One of my Christmas presents was Vivien Lloyd’s book First Preserves. I was lucky to take part in one of Vivien’s courses at Denman college in October and although I’d already made plenty of jams and jellies throughout the summer I learnt so much from the course.
Another gift was a voucher for a well known on line store so I spent many hours deliberating how I would spend it. I plumped for a new preserving pan, a jelly making stand plus another book.
Now I’m preparing for marmalade making.
The story thus far- 2K of Seville oranges, sugar and lemons purchased. I wasn’t able to find cane sugar so had to make do with beet sugar, there is a difference!
I quite enjoyed the whole preparing process, I found a melon baller a useful tool to remove all the pith from the fruit. Slicing the peel was therapeutic but I had to concentrate really hard as my knife skills leave a lot to be desired.
Having soaked the skins in water with the bag of pith & pips overnight I was rather over zealous with my squeezing action, some of it escaped….
Much faffing about ensued. This rather put me off my power to concentrate & I blithely forged ahead with adding the warmed sugar. Seasoned preservers will know what I omitted. If you’ve never made marmalade, I will tell you. The water with extract of pips & pith should boil happily for a couple of hours to reduce it BEFORE you add the sugar.
I was now committed, there was no going back. I sterilised the jars, put them in the oven and waited, and waited. Someone I know could have knitted a sock in the time it took to reach (what I thought) the setting point, after letting it all settle for a little while I excitedly poured the marmalade into all the hot jars. I removed the air bubbles, cleaned up the tops of the jars & lidded them all. Whew, happy that the remnants in the pan had set nicely and tasted like marmalade should.
What is that saying about counting chickens?
Meanwhile and more Seville oranges later I prepared the next batch along with some clementines which are my absolute favourite fruit of the winter. I am following the steps religiously and at present the pan of peel with extract of pith & pips is bubbling away on the hob. I utilised the nylon bag which came with the jelly making stand so there was no chance to squeeze holes in it.
Once the orange & clementine marmalade is completed I will resurrect the first batch and cook it for even longer while I wash all the flipping jam jars again, and sterilise them and warm them……..