Monday, 8 February 2016
The Marmalade Dilemma
It's marmalade time. Bodrum is full of citrus stalls which were a constant reminder that our cupboards were bare of preserves and that stocks needed to be renewed. But making marmalade creates a lot of steam so should ideally be done on a warm day when all the windows can be left open. This year so far, warm sunny days have been in short supply so the minute the temperature rises I want to be out walking not cooking. Inevitably the job was done on a cold wet day and the house got an extra dose of humid air that it could have done without. My orange seller was so pleased that I wanted turunç, sour seville oranges, rather than sweet ones, that he threw in 2 kilos free and I was forced to make double quantities this year, So many golden jars twinkling at us from the shelf have proved too tempting as we've already got through 3. I may have to have another boil up later this month.
I'm a great believer in the right tools for the right job and having a maslin pan, thermometer and metal funnel saves a lot of faffing around with scales and measuring jugs.
My recipe is simple: 15 sour oranges, 2 lemons, 3kg sugar.
I scrub the fruit well in case they have been sprayed with pesticides and put them in the pan with 4 litres of water. This is boiled for 2 hours and left to get cool. I usually do this the night before.
I then scoop out the dimpled fruit into a bowl leaving the water in the pan and have another large bowl with a sieve on top near at hand.
I cut each fruit in half and use a spoon to scoop out the pips, flesh and pith into the sieve. With a pair of scissors I snip the remaining translucent peel into the maslin pan of water, which is full of orange flavour from the 2 hours of boiling.
Put the pan back on the heat to boil and scoop as many pips as you can from the sieve and tie them in a muslin square and pop it into the boiling water. Pour the liquid from the bowl under the sieve back into the boiling pan. Boil until you have 3 litres in your pan (see why the preserving pan with litre marks on the inside is so useful).
Take out the muslin square then add the 3 kilos of sugar and stir until dissolved and using your thermometer, boil until the mixture reaches 120 C/220F. I find that 30 minutes at this temperature is enough to make it set, but test on a cold plate before you pour it into jars. I wash my jars and put them into a cold oven and bring it up to just under100C for 10 minutes and pour the hot but not boiling marmalade into the hot jars to avoid cracking. Oven gloves or asbestos fingers are mandatory for the bottling.