Friday, January 22, 2010
My first attempt at marmalade was using a very non-traditional citrus ingredient, the Buddha's Hand Citron. But I still wanted to try making marmalade with the traditional Seville orange. Seville's have just recently started appearing at shops here in Toronto so I loaded up on and started out with trying 2 different recipes.
The first recipe I used was from a recent episode of Good Eats. I've always liked Alton Brown's show for his mix of science and cookery. For a contrast I used a recipe that an old neighbor of mine was glad to share. As a columnist at the Toronto Star he would publish his wife's recipe annually when Seville orange season rolled around.
What I wanted to see by trying out the 2 was how different would they be? Alton Brown's recipe can be made in a day, Ayesha's took 3... Would Alton's scientific approach trump Ayesha's tried and true, year in year out version? Alton's was tasty, but I really did prefer Ayesha's in the end. I followed both to the letter but the texture of the peel in Alton's was still a bit to hard and bitter, I think it could have used a longer boil to soften it, or was it the lack of soaking time that Ayesha included in her process?
So now after all that Marmalade making I have over 20 jars completed. Looking at all the fantastic ideas that have started rolling in for the Tigress Can Jam, I'm now inspired to try something outside the marmalade realm. When I do decide to make seville orange marmalade again I will be going with Ayesha's recipe. Below is her recipe as it was given to me.
Ayesha's Seville Orange Marmalade
8 Seville Oranges
8-12 cups of water (I used 10 cups)
6 cups of sugar
This recipe yeilded 8 - 250ml Jars
Look for fruit with soft, shiny skin, never mind the warts. Eight oranges will do first time out. Wash and dry the fruit.
With a sharp knife, slice the whole oranges as finely as you can - skin, pith and pulp. But be careful not to cut the seeds or let them dry out - they contain the pectin and you'll need them.
You can either leave the seeds with the mixture to boil, skimming them off just before you bottle the marmalade, or put them in a cheesecloth bag, leaving them to boil until you remove them again just before bottling.
Put the sliced oranges into a large bowl, earthenware if possible, and for every orange you started with, add a cup or a cup-and-a-half of water, depending on how thick you want the marmalade to be. Cover the bowl with a cloth (not plastic wrap) and keep it for two or three days at room temperature, stirring occasionally.
Now the first boil: with a lid on, simmer the fruit in a large pan for an hour or two - until the peel feels soft when you squeeze it between your fingers (don't burn yourself!). Pour the fruit back into the large bowl to cool.
The secret of the second boil is not to do it all at once. Measure four cups of the fruit into the pan with three cups of sugar and boil rapidly for 15 or 20 minutes. When it starts to thicken, put a small amount in a dessert or tablespoon and put it in the fridge. If, after a few minutes, you detect a skin on the surface, it's ready.
Take the pan off the stove and let it cool for five minutes (while you remove the seeds) before putting the marmalade into sterilized jars and hot water process.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
When I walked into Whole Foods to see what kind of Citrus they had on hand I spotted a basket of Buddha's Hand Citrons. I have been intrigued by this fruit after seeing it used in an episode of Iron Chef and it was once featured in an issue of Cooks Illustrated. I just had to have it, but what the hell was I going to do with it? It smelled amazing! The peel was so fragrant and it perfumed my entire kitchen. I had to figure out a way to use it for the Can Jam.
I searched through all my books and nada.. Lots of other citrus recipes but nothing for the oddball Citron. Off to google I went and I found 1 recipe from a blog - Dan's Kitchen. I started with this as my base and varied slightly from there. In the linked recipe he mentions to use the only peel but I thought that it would waste too much of the fruit. In Harold McGee's book, On Food and Cooking, he mentions that most of the pectin is contained in the pith. I had a taste of the Buddha's Hand and it wasn't very bitter, so I decided to keep much of the pith from the fruit's fingers. I had 2 meyer lemons on hand that I added to mix. This added some moisture since the Buddha's hand lacked any pulp. I wasn't sure how the Amaretto would work here but I liked the idea of adding an almondy element, so I went with it.
I was very happy with the end result; this was my first attempt at any marmalade. The marmalade managed to keep the distinct fragrance that I loved about the fruit.
This recipe yielded almost 5 - 250ml Jars
1 Buddha's Hand Citron
2 Meyer Lemons
5 cups of water
3 cups of white sugar
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
3 tablespoons Amaretto liquor (optional)
Break down the Buddha's Hand by cutting each "finger" and cut away peel from the base. Thinly slice the Buddha's Hand and Meyer lemons. Reserve the seeds from the Meyer lemons (the Buddha's hand had no seeds) wrap them in cheesecloth. Place everything into a bowl and cover with the water to sit for about an hour.
Transfer the contents of the bowl into a pot and bring to a gentle boil for about 30-45 minutes. At this point remove the cheesecloth, let it cool and squeeze out any remaining liquid back into the pot. Add the sugar and Amaretto and stir until completely dissolved. Let the mixture come back to a gentle boil for 45-60 minutes until it reaches 217-220°C on a candy thermometer or do a set test on a small plate in the freezer. Stir in the lemon juice about 10 minutes before the cooking is complete.
Prepare your jars and lids for canning, I filled 5, 250ml jars with 1/2" of head space and hot water processed them for 10 minutes. Great instructions over at Tigress in a Jam on hot water bath canning.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Last summer I was very intrigued by the prospect of making my own Jam and Pickles. I had never made my own, but I have many fond memories of my mother making preserves from her over abundant garden. Growing up we had great blackberry jams and canned peaches that barely lasted the winter because they were so good.
Our first attempt started with a basic strawberry jam that involved the use of pectin, not something that my mother ever used but it was the first recipe we had. I wanted to find ways of not using additives to set the jam. Through a few google searches I came across Wellpreserved.ca and and I started to read the daily entries. And they lead me to Tigress in a Jam where I came across the project that I and about 134 others will be partaking in, once a month for rest of this year. You can read about it further by following the link in the sidebar button for Tigress' Can Jam.
The theme for January is Citrus, and what will I be making? I'm not sure... I went to the market and I came back with the above haul, I wanted to taste 1 of each of the citrus they had in at the time. Cara Cara, Blood, Navel, Kumquats, Grapefruit, Clementine, Sunburst Tangerine, Satsuma Mandarin, Meyer Lemon, Minneola and my favorite odd ball of the bunch the Buddha's Hand Citron. I've also been flipping through my canning books trying to narrow down what I want to make and I keep coming back to one thing, a Traditional Marmalade. Figures that the one citrus fruit that wasn't at the shop or in season yet is a Seville Orange. I am going to have a fun time eating and using the various citrus that are stacked up in that bowl. Who knows...I may end up with a 12 citrus varietal blend of Marmalade!