Saturday, February 20, 2010

From the Kitchen: Citrus Marmalade

I have a confession to make... I had never eaten marmalade. Until yesterday.

Marmalade? Isn't it a European thing? What is marmalade anyway? Apparently it is a fruit preserve made with any citrus fruits, sugar and water. I am not a huge citrus fan, probably because I do not enjoy peeling the fruit and smelling like it for hours after. Incidently, my kids love oranges, clementines and mandarins and you can guess who gets to peel. That said, I love good grapefruit when I can get it and I also enjoy a glass of pulp-free orange juice every month or so.

In the new bread book I am working my way through, I came across a recipe for "Laura's Three-Citrus Marmalade". It looked intriguing and, as we are in the inexpensive throes of citrus season, I decided it would be a prudent and timely project that would also incorporate my ongoing love affair with canning jars. The recipe in the book was an adaptation of a recipe found on Sure-Jell pectin boxes, but had the added flavor of grapefruit in the mix. I adapted it further to use what I had on hand and to suit my anti-pulp taste. So what I made might not be real marmalade because it doesn't have fruit or rind chunks in it, but it was everything I could have wanted and more. My only complaint is that it set hard... next time I will dilute it more or use less pectin for a more jammy consistency.

Here's what I used:

1 grapefruit
3 navel oranges
1 lemon
1 clementine (I couldn't resist)
2.5 cups water
1/8 tsp baking soda
5.5 cups sugar
1.75 oz box Ball pectin
Here's what I did:

Peel the zest from all the fruit with vegetable peeler. Toss in pot with water and baking soda. Bring to a rolling boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, remove (and discard) white pith from fruit, chop fruit into smaller pieces and reserve any juice. Add fruit to the water/zest mixture, bring back to a full boil and simmer again for another 10-20 minutes. Remove from heat and strain, removing all pulp and zest. Squeeze pulp to conserve as much liquid as possible, then discard pulp. Add 1 to 2 cups water to the liquid and bring back to a full boil. Add pectin and dissolve completely. Add sugar, dissolve and bring back to a full boil. Cook 1 minute longer. Skim foam, if necessary, and pour hot marmalade into pre-cleaned canning jars and process to seal.

Not-too-long story short, after a comparatively brief stint in the kitchen, I had three beautiful pint jars to show for my labor. It was too aromatic not to scrape up the leftover sugary coating in the pot and spread it generously over a chunk of bread (incidentally, the master recipe from the same book). My 3 year old helper said "Mom, I'm getting hungry just looking at that." So I had to share, but I got a little unexpected help with the photography in exchange.

Happiness can be many things, but enjoying your own marmalade on your own bread with your own little helper... now that's a very special kind of domestic bliss :)


Jesse Ray said...

That's a nice story. Sounds delicious with the added grapefruit: normally marmalade is too sweetsy for me.

Emily said...

I don't know if I've ever had marmalade either... unless singing lady marmalade from moulin rouge counts...