One of the things I’m looking forward to doing a lot more of is preserving and creating.
My neighbor gave me a huge bag of Seville oranges. These are the variety of oranges used for creating marmalade. I made a batch of ordinary marmalade, then decided to experiment with a totally metal marmalade concoction: whisky marmalade.
This recipe was adapted from the BBC Good Food website. It was adapted because I used more oranges then stated and didn’t have enough dark muscavado sugar and the supermarket doesn’t stock it for some unknown reason.
Whisky & Dark Muscavado Marmalade Ingredients
- 1.5 kg Seville oranges
- 2 1/2 kg granulated sugar (I ended up with about 1/2 kg jam sugar in there, as I ran out of plain)
- juice of 2 lemons
- 250 grams dark muscavado sugar
- 150 ml whisky (I used good ole Jack Daniel’s bourbon).
I had frozen my oranges to keep them till I was ready for marmalade making. I dumped all the oranges in a huge, heavy pan, covered them with 2L water, added the lemon juice, and put it on the boil. I then simmered the oranges for 2 hours. Probably, if you freeze them, you don’t need to do it for this long – I think 60-90 mins would have been fine, as mine were rather gooey by the end of it.
Pour off the cooking water into a jug. Now you’ve got a bowl of oranges, or, like me, orange goo. Leave the oranges to cool.
When you can touch them without flinching, cut them in half, scoop the pips and pith out and put that in the saucepan. Put the peels in another bowl. If you have goo you have to kind of sort through everything to separate out the peel. Add the reserved water to the pith/pip mix, bring to boil for 6 minutes, then strain this liquid through a sieve into a bowl. What you end up with is some smooth goo that is high in pectin from the pips and pith. This will help your marmalade to set.
Cut up your peel into chunky sections. If you ended up with goo, you probably don’t need to do this.
In a LARGE pan (larger than the one I used), pour the peel and the water/pith mixture. Add all the sugar. Stir over low heat until all the sugar is dissolved, then turn up high and boil for 15-25 minutes until the marmalade has set.
How do you tell if the marmalade has set? Easy. Put a saucer in the freezer. drop a dollop of marmalade on the saucer. Run your finger through it. If the mixture starts to pour back into the channel you’ve made, it’s not done. If nothing happens, your marmalade has set!
While I’m waiting for the marmalade to set, I sterilize my jars. I do this by putting all the jars and lids in a big pot full of water and boiling it hard out for 15 mins. I then use tongs to pull out the jars when I’m ready to use them.
Warning: Do NOT put cold marmalade into hot jars or hot marmalade into cold jars. The shock of the temperature change will crack the glass.
When your marmalade is done, take the pan off the heat. Quickly stir in the whisky (at this stage I pour myself a little extra – this is “chef juice” and essential for a good result), and skim any scum off the surface. I added a knob of butter on a fork, ran that around the edge of the pan. This is an old trick that helps get rid of the scum.
Now it’s time to bottle. I used a ladle to fill all my jars. I then screw the lids on as tight as I’m able and invert the jars to cool. This helps to ensure they are sealed and there’s no air or microbes inside. When the jars are cool enough to touch I turn them up the right way and screw the lids on tighter if I can.
Wait at least a week before opening. The resulting taste is very rich, caramely, tangy and warming. Mmmm!
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