Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Citrus Marmalade

No longer am I out of marmalade. Marmalade, a fruit preserve made from the juice and peel of citrus fruits, is very easy and inexpensive to make at home yourself. I like to make mine from a combination of lemons and oranges, so I call it Citrus Marmalade. But, if you prefer, make orange marmalade, lime marmalade, grapefruit marmalade, or any combination of your choice. It's all good.
My favorite use for marmalade is as a flavoring for the yogurt that I make. I love the combination of the taste of the tangy, fresh yogurt and that sweet, slightly bitter flavor of marmalade. But, with nothing but empty jars on hand today, I was unfortunately out. No worries here though, because I had oranges and lemons on hand. From start to finish, this marmalade recipe makes up fast, so within thirty minutes from taking the pan out of my cupboard, I had two lovely jars of marmalade on hand once again.
Not liking the poor quality, rubbery, slightly pricey stuff they call marmalade that's available at the regular grocery store, and not wanting to shell out the big bucks to purchase one of those fancy jars at one of those fancy shops, I realized a long time ago that it's best just to make it myself. I recommend using only organically grown citrus fruits in order to avoid any nasty chemicals that might have been used on a non-organic orchard. Living in the Pacific Northwest, our climate is not warm enough to grow our own citrus fruits. If you reside in a climate where you can grow them yourself, lucky you. Here's my basic recipe.

Citrus Marmalade
1 Orange
1 Lemon
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Water
Wash the lemon and orange. Grate off just the colored portion of their peels and place the gratings in a large pan. Peel the pithy white layer off of the orange and lemon and discard. (I add that to my compost pail.) Slice, dice and chop the lemon and orange into small pieces.
Place the chopped fruit in the pan with the grated peel. Add the sugar, then the water and stir to blend.
Cook on high until the mixture comes to a steady boil. Lower the heat and continue cooking for ten minutes, stirring as it cooks. Citrus fruits contain plenty of their own natural pectin, so the mixture will begin to thicken as it cooks. To test to see if the marmalade has cooked to a thick enough consistency, remove the pan from the heat and spoon a small dab onto a cold plate. If the dab thickens, your marmalade is finished. If it is still too runny or a bit watery, return the pan to the heat and cook in five minute intervals, testing for thickness at the end of each interval. When your marmalade has reached the desired consistency, cool slightly and pour into jars.
Once this batch of marmalade was finished, I could hardly wait to try some in my yogurt. Wow, it really is exceptionally GOOD.
This recipe makes two jelly-sized jars of marmalade. Cover with a lid to keep for several weeks in the refrigerator. Double, triple, or more, this recipe to make larger quantities. If you make a larger quantity, place regular canning rings and lids on the jars and process them in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Once canned, marmalade will easily keep for up to one year. For a great gift idea, make a variety of citrus marmalades - orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, or any combination of those fruits - and pack them in baskets or small boxes to give away.

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