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Day 9: Slow Jam
7 September, 2009, 8:04 pm
Filed under: condiment | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Item 17: jam

fresh marmalade

Faced with 6 empty canning jars and a long weekend Monday, I tackled the next logical item on my list—jam. Technically, since this recipe contains citrus rinds, I’m making marmalade, not jam. According to Epicurious, Seville oranges are the most popular fruit for marmalades. According to my own eyes and nose, the Seville oranges that I came across at Whole Foods were pitifully unripe. (Not surprising, since September isn’t exactly the peak season for citrus fruits.) However, the grapefruits look (and smell) much better. So grapefruit marmalade it is!

grapefruits and lemon

I used a recipe from Canadian Living—a magazine that I neither subscribe to nor read unless I’m stuck at my optometrist’s office. (I think they once had a cooking show on TV. But I managed to avoid that entirely as well.) Needless to say. I’ve never tried out any of their recipes before. I followed this recipe mostly because it’s specific for grapefruit. But the ratio between fruit and sugar is not that different from Alton Brown’s orange marmalade or Martha’s three fruit marmalade recipes. In fact, all three recipes are pretty interchangeable except for the fact that one uses metric measurements, the other uses imperial, and the third measures by weight.

citrus peelsliced peel

Difficulty: The shopping part was easy. Since citrus peel contains natural pectin, the ingredients are simply grapefruit, lemon (for extra acidity), water and … a god awful SEVEN cups of sugar! I had a moment of doubt when I scooped that mountain of sugar out of the bag. But I didn’t want to put in all this effort just to end up with crappy runny marmalade. So I followed the recipe exactly. I mean, it’s not like I’m going to eat all 7 cups of sugar at once … right?!

Room for improvement: I still don’t have a candy thermometer. Consider how many sugary items are left on my list, maybe I should get one. In the mean time, I used the frozen plate method to test out the firmness of my marmalade, which was less exact and more cumbersome.

Tastiness: The marmalade is technically perfect. It set properly, it has a great caramel orange colour and strips of perfectly candied peel, and it smells great. As for the taste … well … this does not taste grapefruity AT ALL! I mean if you conduct a blind tasting with the marmalade connoisseur that is Paddington Bear (who loves marmalade sandwiches so much he tucks one under his hat), he probably can tell this was made with grapefruits instead oranges. But I can’t. Don’t get me wrong, it’s delicious and I’ll definitely make this again. But I won’t get too fussy over which type of citrus fruit I use.

Worth the effort? Yes. This tastes fresher and fruitier than anything store-bought.

Items I purchased specifically for this recipe: 2 organic grapefruits and 1 organic lemon. Loads of sugar.

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