I have made all sorts of jams and jellies in the past but never marmalade. I had it in my head that six oranges should turn out to be about 3 small jars of marmalade. I figured it wouldn’t be enough to can. Instead I would simply pour it into a jar, stick it in the fridge, and call it a day.
It turns out that six Seville oranges makes exactly 50 thousand gallons of marmalade. Canning would be required. In the end, I processed enough jars to fill up two batches in my canning pot. I could have done at least one additional load if not more but was so fed up I just poured the remainder into a big jar and considered it done.
Oh and it turns out, I don’t like marmalade. Thankfully Davin does. I’ve already gifted some jars to friends.
If you’d like to try your hand at making marmalade I recommend this recipe. I decided to follow a recipe rather than going it alone since I was unfamiliar with the bitter flavor of Seville oranges. I chose this one because it had the least amount of sugar. I followed the instructions fairly closely but experience with citrus peels has taught me that the pith scrapes off easiest when you blanch the peels very quickly first. I blanched mine for less than 30 seconds and then used a spoon to scoop the white pith out.
Another change I made was to package up both the innards and the seeds in cheese cloth to make the pectin. Mine didn’t turn out very gel-like and I had to cook the mix longer than I would have liked (it ended up with a slight caramelized flavor) and add commercial pectin to make it set. I don’t think it was adding the extra innards that caused this setback but rather the fact that I packaged it up in butter cloth, which is more dense than your typical loose weave cheese cloth. I think that the pectin couldn’t get through the denser cloth as easily, resulting in a mix that was too liquid and not enough gel. Or maybe it was the recipe. I’d have to try again to know for certain.
If you try this, let me know how it turns out.
I do most of my produce shopping at the farmers market but popped into a supermarket last week and was sidetracked by a display of gnarly-looking and highly aromatic Seville oranges. I am a sucker for gnarled produce. It has character.
I bought six. And so began an epic, hair pulling journey into the dark heart of marmalade making, which I will outline here tomorrow.
On the plus side, these made my kitchen smell like heaven.
This ‘Red Rocoto’ is one of two hot peppers that I brought inside to overwinter this year. Both are starting to flower. I will cut the flowers off since I want the plants to focus on leaf development, but figured I would take some pictures before doing so.
This is the patch of several sage varieties that sits in the north east corner of my community garden plot. It’s quite a big patch — I grow more sage than I can possibly use within a year and always end up begging people to take some. In a small space I can’t grow the legions of squash that many gardeners complain about. In all honesty we could really do with more. Sage, on the other hand, is my squash. I love the herb for cooking and it looks fantastic in the garden, but really, there’s just so much of it!
Amazing, flower and bee don’t you think? I took this picture last July on a walk through the Annex neighbourhood in Toronto. This front yard garden was filled with the yellow thistle-like plant, Centaurea macrocephala and covered in flittering, shiny green bees — they were completely intoxicated by the flowers! I stood watching them in awe for several minutes.
Back at home I did some research and it turns out that the green bees are members of The Family Halictidae of which there are more than 2000 species. I haven’t got a clue which one this is.
This situation with the flowers and bees illustrates one of the things I love about gardening. In general, my love of gardening has lead me to be more observant of the gardens and plants I pass by in my day-to-day world. And this has lead me to an expanding interest in critters that live in the garden, like this bee. I had never noticed green bees before and probably never would have if not for my interest in the plants. Discovering them via the flowers motivated me to find out what they were and learn more beyond pretty, green bee.
Gardening makes me smarter. I is learning stuff.