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) .  

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