With all the citrus fruit around at this time of the year, marmalade is a fairly easy and inexpensive way to make the most of it all while its in abundance. Although it doesn't cost all that much, especially if you can pick the fruit from neighbours trees; or find it by the box full labeled 'free', the process does take a little bit of time. But is very well worth it.
You can make any size batch you like, and of course the bigger you go, the more time it takes to cut all the fruit up. But generally for an end result of about six jars I'm working with - four lemons; four grapefruit; four oranges; and a couple of limes. A day or two before I'm planning on preparing the fruit, I put them all in a large bowl and soak them in cold water. This isn't a vital step, but I find to get really good fragrant and colourful results from the rind; having ripe but clean, firm fruit is the best to work with.
There is room for preference in the way that the fruit is prepared. As I've heard of people thinly slicing through the whole fruit, rind and all; and others using the blender; but I tend to grate the rind from the fruit, discard all of the pith, and then finely dice (with a very sharp knife) all of the flesh. This can take slightly longer than other methods, but far preferable for the thick, glossy, pith-less end result.
Either a coarse or fine grater will remove your rind well, but a medium-coarse grater is the most ideal, if you come across one.
Remove all of the rind, trying to avoid digging to deep and collecting the pith as well, and place the rind back into your large bowl. Cut your fruit into sixths or eighths, remove the flesh from each segment and discard the pith and any seeds. Slice all of the flesh into roughly 5 mm or so size cubes and add to your bowl with any and all excess juice. Once you've worked through all of that, fill up your bowl with fresh water to cover all of your fruit - plus one extra cup. Cover your bowl with a tea towel and leave to soak over night.
Put the contents of your bowl into a large pot, and bring to the boil. Once you've got it going, turn it down to a steady boil and cook until fruit is soft and pulpy; this should take approximately an hour. The volume of your mixture will reduce a bit, at which point remove from the heat and let it cool a little. When cooled slightly, measure the number of cups of pulp remaining, and add back into your pot cup-for-cup with white sugar. Return to the boil, and again reduce to a steady flow. Stir regularly, and keep a watchful eye on it; as it can boil a sugary mess over the sides if not well supervised. To help with testing the setting quality when ready for bottling, place a small plate in the fridge to get nice and cold. Additionally preheat the oven to 100 degrees celsius for sterilizing your jars.
This second boil will again take about an hour, but may vary depending on the level of pectin (natural setting agent) in your fruit. Your concoction will darken in colour as it cooks, until its a deep, glossy, orange. As your mixture begins to thicken, you can test how well it's setting quality is by dabbing a teaspoon of your marmalade onto the cold plate from the fridge and popping it back into the fridge for a minute or two. If when you check it by tilting the plate to almost vertical, it doesn't run, its pretty much ready to put into your jars. So toward the end keep testing about every five minutes, until its at this point.
Fill the sink with hot soapy water, rinse your jars in it, and then place the jars in the preheated oven; removing them when your ready to poor your finished marmalade into them.
It's important that you go by how your marmalade is setting after being in the fridge for a moment; as it may still seem a little runny in the pot, but will set a lot more as it cools in the jars.
When your ready, carefully remove your jars from the oven and fill them with your delicious, sweet, just like ya grandma makes, thick and marvelous, marmalade.
Eat it by the spoon full, or with butter on freshly toasted - home made sourdough...
Katie's kindred cook - Matt
23/9 I made some marmalade today inspired by the above
Thanks Matt : )
I was soo impressed with it I thought I'd tell you about it
I put my citrus through my old mincer
instead of adding water I used up all the extra wrinkly old
grapefruit by juicing them in my extra large juicer
In the morning it was all gorgeous & thick like this
so I added a couple of cups of water & cooked it,
then added the sugar as usual.
It set very readily & has the most intensely divine flavour.
It is truly delicious mixed into Greek yoghurt too!