Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Orange Marmalade with a hint of Vanilla & Whiskey – well worth a reprise

Carole's Chatter: Orange Marmalade with a hint of Vanilla & Whiskey – well worth a reprise

This was the second time I made Orange Marmalade and this time I took some short cuts – and it still worked out ok.  The first time I slavishly followed a recipe which said you had to juice the oranges first and then cut off the peel (not getting any pith) and then cut the pith off and chop up the rest.  Well it took simply ages.

This time I prepped the oranges much more simply:

I washed them and then I roughly chopped them up – no juicing, no getting rid of the pith.  I didn't even worry too much about the pips.  If I saw one and it was easy to get to, I pulled it out.  In the original recipe it said to collect the pips and put them in a muslin bag and cook up in the pot and remove – what a fusspot.

I then popped it all into a stockpot (I had 1.5kg of fruit – just over 3 lb). I added the juice of 2 lemons and the zest of one.  Then in goes 5 pints (2.8 litres) of water.  You simmer that away for at least 2 hours – because I had left the pith in I wanted to be sure it wasn't too bitter so I did it for 3 hours.  When I looked into the pot at that stage I saw that some of the chunks of peel were really chunky – so I gave it about a 10 second whizz with a stick blender.  It went unclear in colour so I thought I had blown it – but as you can see it came nice and clear when boiled up with the sugar.

You add 2.7 kg of sugar (which seems a lot but remember the peel etc is quite bitter). 

I used a combination of white sugar and jam setting sugar.  If you don't have jam setting sugar (which has some added pectin), I suggest you just add the juice of another lemon.  I also added a splosh of vanilla extract and a spoonful of whiskey (both entirely optional).

Then you boil the marmalade rapidly for 15 to 35 minutes until it sets when you test it on a cold plate.  This one took about 20 minutes.  I always get very nervous at this stage as to whether it will set and also worried about making it too set.  There is no answer other than testing it every minute or so because it can turn quickly.

Then I let it cool in the pot for 15 minutes before decanting it into clean warm jars through my trusty jam funnel.  It made about 9 jars.  Because I don't sterilise the jars as such, I keep this in the fridge and it will last a few months.  I also put a wax paper disc on top of each jar which helps keep the air out.

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