One fun and delicious thing to make with fruit is marmalade. It’s pretty easy as well. Over the past week I have played with some variations using lemons directly off the tree and also rose hips, which has a distinct flavor and intense color. The basic concept of marmalade is to mix equal parts fruit and sugar, heat it up to its setting temperature and voila!
Citrus fruits are natural candidates for marmalade as they have a lot of pectin in them. Lemons are particularly good for this reason. You want to take the fruit before it is fully ripe as the pectin levels decrease with the ripening process. Sour apples are also rich in pectin and make for good marmalade ingredients.
When I make a citrus marmalade, I start by washing the fruit carefully. I then remove the side edges and cut it in quarter wedges before slicing it as thin as I can. If there is a lot of white pith between the fruit and the outer layer of the peel, I will separate that out and discard it so that the marmalade doesn’t get too bitter. Keeping some of it is fine, but you don’t want too much of that. I then place the cut fruit in a a stainless steel, glass, or plastic bowl and pour water over it so that the fruit is just submerged. I then cover the bowl and place it in the fridge overnight.
Next day, I measure the amount of fruit and water so I know how much sugar to use. 1 cup fruit mix = 1 cup sugar. After measuring it, I will boil the fruit mix while stirring frequently for about 15 minutes before adding the sugar. I then stir it until the sugar is dissolved, but no longer than that! I then let the marmalade simmer until it reaches the setting temperature of around 105 degrees Celsius or 225 degrees Fahrenheit. I use a candy thermometer attached to the side of the pot to measure this. If it doesn’t reach the right temperature, you will end up with very runny (still tasty!) marmalade. It is also fine to add some pectin with the sugar when you are adding that to the fruit if you want to be really sure it sets well.
Once it is ready, pour it into sterilized jars and put the lids on tight. The marmalade will fully set within 48 hours. Once it has cooled down and set, I like to keep it in the fridge, but that is really not necessary until you have opened the jar.
When making rosehip marmalade, it is important to remove ALL the seeds from inside along with any hairy fibers. This is a time consuming process, but it can provide for a good opportunity to meditate or socialize over an activity. Use latex or vinyl gloves when cleaning the berries to avoid getting all itchy in your skin. I find that having a bowl of water next to me that I can dip my fingers in between each berry is helpful. I cut the berry open into two pieces and scrape out the seeds with a small spoon or blunt knife. Once I have the cleaned berries, I chop them very finely and then boil them with some thin, peeled green apple slices, zest of half a lemon, and fresh squeezed lemon juice from one large lemon, a generous splash of orange juice and some water. After boiling for about 15-20 minutes and the apple starts falling apart, I add the sugar along with a small amount of pectin. I then let it simmer until it reaches the setting point temperature. When it is done, I pour it into sterilized mason jars. I wipe off the edges before putting the lids on and then let them cool off.
If you notice that the marmalade is too thick or jelly-like in its consistency once it starts cooling down, just pour it back into the sauce pan and add a splash of single malt scotch whiskey. Stir it up and heat it gently before pouring it back into the jars. This should bring it to the consistency you want for good marmalade.
What have you tried and how did it turn out? Please comment below and add pictures if you like!