A toast. To marmalade.

It worked! Victory is mine! I made my home-grown cumquats into marmalade which is pretty good if I may say so-a little bit sour, not too sweet- just the way I like it. AND I did it with no commercial pectin, and it set just fine EVEN THOUGH I  really had to guess whether it had cooked enough because I was being yelled at for attention by a small and overtired person.  I had a scrappy newspaper article about jam making that I had saved for the last 3 years to refer to, and it mentioned 105 degrees C as the magic number to get to for successful jam setting. To this end I did use a candy thermometer that I had bought for making ricotta at home. The  article (sorry, no info on date or author) also gave me the hot tip that you must cook the fruit to be as soft as you want it to be before you add the sugar, because it doesn’t soften up any more after that. The only other time I made jam (orange marmalade that time-I like citrus, what can I say?) I had some bizarre hard pieces of rind through it, and I think that early sugar was the problem.

For more specifics on proportions of ingredients and method, I referred to Stephanie Alexander’s weighty tome, The Cooks Companion. Stephanie’s recipe deals with kilograms of fruit, and while I am (I think justifiably) proud of the yield of my little 2 year old cumquat tree, I had only 880 grams of fruit in total. No matter, I just washed the fruit well, sliced it up and removed the pips and let the fruit soak overnight, only just covered in cold water, and with the pips included-wrapped in a piece of muslin.

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The next day I measured out the fruit and liquid (I had only 5 cups total) and cooked it in my big, heavy-bottomed saucepan until it was soft. Then I added the same amount of sugar as fruit, and kept the mixture at a steady boil for 35 minutes. Stephanie said 25 minutes, but the mixture was not quite at 105 degrees by that time.

In the meantime I sterilised some clean glass bottles by filling them half way with cold water and putting the in the microwave for 5 minutes, then pouring out the water and standing them on a wooden chopping board. This is really important to protect the glass from thermal shock-it would be very depressing to lose a lovely jar of jam to a broken glass bottle. It is also important to fill and cap the bottles while the jam is still hot-and it is good if the glass is still warm too. Leave the jars on the wooden board to cool.

Now I just need some beautiful sourdough bread to have a proper toast taste test. Yeehar.

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~ by Little Red Hen on May 1, 2009.

One Response to “A toast. To marmalade.”

  1. I’ve always wanted to try to make jam but am scared off for some reason..I shall give it a go!

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