A couple of days ago I had a go at making citrus marmalade. I spent two hours zesting and slicing 41/2 lbs of mixed citrus fruit before watching everything boil together to make a lovely orange sticky goo. The original recipe called for a sugar thermometer. Something that I don't possess, so I was very nervous when testing to see if the marmalade was done. I once tried to make marmalade about 7-8 years ago, which did not turn out well at all. It smelt great and tasted great but was more like a thick sticky syrup. I did not want this to happen again and thank goodness it didn't. I chilled my plate and every so often I dropped a large dollop of hot runny marmalade onto the plate...waited a few minutes and pushed my finger through it to see if it was firm enough. After three attempts I was happy.
After canning the marmalade I couldn't wait for it to cool to see if my creation had turned out OK. I prepared my toast and began to spread my homemade marmalade over top. It was lovely. The only criticism I had was that I had probably boiled it for a few minutes too long as it was more firmer than I would have liked. But for my first attempt it was great. It took Ian and I three days to finish off one jar. I even traded a jar of marmalade for a large bag full of organically grown beet greens from our neighbor. How perfect is that.
Citrus Marmalade (Adapted from www.foodinjars.com)
41/2 lb Citrus Fruit.(Grapefruit, Navel Oranges, Lemon, Limes-weigh with peal on)
I used 3 Grapefruit, 4 Oranges, 1 lemon and 1 lime.
6 Cups Sugar
4 Cups Poaching Liquor
Wash fruit thoroughly. Using a vegetable peeler slice the rind off all the fruit, then slice these thinly into medium size shards. (I used a zester as my vegetable peeler is useless) Add these shards with six cups of water to a pan set over a medium heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile remove the pith and membrane from the fruit (I slice the top and bottom of the fruit and then using a sharp knife I cut down the sides of the fruit removing the pith and membrane). Once removed cut the fruit segments out over a bowl reserving the membranes and pips. Wrap all the reserved membranes, pith and seeds together in a piece of cheesecloth and secure tightly. Next drain the zest reserving the poaching liquor.
In a large stainless steal pot or enameled cast iron pot combine the citrus fruit, 6 cups of sugar, 4 cups of poaching liquor and the cheesecloth package and boil vigorously for approximately 30-40 minutes, until the marmalade reaches a temp of 220 degrees. (I kept stirring it every 5 minutes or so to stop it from potentially burning at the bottom) You can test whether the marmalade is ready by dropping some onto a cold plate. Once it cools you should be able to push your finger through the marmalade to see if it is firm enough or not. If not boil for another few minutes.
While the marmalade is boiling you can prepare your jars. I washed mine is hot soapy water and then boiled them in a large pan for ten minutes. The snap caps were place in the water once boiling had finished. This just softens the seal. Once the jars are air dried and still warm ladle your marmalade into them add the snap cap and secure with the screw ring. Lower these into a water bath and boil for 5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for 12-14 hours and voila, fresh yummy marmalade.