Friday, January 27, 2017

Marmalade Wrap-Up

Funny thing about me and projects...  I do jump in head first!

At the grocery store yesterday, I popped in for just a few items... but found myself lingering at the citrus display....   I haven't made marmalade with blood oranges yet - or cara cara...  and I did find a recipe for lime coconut that intrigues me...

But I slapped my hands, remembering that I still do have a few fruits still at home - and I need the pleasure of a wrap-up!  [though I did promise myself that NEXT week.. if I still feel the same way.... I will buy the blood oranges!  ... or the cara cara... or something :-)]

What is marmalade?
According to
a jellylike preserve in which small pieces of fruit and fruit rind, as of oranges or lemons, are suspended."
or - in my words - Preserves (or jam) made with citrus fruit
I like the idea - it means I'm not throwing out the rind.  Less waste, right?
I do need to find more ideas for citrus peel!  Anyway - back to marmalade and what I learned....
There are several ways to prepare the fruit.... depending on the  thickness of the membranes (the 'skin; between the fruit segments) and the pith (that bitter white stuff between the outer rind and the fruit).  A good contrast would be a grapefruit - with tough membranes and thick bitter pith we do not usually eat.. and a naval orange which we peel the rind off and eat everything else.

My personal preferences for preparing (isn't it cool to have tried so many techniques that you now have a preference?) are as follows:

                            a) **Most favorite because it is the easiest!
                                     Chop up the whole fruit right away

                             b)  Boil the entire fruit... then cut up when cool

                             c) Supreme the fruit (cut off the two ends, stand up and carefully slice off rind, cut off pith, and then section out fruit)

C is my favorite for the fruits with thick membranes.  B can work with any type of citrus.

You always reserve the extra stuff (membranes, pith and seeds) because they are the natural source of pectin that will cause the marmalade to thicken.  [so you won't need to add pectin!)
I learned about weighing fruit and using thermometer (still don't have a kitchen scale though)

   The weighing is important because you add sugar to the fruit cup for pound (1 cup sugar to 1 pound fruit).  I weighed and purchased at the store for these recipes.  But I did find several recipes that added sugar cup for cup (1 cup sugar to 1 cup processed fruit) and I found that to work for me.

    The thermometer - in theory, marmalade sets (becomes gel-like) at 220 degrees F.  I have an inexpensive candy thermometer that only hit 220F once.  I still do better with my eyes.. and the freezer plate method (you keep a plate in the freezer and drop a bit of the cooking marmalade on it.... if it doesn't RUN down the plate, it's ready)  So I kind of fell back upon my personal experience of how the jam mixture changes as it cooks!

I learned that I DO like marmalade :-)

I learned that I need to buy more quarter-pint jars because that is a better size for gifting and for my personal use (of jam stuff)  Today I am going to down size my tasting jars by canning some quarter pints.

and.. am really enjoying the Food Mastery Challenge.  Let's see how many months I can do this - bring on the SALT PRESERVING for February (whatever that is) .  

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Batch #6 Honey-Lemon Marmalade

Still marmalad-ing!

Honey-Lemon Marmalade in Marisa McClellan's Preserving by the Pint  was next up on my agenda...

This recipe called for ANOTHER way to cut the fruit.....

slicing both ends off the lemon
   standing it on end and cutting 6 wedges
     cutting out the membrane and then laying the wedge rind side UP to slice..

I did one that way but it was a little tricky.... I did the rest with the supreming method I explained in an earlier post.. EXCEPT I left the pith (because I saw nothing in the first recipe saying to remove it)

I must say that 4.5 pounds of lemons is a LOT :-)  But I weighed it out in the grocery store - because I still don't have a food scale here at home...

Day 1 was slicing all that fruit (about 10 lemons)

Day 2  I made the marmalade - which was relatively uneventful - except for running out of my half pint jars.  I had a few quarter-pint ones though so I used those.  They might actually be better for gifting.. hmm...

I found the little 'Actually I Can' block in the clearance section at Joann's Fabric some time ago...  I keep it handy when my brain says "I couldn't do that!"      like ..... making marmalade :-)

The one thing I learned - for me - is that I need to take out the pith.  The product is a bit bitter for me though still tasty.

