Jammin !

December 13, 2003

This morning I made jam. I now have seven pints of orange marmalade and four half-pints of blueberry jam cooling on a rack in the kitchen. I have two more half-pints of blueberry in the refrigerator - overfilled the jars and they did not can properly.

I like jam. I like to make it; I like to eat it. I am very fond of bread and bread products, and I like my bread with a little bit of sweet on it.

The blueberry is almost straight out of an Alton Brown recipe - I dropped the star anise for allspice and cloves. For the marmalade I tried something different. The neat thing about oranges and lemons is that they contain enough pectin in their seeds and membranes to gell themselves easily. In the past my orange marmalade recipe was simple: Oranges, Sugar, Water, and lots of boiling, chopping, and boiling again. Squeeze the oranges, separate the pits and pulp, scrape the peel, chop the peel, boil until the peel cooks, add sugar, boil until it gels. It made OK marmalade, but I often boiled off the volatile orange flavors while trying to get the stuff to gell.

This time I started with frozen oranges. I boiled them for an hour, whole, then let them sit in their boiling liquid overnight. This morning I scooped the oranges out, boiled their innards for ten minutes while chopping the nice soft peels, squeezed the good stuff out of the boiling pile, and then assembled it into jam. I added sugar and boiled gently until I liked the caramel taste. Then, even though it was far from gelling, I added pectin, boiled three more minutes, and declared it jam.

Where last winter's marmalade was moderately orange with a thick caramel undertaste, this is brighter and more bitter with a delicate caramel undertaste. I will let it age for a few months, then try some.

Jam is remarkably easy, if you have some large pots and some mason jars.

Posted by Red Ted at December 13, 2003 02:50 AM | TrackBack