Saturday, 30 January 2010
It's Marmalade Time Again!
There are as many recipes for marmalade as I've had hot dinners, (and that's quite a few) but over the years I've found this is the easiest, and most reliable. It's particularly useful for Aga owners, in that you can leave the fruit to cook in the bottom oven overnight, but it's easily adapted to ordinary cookers.
Ladies Breakfast Marmalade
should yield around 10lbs
3 lbs/1.5kg seville oranges (or any mixture of other citrus if you prefer)
6lbs/3kg granulated sugar
4 pints/2.5litres water
Now you can turn up the heat and boil the marmalade to setting point. You can discern this by use of a jam thermometer, which will register around 220F/105C, or by the old fashioned cold plate method.
Place a small plate in the freezer for a few minutes, and when you are ready to test, drop a small spoonfull onto the plate. If, after a minute or two you can push the marmalade with your finger and it forms a wrinkly skin, then it's ready. It's difficult to be exact, but it shouldn't really take much more than ten or fifteen minutes, sometimes less.
Turn off the heat and stir in a knob of butter, which helps disperse scum. You will need to allow the marmalade to cool a little before potting, so that all the peel doesn't rise to the tops of the jars. Ten minutes or so should do it. Make sure your jars are clean and sterile by putting them in the oven for ten minutes or on a hot dishwasher cycle. Cover straight away with cellophane covers, or even better, screw tops.
Gentleman's Oxford Style Marmalade
Make exactly as above but slice the peel in chunkier bits, and when adding the sugar include two good tablespoons of black treacle, or blackstrap molasses.
Don'f forget the pretty labels.