Today was the last day to enter the Food Mastery Challenge.. and I chose to enter the Cranberry Clementine marmalade.

I have to admit that I still have a grapefruit, a couple of lemons and 7 oranges in the house.... will we eat them or will I marmalade them?

I'll let you know!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Marmalade - Batch #5 - Cherry Limeade Marmalade

So... today's marmalade adventure is Cherry Limeade marmalade..... which sounded awesome when I first found it!

The only real downside is the cost of frozen cherries... 2 pounds of them... yikes!  This had better be good :-)

This is the basic recipe.......  Cherry Key Lime Marmalade

I changed it up just a little... first off..... lemon verbena stems?  Really?  I can honestly say that these are not at my local Food Lion.... which is 30 minutes away AND the closest store.... so... yep - left them out.   I wondered about giving the mix a spritz of lemon juice - but then decided to just do without.

I also used regular limes because that is what I found.

And the recipe called for cutting the limes in half and then slicing thinly.  I did that - for 8 limes - and cooked as directed.  But while they were cooling in the fridge overnight, I decided the rind pieces were larger than I liked.....  so this morning, I chopped them up more finely.

I must say, my cherry-lime mixture on the stove smells divine.... enough that I starting singing the Lime & Coconut song...... and started thinking about a lime & coconut marmalade... hmm.......  I wonder if that would work....

....and then .... I got distracted here writing... and scorched it!  I sprang into action and dumped it into another pan to keep cooking - lowered the temp of the burner... and scraped all the burned mess into the garbage disposal :-(    I got a new oven for Thanksgiving and am still figuring out the dual burner thing on the top.   I try not to walk away from something cooking without a timer on but apparently did forget that this time!

At any rate - I think it is salvaged.... and I will know later.

It's pretty anyway - and I have a tasting jar in the fridge too.

I must say - the Orange-Ginger Marmalade I scorched the other day doesn't have any of that scorch flavor today so... cross your fingers!

I think though - if I do make another batch today - it will be later on when I decide to babysit it better!  I have one more recipe to try but I need to get some lemons.  I do have enough oranges in the house to make another basic batch and redo the syrupy #1 batch with it - so that WAS my plan.....   I will decide later and add a post script if I do it!

Tomorrow I have an appointment in town so will get the lemons and more seals and jars... and honey, too I think..  The Lemon-honey marmalade sounds awesome - particularly this time of year when everybody is sick - it sounds like it would be a great add-in for hot tea.


ps..... I did NOT make another batch of marmalade..... It was a foggy misty day and I settled in to watch some dvds and stitch on my kaleidoscope hexagon project..... which I will share more about in another post.....

Sunday, January 22, 2017

WIP - Flower garden #1 2017

It's not just marmalade happening here - though it seems like it!

My sewing machine is in the shop for maintenance so all machine projects are on hold!  I am finishing up a week of working on my Grandmother's Flower garden - with English paper piecing.

So - handwork.  I am thinking this year - when I am at home, I will be working on several handwork projects so will prob focus on something different each week.  At the moment for the Grandmother hexy project, I do have several flowers completed and am sewing them together in twos.

 I spent last week working on them and will have completed two by the end of the day to have a total of 8 sets of two.  I think I will need about 30 whole flowers for the quilt and some halves.... so am currently shooting for 15 sets of two flowers before I go further.  I am hoping that doing it in segments will make joining all 30+ of them a little less daunting at the end.

I know we will be traveling a bit this year - and the English paper piecing projects travel well - so I have been creating little sandwich bags with hexagons ready for assembly.  I can make the flowers on the road - and do the assembling at home.

I have more projects going on that I will write about as time progresses.

I do want to get my blog up and running again.  I seem to have somehow lost my voice in the last few years.

Food in Jars Mastery - Marmalade #3 (Three Citrus) and #4 (Cranberry Clementine)

I was lucky enough to have the whole day today to stay home so I could play with my marmalade making!

