Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Jammin

Yesterday, my daughter came over and we made jam. Yes, we did!
We started with a new recipe I have for Cranberry-Orange Jam. It is made with honey instead of sugar. I have never canned anything with honey. It was a simple and fast recipe, the catch? It takes up to two weeks for it to set. If it doesn't, no harm done. We have a yummy syrup for french toast or pancakes!

I had the pectin on hand, but both recipes count on the natural pectin in the fruits we were using, so the pectin will wait for another time.
Isn't that color beautiful?? It is perfect because just after Christmas cranberries were on sale. So, I bought four bags, used one and a half for the jam, used another one and half for cranberry sauce for dinner tomorrow. Not a bad plan.
Then, using the organic valencia oranges that grow in their yard, we made marmalade!
Now, let me tell you. Marmalade recipes vary widely. Some use pectin, others do not. Some use baking soda (they don't tell you why) and others do not. One thing is the same. You must use peel carefully sliced and the meat and juice but not the pith or (if you can do it) the peel on each section.
So, we came up with a twist for ease on our own and based on our taste test, it works.
We used a zester and zested the oranges. Then the chopped and seeded sections were thrown into our Vitamix, and blended. Then, we took that blend and ran it through a sieve. What you get is the purest and best part of the orange, none of the seeds, pith or skin of the sections. That stuff makes marmalade bitter.
Now, because we didn't use pectin the cooking time is long. On my stove, it took a good 45 minutes. What you need is for the marmalade to cook down and get thick. So, when you get a recipe that intrigues you, keep that in mind. It will be worth the wait. And,oh, by the way, it set up right away.....
Another trick, freeze a small plate just for about 5-10 mins. and then take it over to your jam and do a gel test. Drop a few drops onto the plate. If it sets up, it is probably ready....
Follow the recipe, but have fun....because it is!!

 Our orange marmalade is the most delicious amber color.....
Just another note.... always make notes about the recipe. When you used it, what you did (if anything different) and how it went. Yes, the old fashioned technique of writing it down on the recipe works the best!
Hope you had a great day!
Nancy

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