Thursday, 12 June 2014

What to do with a glut of limes?... (option two)


Answer: Orange & Lime Marmalade

 

So as you may have read from other posts (or the title) we have a bit of a glut of fruit at the moment. Or more to the point limes, as our young fruit trees have had a good season so far- limes and oranges. So in order to make the most of our productivity I have been using some preserving techniques. So next on the list is Orange and Lime marmalade.

 

I have made this in the past and whilst it tasted fantastic it did not set too well. So was only usable from the fridge, so that the constancy was a little thicker. So where I would usually use the rule of thumb of 3,2,1 method for jams (3 cups of water, 2 kilos fruit to 1 kilo of sugar). I am going for the equal parts fruit and sugar to number of cups. So for this recipe; 2 cups of water, 2 kilos of fruit and 2 kilos of sugar. And I have some jamsetta (a setting sugar with pectin) as a back up- though I would prefer not to use it.

 

Like I said I am not really following any strict recipe so I start by peeling my fruit (using a potato peeler). This helps avoid the pith, as this can be bitter tasting in the actual marmalade.

 

These peels I slice finely. I would say the finer the better, but it’s personal preference.  

 

Then juice the fruit.

 

With the remaining fruit (the body and any pips etc) place in a pan with the water and bring to the boil. At this point strain, discard the fruit bits (this is just the body, not the peel or the juice).

 

Return the water to the pan and dissolve in the sugar.

 

Add the juice, stirring regularly.

 

Bring to a bubble, then remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

 

I skim my jam at this point and then add the sliced peel and return to the heat.

 

I don’t time my jam as such, but I don’t want to boil it either. I like to leave it ‘blip’ for a bit, stirring regularly to get a feel for if its thickening.

An effective test is to scoop a small amount of the jam/marmalade onto a cold tea spoon. If it thickens/ sets then that’s great. If not then its probably time to read the instructions on the jamsetta.

 

For jam to set you need the appropriate sugar and pectin content. Pectin is generally found in the fruits flesh and seeds, so if like with this recipe the pectin maybe low, a jamsetta is a great backup.

 

From here as the jam/marmalade begins to cool it is decanted into sterile jars.

 

To sterilise jars, there are a few methods. I have always cleaned mine thoroughly by hand (for residue etc) and then run them through a hot setting of my dishwasher. Though as I have intention of entering a jar of this in the local show I decided to follow this by placing the jars in a hot oven for 20 minutes.   (Alternatively you could boil them in water first and then bake)

It is important to note that whilst everything I have read suggests you boil and bake the lids too. It is worth checking whether your lids have and plastic/ rubber in them. As this does not do so well in the oven (take it from personal experience!)

 

You may also realise that I use an old plastic bottle to decant my jam into the jars- cutting it  up to make a funnel (from the bottle neck) and a rest for the ladle (in the base). As the jam gets quite messy.

 

The idea is to get it as close to the top as possible; minimising the air trapped in it. And sealing ASAP- therefore making it airtight.

I also know of those who boil the sealed jars in water again at this stage to confirm the airtight, sterilseness of their jam.

Personally I have never done this, and have never had an issue. But I am not saying not too.