Archive for January, 2010

Tigress’ Can Jam redux

Slices of blood orange, ready to be made into marmalade.

Well, it seems that I did not read the directions correctly and so posted my recipe and story about the January canning experience too early.  I was excited and wanted to get it all down as it happened.  I also am leaving in the morning to go to Costa Rica for a week for a family reunion.  I was trying to get things done when they could get done.  So, now here is the recipe.  You can look to the last two posts for the full story of how it all went.  Thank you Tigress for having this great idea.  I can’t wait to find out what we are doing next month.

My recipe for Blood Orange Marmalade

5 small blood oranges, locally grown, if you are so lucky.

Slice them 3/16 inch thick, crossways, so that you get that pretty star effect.

Place in a heavy bottomed pot with the juice of one lemon and just enough water to cover them.  Make a jelly bag from cheese cloth or muslin.  Put the end pieces from the oranges and the lemon rind and seeds in it.  Place that in the pot also.  Bring it to a boil and turn off the heat.  Cover and let sit overnight or up to 12 hours.

Bring the fruit and liquid up to a boil again and cook for 30 minutes to evaporate some of the water and get the benefit of the pectin in the bits in the jelly bag.  At the end of this cooking, take out the jelly bag and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.  This is where the pectin is in most abundance.  Pour that liquid back into the pot. 

Now it is time to measure the amount of fruit and liquid that you have.  I had approximately 4 cups.  Add the same amount of organic sugar to the pot and bring it up to boiling.  At that point, turn the heat to medium or lower and watch it carefully until it reaches 220 degrees.  Skim off any scum that develops.  Jar up the marmalade.  You should have at least 3 half-pints.  Process in hot water bath for 10 minutes.  Set out on towel on counter and wait to hear the lovely pops of your jars sealing.

Finished marmalade

January Can Jam (part 2)

I, at least, bought organic sugar at the store so part of this thing is going right.  After cooking the fruit down, I measured it and found that I had 4 cups worth of fruit and liquid.  I added 4 cups of organic, made in Florida, sugar to it and began to cook it off.  It gets up to 200 degrees rather quickly, but that last 20 degrees takes a while.  I figured out that the sugar to water ratio has to be right for it to be able to go above boiling, so we are just evaporating off the  excess water in the meantime.  As I skimmed scum, I grew somewhat impatient and resorted to turning the heat up.  Unfortunately, it almost scorched, but I caught it in time.  At least I guess I did.  It does not taste burnt.  There was one tiny scorched spot in the bottom of the pan. 

marmalade bubbling away in the pot

The next time I make this, or any other jam or jelly, I will definitely let it go at a lower setting and just make up my mind to wait.   I will also use a smaller pot, so that the thermometer is deeper in the mixture.  I hope this is about learning, not just about achieving perfection.

I scooped it up into the jars and managed to make 3 full half-pints and about a half of another.   I put the three full ones  in the hot water bath for ten minutes.  The half of a jar, I just put in the refrigerator.  I’ll eat it first.  In fact, I’ve already had a couple of bites.  The color is very nice and it tastes good to me.  There is some bitterness from the peel and such, but I really kind of like it.  The pectin certainly did its job; it is very dense and stiff.  I detect no hint of laundry from the jelly bag.  I look forward to having some with biscuits or English Muffins in the near future. 

I learned a lot from this first Can Jam effort, how to use the mandoline, a little bit about patience, and how to make marmalade.  I have just ordered both versions of Well Preserved.  They are two different books with two different subtitles, by two different women, that are both about canning in small batches, which is more suited to the life I live now, unlike the huge batches I grew up with.  I have canned green beans, tomatoes, muscadine juice and pears.  I’ve made pickles of all kinds, pear mincemeat and just recently, scuppernong jelly; and many other kinds of jelly, but that was a long time ago.   This one was all in the technique.  I think the next time I make it, I will be smoother in the process, but I’m not sure that it could taste much better.  I really love the contrast of the bitter and sweet in one mouthful.

My recipe for Blood Orange Marmalade

5 small blood oranges, locally grown, if you are so lucky.

Slice them 3/16 inch thick, crossways, so that you get that pretty star effect.

Place in a heavy bottomed pot with the juice of one lemon and just enough water to cover them.  Make a jelly bag from cheese cloth or muslin.  Put the end pieces from the oranges and the lemon rind and seeds in it.  Place that in the pot also.  Bring it to a boil and turn off the heat.  Cover and let sit overnight or up to 12 hours.

Bring the fruit and liquid up to a boil again and cook for 30 minutes to evaporate some of the water and get the benefit of the pectin in the bits in the jelly bag.  At the end of this cooking, take out the jelly bag and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.  This is where the pectin is in most abundance.  Pour that liquid back into the pot. 

Now it is time to measure the amount of fruit and liquid that you have.  I had approximately 4 cups.  Add the same amount of organic sugar to the pot and bring it up to boiling.  At that point, turn the heat to medium or lower and watch it carefully until it reaches 220 degrees.  Skim off any scum that develops.  Jar up the marmalade.  You should have at least 3 half-pints.  Process in hot water bath for 10 minutes.  Set out on towel on counter and wait to hear the lovely pops of your jars sealing.

The finished jars of blood orange marmalade.

January Can Jam

Slicing the blood oranges on the mandolin.

Citrus is not something that you can get locally around here.  We are just a little too far north.  I am planning on planting a satsuma tree in my yard in the spring, but after this January in Georgia, I am not counting on global warming to do me any favors anytime soon.  I hope that I can keep the little orange tree alive but if next winter is like this one, I don’t know if I have a chance.  Anyway, I have been curious about blood oranges  since seeing them when I visited Rome several years ago.  They just happened to have some at the Kroger the other day when I was trying to decide on what citrus I would can.  They were from Melissa’s.  They  did not say that they were organic and neither were they local, but I promise I will do better on that front next month. 

So I brought them home, 6 little blood oranges in a bag and ate one, just to see what they tasted like.  To my surprise, these were a little sour.  But considering how much sugar it takes to make marmalade, that wasn’t a serious problem.  I had never eaten marmalade before, but it seemed like the only logical thing to do with them.  So I sliced them up on our newly acquired mandoline last night, and put them in a pot, covered with water.  I added the juice of one large lemon, made a jelly bag containing the peel and seeds of the lemon, and the ends of the peeling of the oranges and tied it up with string.  I brought them all to a boil and then turned them off to set overnight.

I am somewhat concerned about the jelly bag.  It seems to be absorbing all the color from the oranges and it has somewhat of a laundry smell about it.  I hope that will not translate to my marmalade.  I have cobbled together a recipe from several websites.  The main source of my method is from a blog called Lindsey’s Luscious.  She describes making marmalade in the style of June Taylor.  I also found a recipe on the bon appetit website.  I have sliced them as described in the bon appetit recipe and a couple others, but the rest is done by the blog recipe. 
This morning I am performing the next step, which is to bring the whole concoction to a boil and let it cook vigorously for 30 minutes to evaporate the water and release the pectin in the seeds and skin in the jelly bag.  Next I will measure to see how much I have left and then put in an equal amount of sugar and cook it off.  The problem now is I don’t have enough sugar.  We have cut back so much since I have changed my eating habits that I have not bought sugar lately.  So now, while the marmalade waits, I have to run out to the store in the freezing cold to buy sugar. 
I will post again when I have it all in the jars.

The fruit and jelly bag, just before boiling this morning.