Thursday, February 4, 2010

To Marmalade or Not to Marmalade?

Main Entry: mar·ma·lade
Pronunciation: \ˈmär-mə-ˌlād\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English marmelat quince conserve, Portuguese marmelada, from marmelo quince, from Latin melimelum, a sweet apple, from Greek melimēlon, from meli honey + mēlon apple. Date: circa 1676
: a clear sweetened jelly in which pieces of fruit and fruit rind are suspended


My parents-in-law have citrus trees in their backyard. The nifty orange I post the other day came from their trees. Combine this with the fact that I got a canning set up for Christmas and we have an interesting situation. Do I really try this or not? Do I wait until I have my parents here to really teach me what I am doing, or do I just go for it and see what happens?

Well, I think everyone can guess what happened, I went for it.

I picked out some pretty oranges and tangerines and washed them.

I had to peel them (and since I don't like the peel in marmalade). This took forever because the recipe I was looking at said to do it by hand, and my hands weren't working real well. When I discovered that I needed 4 cups (and I only had 2) of orange chunks,  I was dismayed. I decided to start cutting them open and peel them with a knife. This went SO SO SO much faster! I did double the amount in about 1/3 of the time.

 



Then it was time to break out the JUMBO pot! This pot is seriously the biggest pot in a home kitchen I have ever seen. I am so happy we didn't buy the pretty glass-top stove that we wanted when we were buying appliances for the house. Luckily, when we were looking one day, the lady that sold us the stove was a canner. She told us to go with the coil top stove instead, because the weight of the pot of water would crack the stove top.

 


Side notes:
1. Pardon all the messy kitche - I was warned this was a messy project, but I didn't realize HOW MESSY it really was.
2. I really love the way our blue walls work in the kitchen. At some point I will not have the kitchen a wreck and be able to take pictures of it, maybe I will even get a chance to make the curtains I want. Though, that is a huge project in itself because I have to make the fabric first.

Well, I followed through the whole thing. It took about 4.5 hours, which was way longer than I was expecting. I also wasn't expecting the popping noises that happened within a couple of minutes of pulling the jars out of the boiling water. From what I understand, that is what is supposed to happen. I am also not sure that it is actually going to harden up to make a real "jelly". I was reading in a book I checked out at the library today after I made the marmalade, and the book explained how to check to see if it was at the right point to gel. Needless to say, I didn't do this little test, but I will next time I make jam.

 

I got 8 full jars out of this batch. I probably could have gotten 9, but I didn't clean enough jars. It would have been a little hard to stop in the middle of the filling process and wash another jar and boil it, so that extra went into a container to be put into the fridge. Though AJ decided that it tasted yummy enough that he just wanted to drink the whole thing when he got home (it hadn't solidified at all at that point).


This morning it looks really good. Some of the jars have solidified some, others are still a little more liquidy - those seem to be the ones with more fruit in them. I didn't do that great of a job of getting a good ratio of fruit to liquid into all the jars, next time I won't just scoop them out with a measuring cup. But, I was scared of the hot liquid - as Alton Brown refers to is "liquid Napalm that taste good".  Hopefully everything worked right, otherwise we are starting this process over again, because it was more fun than I thought it would be.

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