The end of summer has meant some frantic jam-making sessions in my kitchen, trying to preserve as much of summer as I can into little glass jars. I have made several batches of Peach & Raspberry Jam, as well as a simple apricot jam (using my recipe for Apricot & Vanilla Jam but omitting the vanilla this time), not to mention the Strawberry Jam which has been disappearing as fast as I make it.
And whilst oranges are not quite in season yet, I wanted to have orange marmalade with my toast at breakfast one day and the domestic goddess in me wouldn’t allow me to just simply buy a jar from the local supermarket. I had to make my own. Thanks to the year-round supply of oranges from Spain, I was able to make marmalade even though purists would probably tell me that I should have waited a few more months.
I gathered all of my books on making jam and was somewhat surprised to find that there were so many varied recipes for making marmalade. Some recipes required the orange rind to be soaked in water for 3 hours. Some required straining the fruit mixture through a piece of muslin overnight. I ultimately settled on a recipe from one of my many French cookbooks which perhaps wasn’t the easiest recipe but it didn’t require any overnight preparation. It was also a recipe which used the least amount of sugar; jam recipes often call for 1:1 ratio of fruit to sugar and which makes sense if you are preserving for the long haul (i.e. if you are making jam which might be eaten 2 or more years later), but which isn’t necessary if you know you will consume the jam over the coming months.
This particular orange marmalade is quite sweet, primarily because it uses sweet, blonde oranges and not the bitter Seville oranges. Also, the recipe is quite persistent in trying to remove as much pith as possible, and blanching the peel beforehand helps to soften it so that you are not confronted with a chunk of bitter peel later. I quite like this marmalade and would be curious to try it with grapefruit …
I happen to love, love ginger jam and grated fresh ginger into half of the mixture just before bottling them. It was also a quick way to add more variety to my current jam collection.
Has anyone else been busy preserving lately?
Orange & Ginger Marmalade
Recipe adapted from Confitures by Martine Lizambard
Makes 3-4 pots, about 375 g (13 oz) each
If you are using a sugar thermometer, most recipes will tell you to boil the mixture until it reaches 105°C (220°F). At this temperature, the mixture should have thickened somewhat, but should still be soft and spreadable the first time you open the jar.
When making this marmalade, I took the pan off the heat once my sugar thermometer hit 105°C (220°F). However, the mixture still looked quite runny. So I put the pan back on the heat and continued to cook the mixture until I felt it was sufficiently thick. The temperature hovered around the 105°C / 106°C mark during this time.
If you end up bottling jam or marmalade which has not set – and you can tell if you tip the jar and the mixture sloshes around inside – simply empty the jars back into a large saucepan and reheat them until they have reached the desired thickness. You can try this a few hours after bottling when the jam has had time to cool, or even the next day. The jam should not suffer for this second cooking attempt, although you will have to rewash and sterilise all the jars again.
Do you have any jam-making tips you wish to share?