Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Notes - Marmalades

1, Thick rind marmalade made with bahia oranges
2. Dark thin rind marmalade made with navel oranges
3. Lime marmalade, made with tahiti limes.

I have been experimenting with making marmalades; where I live, marmalade is all imported and ridiculously expensive, if one can find it. Oranges and limes, on the other hand, are dirt cheap, and there are many varieties available, ranging from unbelievably sour to tooth-achingly sweet. Strangely, though, lemons are unheard of here.

Most recipes for marmalade call for removing the pith from the peel, and slicing the zest into very fine strips. The pulp and seeds are also scraped out and placed in a muslin bag to cook with the zest to extract the pectin, without which the marmalade with be too runny..

The marmalades also tend to be very sweet, even when made with Seville oranges. I decided to go a different route, not too sweet, and keep most of the bitter pith. So far it has worked out great. These are made in 90 minutes, with only 20 minutes of actual work involved. I always make these in small batches. The spices added are optional - one can't taste them, but they do add depth of flavor. these are not quite right yet, probably due to variations in the local fruit, but we are getting there.

So here is the developing recipe for a rustic country style maramalade.

4 Oranges or 8 limes
750 ml water
30 ml corn syrup (optional, but it stops crystallisation)
a pinch of salt.
1 stick cinnamon (optional)
4 green cardamom pods (optional)
Sugar to taste.

Cut the ends off the fruit and discard, cut them in half and then into thin (2 mm max) half-moons. discard any seeds Place in a heavy 1.5 l pot and cover with water. Add salt and spices, if using and bring to a simmer, cover and leave for about an hour, stirring occasionally, and making sure the fruit is always submerged. Add water if necessary.

After this time the pulp should have dissolved and you will have a thin jam. the fruit skins should be nearly translucent. If you need to, reduce until the liquid just covers the fruit. Add the corn syrup, add sugar to taste. Simmer 10 minutes longer. Adjust the sugar if necessary. Let it cool, remove the spices if you used them, spoon into containers. Keep it in the fridge.

If you want to make caramelised marmalade, keep on the heat after adding the sugar, until it turns the colour you like. this only works with oranges, taste-wise.

You could try adding shredded ginger if you use limes, but to me pure citrus is best.

1 comment:

Phillipa said...

Blood oranges make a brilliant marmalade. I love my own homemade blood orange marmalade - I have been known to just eat a spoonful sans toast. They give a beautiful colour and have a nice bitterness to them that balances the sweet. Can't get seville where I am, and other varieties like Valencia are sour not bitter. I just use oranges, water and sugar. You can put a dollop of brandy in but I don't bother.