January 28, 2010

Like Paddington

Marmalade is one of those things that I can not believe I hated as a kid. Like Clams. And Mushrooms. And, well, many things that I either wouldn't taste at all or that my taste buds had not grown into yet. To be honest I'm not even sure when it was that marmalade went from "eww yuck!" to "yes please and seconds!" but at some time between 1977 and when I was, say..20, it did. And thank goodness.

I can't really say that I am a passionate jam eater. I like jam. I love to make jam. Really, any good jam is fine by me. But most jams are just, well, jam. Good in their place, fun to make, something I like with breakfast. Marmalade and Lemon curd are probably the two that stand out though as things I love in the jam world. I dislike crappy lemon curd and I hate bad marmalade.

Needless to say, I was a little bit excited when last weekends marmalade turned out delicious. Tart but not mouth squeezingly so. Sweet but not cloying. Just the right balance. Which was lucky because, although I've made lemon curd many many times (and plan to again later this week!) I've never done marmalade. And trying a new jam can be tricky. But like any good little scholar, I've been studying. And I've read a good two dozen marmalade recipes in the last few weeks, from the slightly spartan version in my old "Stocking Up" to some wild and interesting varieties in my cookbooks and online. In the end I used close to the proportions of the basic Seville Orange Marmalade in The River Cottage Handbook no. 2 but substituted the Seville oranges (which I couldn't find despite them being in season and the fact that I went to three different grocery stores!) with 2 navel oranges, 2 tangelos and 2 lemons. And then just for shits and giggles (hi Uncle Greg!) I threw in a chunk of ginger root for part of the boiling time. The result was a dark, slightly reddish and well balanced (for my tastes at least) marmalade. I'd like to try my hand at a lighter version so if I can refrain from eating all the clementines in the bowl on my counter (very hard though, they are so good!) I'll test out a clementine version too. But first I need to get to that lemon curd. Or maybe the marmalade should come first. I cant decide....

Three fruit ginger marmalade

2 tangelos
2 navel oranges
2 lemons
10 cups of water
1 inch ginger root, peeled
7 cups of sugar
1/4 cup of honey

Scrub fruit. Cut all but one lemon in half, remove pips and squeeze, reserving juice.

Slice peels (pith and all) into medium thin strips and add to juice along with water. Allow it to sit overnight.

The next day, bring to a boil an then reduce to a simmer until reduced by a third and until peel is tender. 2-3 hours. Add sugar and honey, place ginger in tea strainer and add it to the pot. Bring to a hard boil for 20 minutes then remove the ginger and squeeze the last lemons juice into the pot. Return to a hard boil for an additional 15 minutes or until at the setting stage. Turn off heat and allow to cool 5 minutes. Stir slowly to check for pips, fishing out any you find. Pour into sterilized jars and process