I was so excited to see that Marisa from Food in Jars is hosting a year long challenge on her site. The Food in Jars Mastery Challenge is meant to push you to learn new skills and techniques with a new focus each month. This challenge gets to the heart of what I want for my Mean Lean 2017, cut out distractions and really challenge myself to stop saying no to what I want to do. Canning and preserving has become such a big part of our lives now I really wanted to spend this year improving my skills and learning new ways to put food up for our family.
January’s challenge is Marmalade. I have never been a fan of marmalade, all those chewy bits of rind and the overpowering bitter flavor. It’s never been something I’ve wanted to eat let alone make myself. In the name of learning new skills and techniques I was not going to back out of the first challenge. Just before we had a big snow storm last Saturday I went out citrus sourcing. One of my favorite jams is grapefruit and vanilla so I thought about making a pink grapefruit vanilla marmalade might be manageable. My back up plan was to get some Cara Cara or Blood oranges. I was able to find Ruby Red grapefruit without much of a problem but I didn’t like the look of the Blood oranges available that day and went with Cara Cara oranges instead. On my last stop of the pre-snow errand run I stumbled on some Satsuma Mandarins. I picked those up thinking that we could at the very least have a great snack while we were snowed in if they didn’t make it into marmalade.
For my first batch of marmalade I wanted to use a simple recipe to see if it was marmalade itself or commercial marmalade I didn’t like. Food in Jars has several small batch marmalade posts that will give you a head start and explains the different processes that you can use. I used Marisa’s Cara Cara Orange and Ginger marmalade recipe , with a few adjustments.
- I boiled the rind for the full 25 mins to remove as much extra chew as I could.
- I switched out the ginger juice for the same amount of the water I boiled the rind in.
- I added the scrapped out seeds and pods of 2 vanilla beans to the pot when I started to cook the marmalade. ( don’t forget to remove the pods before to put it into your jars)
Everything else was exactly the same as the recipe. I did get a looser set than I remember commercial marmalade being, but I prefer a looser jam texture anyway. It took quite a while to reach 220 almost 40 minutes I’d say. In the end I had 9 half pints plus a small portion to test. The flavor is more bitter than the grapefruit jam I love but it was delish and I immediately started thinking about how I could use it.
The next day I couldn’t stop thinking about those satsumas and what other flavors I could combine with them. I have always loved the smell and flavor of clove and orange. It always feels so warm and cozy. I was dreaming about a warm wintery marmalade with a little hint of spice from the clove on top of a warm clementine cake or English muffin. I got to cooking almost immediately.
See those little guys floating around in the half pint in front? For this batch I didn’t taste an enormous amount of Clove flavor so I did a test half pint with 3 whole cloves in the marmalade. My plan is to taste test in about a month or so to see if there is a more warm and cozy flavor or if I just wasted 3 cloves. I will let you know either way.