A year ago a friend asked me if I had ever made Marmelade. I had to tell him, “No,” but then I went right home and looked up the recipe. “Ugh!–Too much work,” I thought. But then I also realized that it would be silly not to try and learn how to cook it and make it just as tasty, but less labor intensive, especially since I have citrus trees right here in my own back yard–2 orange, 1 lemon, and a ruby red grapefruit–all which are highly reputed in the family and among neighbors for having especially delicious fruit! So 20 batches of jam later, and this is what I have developed & know will work:
Fruit Needed: About 13-16 Tangerines, or 11-14 Lemons, or 10-14 Oranges, or 4-6 Grapefruit–It depends on what sizes are your fruit. I had great fun making Tangerine Marmelade, Lemon Marmelade, Orange Marmelade, Ruby Red Grapefruit Marmelade, and Mixed Citrus Marmelade with some of each! Next time maybe I’ll get some limes to try Lemon-Lime Marmelade. . .
Step 1= Prepare your work site. Place a double layer of paper towelling under a medium-sized cutting board and lay a medium-sized knife, citrus zester (or grater), & citrus spoon adjacent. Add a quart measuring bowl to put the zest & juice into as you work. I also found it helpful to cover other tools or decor on my countertop with a tea towel in order to protect them from the citrus acid that sprays out from the skin while zesting. (And it really helps save on clean-up time!)
Step 2= Zest the peel of the fruit onto the cutting board, working around any pokes, scars, or blemishes on the citrus skin. I love zest, so I zested every piece of fruit before I juiced them. Put the zest into the quart measuring bowl as it builds up on the cutting board.
Step 3= Cut the fruit into halves and juice it, adding the juice to the zest until you have about 4 1/2 cups of zest + juice–It barely fits; the bowl is full, almost to the brim!
Step 4= Pour the zest & juice into a 6-quart sized cooking pot and heat over medium on the stovetop until it comes to a full rolling boil. Boil for 10 minutes.
Step 5= Add 6 cups of sugar to the boiling fruit and zest, while stirring constantly. Continue to stir the fruit & sugar mixture until it comes back to a full rolling boil, & then boil for exactly 1 minute.
Step 6= Immediately 1 pouch of liquid fruit pectin, & bring the jam back to a full rolling boil again, stirring constantly. Again boil for exactly 1 minute, and then remove the jam from the heat. (If you want to us dry pectin, the process is slightly backwards–adding the pectin before the sugar–refer to the enclosed instructions in the dry pectin box.)
Step 7= Immediately give the jam a few final stirs, & then skim off any foam. I actually didn’t have hardly any foam with the variety of fruit I used–I think this may be due to the citrus oil in the zest. Then ladle your jam into prepared jars, filling each to within 1/4″ of the top. Make sure the top of each jar brim is clean so that the lids will seal, cover with a canning lid, and screw the band on tightly. This recipes makes just about 7 cups, so I mostly used the 8 oz. “Quilted” Jars that are sold just about everywhere now due to the popularity of using canning jars in decorating/crafts. (These photos are of pints, though.)
Step 8= Process jars for 10 minutes in a canner of boiling water, having 1-2 inches of water covering the jars. Yeah, I remember when we didn’t have to do this step and when we used to seal jams & jellies with paraffin–But that was in the good old days before we had “Super” bacteria & viruses in the world! Now, this is the recommended way of sealing all your hard work to keep it safe.
Step 9= After processing, remove the jars from the hot water and allow to cool on an absorbant dish towel on the countertop. Blot the water off of the lid tops carefully; then allow them to just stand there–overnight is good! Be sure to label & date your product before you put them away. I have also found that it helps to carefully loosen the screw bands the next day so that they can completely dry without forming a rust bond to the lid.
(And so what am I doing with 20 batches of jam? Ssshhhh! It’s called “Christmas!” Who doesn’t like gourmet jams and jellies?–Do an online search & check out the prices that some people are charging if you order theirs!)