Marmalade, I didn’t enjoy it as a child. It was too sweet, tart and tangy for my liking. It didn’t matter what type whether it be cumquat, lemon and orange, lemon and lime it always tasted the same. Thinking back, the flavours were quite complex as a child and I suppose that’s what attracts me to it as an adult.
I am just starting out with jam making and this happened to be my first batch of Orange Marmalade. As this was my first attempt I over cooked the marmalade, giving me three jars of thick caramelized jam. I am still completely satisfied with the sticky jam as it set and still has a lovely flavour.
I over cooked the marmalade because I was nervous the jam was not going to set, even with all my testing. So I suppose the perfection of this process will only come with practice and what better a time when sweet oranges are in season and backyard lemon trees are coming to life.
I am excited about the possibilities of jam not only in the making, tasting and perfecting but also in the act of sharing and I think we should all find some fruit, sugar and a little time to spend on such a rewarding process.
P.S I love it when a bottle of cumquat marmalade has sat in the back of the cupboard for a little while and has darkened in colour. The tanginess mellows and the flavours are smooth and subtle, perfect for a rainy day. Do you agree?
Adapted from this recipe
1kg Oranges (I believe the Seville Orange is the preferred orange for jam making, however they all work so pick one you like)
1kg White Sugar (equal portions to the fruit flesh used)
3gms Dry Pectin
Juice of 1 Lemon
Wash oranges thoroughly to remove any pesticides or wax from skin remove peel from the pith (the pith is bitter and not used in the jam making process) and thinly slice.
Cut the orange flesh into small pieces that will be easy to break down once the jam starts to cook. Place orange pieces, lemon juice and peel in a bowl with the sugar and let stand over night.
Once oranges have stood overnight, place into a saucepan with pectin and bring to a boil over a medium heat until peel has softened and jam has thickened approximately 1 1/2 hours .
Place a small plate in the freezer and test the jam on it. The jam should stay separate once you draw a line through the middle.
Make sure you sterilize your jars. I prefer to place my jam into my jam jars hot and place the lid on.