to be the months we can find them here on Vancouver Island & I found out that our closest grocery store (only 2 hours away) stocks them when in season! I've made note to hit them hard next winter for a large supply.

So what was I to do with no Seville oranges, but a desire to make more to tide me through the year (I only have 6 jars left of the first batch...)
This is my first time buying the Meyer lemon & we had a small chuckle over the packaging when we stumbled across them.

They look pretty & shiny & just scream 'cute'.

But as a cross between a lemon & a tangerine (depends on which site you read), the Meyer lemon can be used in a multitude of ways as this article indicates.

I wanted them for marmalade.

I've figured out that the ingredients aren't necessarily key when making marmalade - well, yes - they do have to be citrus in nature because you do need the pectin found in the pith & pits to aid in thickening it up - but Seville oranges aren't necessary, especially if you can't find them.

I used Meyer lemons, ruby red grapefruit & limes with fresh ginger. It took me a bit longer than previously because I had wanted a lighter coloured marmalade, so I cooked it slower. I also wasn't sure if the ginger would do what I had hoped it would - I wanted that spicy hot flavour that ginger imparts, but I didn't want it to over power the citrus or turn mushy during the cooking procedure.

The result at the end of the day are 10 jars of lovely lemon-ginger marmalade. The colour is a bit darker than I wanted, but it set up well & I managed to get a good proportion of peel into each jar.

I've used marmalade when cooking pork loin or pork chops & have also used it on top of a salmon fillet mixed with a bit of honey & grainy Dijon mustard. Quite lovely!

And I've been hearing rumblings from my neighbours that there are quite a few of us in town who are marmalade fanatics. I just might have to make another batch & bring them down to the store for others to enjoy!

1 comment:

Scotkat said...

You have brought back happy memories of my late Mam used to make a lot of marmalade.

But as a kid and still do wont eat the peel but so love the taste of marmalade.