Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Marmalade Masquerade

The wet winter has yielded a second bounty of sweet little tangerines (or clementines, I'm not sure of the difference). In addition, I have joined the Food in Jars Mastery Challenge for 2017, led by Marissa McClellan, author of Food in Jars.

For this batch of marmalade, I used our backyard-grown clementines and some Meyer lemons that I had leftover from a baking project. Meyer lemons might be my favorite citrus fruit ever, so I'm really glad that I got to incorporate them into this delicious citrus jam.

I loosely followed the instructions (but not the ingredients) for this three-citrus marmalade. Mostly because it has lots of pretty pictures and is very easy to follow!

I don't care much for the bitterness of true marmalade, so this time I decided to go a different route: citrus jam. Instead of boiling the fruit whole (like with traditional marmalade, I peeled each tangerine by hand, then squished out the fruity guts from each segment to get rid of the pithy membrane while preserving some of the fruit's natural texture.

I then chopped up the peels, and along with the membranes and seeds, made a cheese cloth bundle of the bitter-tasting but pectin-rich parts of the fruits. I boiled this bundle in with the jam until it reached 220* F and it set perfectly!

Important things I did differently this time that made everything easier:

  • I actually used a candy thermometer to measure the exact temperature of the jam. It takes longer to get to 220* than you might think!
  • I made the jam in a dutch oven, rather than my stainless steel stockpot. The dutch oven is much larger, retains a lot more heat, and the ceramic coating makes cleanup a breeze.
  • I got myself a pair of jar tongs, which make a huge difference when trying to lift hot glass jars out of the canner!
I've learned a LOT about preserving foods in the past month-ish, and most of it is due to Marissa McClellan's wonderful books and super helpful and organized website. This delicious batch goes out to you, Marissa. Thanks for making me feel useful in the kitchen.

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