The next recipe was Three Citrus marmalade - also from Marisa McClellan's Food in Jars.   For this recipe, the rinds of the fruits I used needed a little more prepping.  With straight orange marmalade, you use all of the fruit, rind and all, in the jam (not seeds!).  But in this recipe, I also used lemon and grapefruit... both of which have a lot more of the white layer between the fruit and the peel (pith).  That layer is very bitter, so it's not good in the actual jam.  BUT you do save it and the seeds and wrap it up in cheesecloth to cook with. 

Somewhere in my marmalade research  [sorry I can't remember now but will add the link when I find it again,] I also learned how to get the fruit sections out and leave the membranes behind - it's called 'supreming'.   New word, new technique - go me!

Anyway - last night I actually peeled the fruits as a first step to the preparation.  This morning, I actually supremed and cut up the fruit and made the marmalade.

I think this batch is just right!  And I love the flavor... you can really taste the grapefruit.  (My little fox kept me company today as I played!)

Second batch for today was sort of accidental..... just the other day, my husband (the clementine eater) mentioned that he was really tired of eating them..... and, since they are citrus and I am in marmalade mode. I decided to hunt down a recipe.  And voila.... Cranberry Clementine Marmalade!  Perfect since I had cranberries left in the freezer from the holidays!  Win-win for using up!

I was tired though and didn't do this exactly as directed.... the instructions said to put the fruit itself in the cheesecloth bag along with the pith.   It didn't make much sense to me since there really isn't much pith to a clementine.   So I used the bag for the lemons... but the fruit of both the lemons and the clementines got chopped right up into the marmalade.

The jars are really pretty!   The spread is fruity-chunky..... and nice and tart.  My tasting jar is on the right.... Can't wait to finish my project and have a tasting party!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Food in Jars Mastery Challenge - January = Marmalade

In early January I ran across a random post about a Food in Jars Mastery Challenge... by one of my favorite canning gurus..... and the event sang to me :-)   I enjoy canning... and the thought of a monthly canning adventure?  Well...  yeah... I'm in....

This month is marmalade.

My memories of marmalade are exactly two.....

     When I was a child, my sister used to make it and I hated it
      Paddington the Bear loves it.   [children's literature is a FAVE hobby] 

Check out Paddington from Amazon here   [I do get a little kick-back when you click through here and purchase]

And in my own inimitable fashion...... I started on the internet.... gathering recipes and info.

First up, the Mastery Challenge site has plenty of instructions - which you should read carefully [and I did not :-)]   But I did start with their basic recipe for Small Batch Orange Marmalade....

   Mine is lovely.......

But it didn't set - so currently it is syrup :-)   I am sure there are things I can do with it but I'm not sure yet so I plan to do another batch of this later and add this syrup for a do over!  I don't use pectin in my jams so sometimes it takes a batch or two to get into the rhythm of having the right consistency.  

The second batch was a little better..... Orange-Ginger Marmalade.  Still not quite the right set... but a bit of scorch so I got it off the heat as soon as I realized!  Again, flavor is reasonable - not too burned :-) .... still learning...

I do have one jar of each open in the fridge for tasters!  I will have to make some fresh bread to enjoy this with :-)

Batch 3 fruit is being prepped now..... stay tuned!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Food in Jars Mastery Challenge

Oohhh... a new project!

January brings me doldrums...... it's a fallow time of year when it takes all my energy to get out of bed in the morning...   My world feels gray.  Most of the time....

But one of the things that always perks me up is learning new things..... provided it catches my interest :-)

I haven't done any canning in a few months - so maybe that is why the Food in Jars Mastery Challenge grabbed me this year.

And January's challenge is marmalade.  Which I have never made.  So there ya go...

The other months - some I am familiar with, some I am not... so a good mix.. and the challenge author / sponsor will have instructions for me.  I'm kind of excited.... so watch and wait and see what happens.   

I included the month's listings below..... some I have absolutely no clue... so this should be entertaining!

Calendar of Preserving Skills
January – Marmalade
February – Salt Preserving
March – Jelly
April – Quick Pickles
May – Cold Pack Preserving
June – Jam
July – Hot Pack Preserving
August – Low Temperature Pasteurization
September – Fruit Butter
October – Drying and Dehydration OR Pressure Canning
November – Fermentation
December – Fruit Pastes