Every year, my Dad makes marmalade, part of a family tradition, using a recipe given to him by his Father. This isn’t that recipe, as I am not allowed to know it yet, but when I do I will replace this recipe with that one.
To fully enjoy your marmalade it should be served on a croissant with butter and stilton cheese.
Construction of an orange
I just though I’d add a few words about oranges, just in case some of you guys have never seen one and got confused. The outer coating is known as the peel, it consists of a thick white skin with a thin outer range-coloured outer layer. All the orange is used in this recipe. Inside the peel, your should hopefully find sweet, sweet juicy orangey flesh made up of individual segments. You will also find the pips ( seeds), used to create new, bouncing baby orange trees. All that sweet orangey goodness should go into the marmalade, but the pips shalt burn in hell! (Well, actually they're going to be boiled in a bag, but whatever.) The segments are enclosed a thin layer of skin (not human, orange) which, will henceforth be referred to by the inaccurate name of "membrane". You can put that straight into the marmalade if you want ( Smash it up!), but many people find it makes the marmalade overly bitter.
The Theory of Marmalade
Jam sets by the use of pectin, a chemical found in most fruits. However, if you want to make marmalade with something else like strawberries, you should check to see if it has enough first (See node: pectin for testing fruit). We're going to extract bonus pectin from the pips and the membranes so we have some perfectly set marmalade.
Use 2lb of oranges to 5lb of sugar and 5 pints of water (If you're from America that will be 6 pints, because yours are smaller).
If you hate imperial measurements then you can make Metric Marmalade: 1kg oranges, 2.5kg sugar, and 3ltr of water.
- Fruit squeezer that can get all the juice, but not the pips.
- A small food-grade polythene bucket for soaking.
- Do not use clear plastics (some of them get attacked by the fruit)
- Do not use metal bowls
- Do not use glazed earthenware
- A sharp knife, preferably a big one because big sharp knives rule (for cooking).
- A boilable bag (nylon is good)
- A large metal saucepan (Thick copper being the Chef’s choice)
- A large wooden spoon for stirring
- A plate
The Good Stuff: How to Make Marmalade
- Wash the oranges well, discarding any damaged parts. You need to get rid of all the evil chemicals that have been sprayed on your lovely oranges.
- Halve the oranges, squeeze them in the squeezer (or by hand if you don’t have one), and put the juice into the bucket.
- Get all the pips that got caught by the squeezer and put them in the nylon bag. Use a spoon to scrape the remaining membranes out of the peels, and add those to the nylon bag too.
- Shred about a third of the peels with a sharp knife, and chop the rest to death, like parsley. (Don't put parsley in your marmalade, fool!).
- If you want, you could put the peel in a food processor to chop it finely instead. Put the shredded/minced peels into the bucket along with the juice; tie up the nylon bag and put that in as well.
- Add about half of the water (you can add more, if the bucket is man/woman/whatever enough to take it).
- Cover the bucket and leave it in a cool place for 24 hours. Make sure you don’t forget what you were doing or you will end up with a big bucket full of mouldy orange mush.
- Once the oranges feel soaked enough (24 hours!), put the contents of the bucket, including the nylon bag of pips, into the metal saucepan and add the remainder of the water.
- Bring gently to the boil, as if you were making love to a beautiful woman/man/whatever.
- Simmer gently until the shredded peels are tenderised. This is likely to take an hour at least: the peel should feel quite tender if rubbed between thumb and finger. Make sure it is properly tender of you will have Leathery Marmalade, which is a tool of Satan.
- When the peels are properly tender, it's time to remove the bag of pips (allow any liquid in the bag to drain back into the saucepan: it contains the fabulous pectin that makes the marmalade set). The contents of the bag can be discarded, but the bag can be washed and kept for future use.
- Add the sugar to the saucepan and bring back to the boil, stirring frequently to make sure the sugar does not "catch" on the pan.
- When the sugar is fully dissolved, bring the pan to a full rolling boil and keep it boiling. Only relax the heat if the Marmalade is going to boil over the sides (You should have got a bigger pan).
- If a white scum forms on the surface, just skim it off and discard it.
- To test when the marmalade is done, spoon a little of the mixture onto a plate. When the samples start to form a distinct "skin" on the test plate within a couple of minutes, the marmalade is done and should be taken off the heat.
- Ladle the marmalade into jars whilst it is still hot and screw the lids on to form a vacuum.
- Go and buy croissants and stilton whilst you wait for the marmalade to cool.
- Congratulations! You’ve just made some marmalade and should be proud.
Dropping hot marmalade onto your feet etc. is bad. It will hurt a lot, so wear sensible clothing. If you are a naturist, I am sorry, but you (probably) don’t want your tender bits burnt.
Use a ladle to fill the jars – do not try to lift and pour a full pan of hot marmalade. Handle the jars and tighten the tops with oven gloves etc. while the marmalade is still hot.
Cunning tip from BlueDragon: Jars are best preheated in a low oven - this sterilises them and there is less chance they will crack when hot stuff goes inside.
yclept says You could also can the jars to help the marmalade last longer. Use canning jars and lids, and can them by submerging in a pot of boiling water for about 15 minutes. Marmalade and fruit jams can usually be canned this way. Tomatoes, meat, etc. need to be pressure canned, with a pressure cooker. If you are interested in find out more about canning, go to this website: http://www.homecanning.com/usa/ALBasics.asp