23 February 2009

blood orange marmalade

So a year ago when I tried this — and had great results — I didn't take any notes or leave any details in the blog post. So I had to start from scratch. And marmalade recipes vary greatly in method and proportions. Some have you slice the fruit and pick out the pips; June Taylor cuts the rind into triangles (which I tried and didn't like as much) and it appears that she candies the rind first; some have you juice the fruit and then chop the rind. Most have you hold the pips (and often membranes) for pectin (except the ones that use commercial pectin, which seems ridiculous). Worse, sugar ranges from about one-to-one to thrice(!) the quantity of fruit. Some measure the fruit in quantity, or weight, or juiced-and-peeled volume. It's overwhelming.

So I had a half dozen blood oranges that were really too bitter to eat. And then some lovely Meyer lemons to balance that out. I peeled the rind off of three Meyer lemons and juiced them: the rest I held back for the pectin bag. I cut the rind into strips about an eighth of an inch wide. I juiced the blood oranges very well, leaving very little membrane left inside. I cut those in the same manner. All the pips and membranes went into cheesecloth and was tied up (that's where most of the pectin is). I used about an equal weight of fruit and sugar.

I cooked the fruit and pectin bag for about twenty minutes to soften the fruit and then added the sugar. After fifteen minutes I took out the pectin sack and let it cool enough to squeeze out all that pectin. I cooked the marmalade until it jelled just enough on a saucer placed in the freezer, which was about 222ºF (and most recipes suggest 8º-10ºF above boiling). This was even more red than last time, and has great flavor. I might even use a tiny bit less sugar next time, but only as I like marmalade on the bitter side.

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