Country Traditions

January 15, 2011

Marmalade is way easier than it looks – Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

Filed under: canning, family, recipes, wisdom — Tags: , , , , , — dmacc502 @ 4:25 pm
Today I made marmalade......mmm!

Image via Wikipedia

The first step is to peel the fruit. We’ve made lemon, lemon-orange, and orange marmalade, but you can use pretty much any citrus fruit.

We looked around a bit and settled on this recipe primarily because of its simplicity. It scales well. For a large batch, just keep peeling and cutting fruit until the pot is full or your hands were tired. You can also scale down–grab a couple of oranges from the cafeteria and you’ll make a lot of friends in your dorm kitchen.

The peels need to be cut into little slivers for the appropriate texture in the marmalade. If you stack up the pieces, you can cut a bunch at once.
Marmalade 06

Many recipes recommend removing the white pith because it is bitter. Other recipes recommend removing the pith and reserving it, cooking it along with the fruit in a cheesecloth bundle and removing it at the end, presumably to allow extraction of the pectin. Many jam and jelly recipes call for pectin to be added, but it isn’t needed for marmalade because of the amount of pectin already present in the skin and pith of the citrus fruit.

Some recipes call for a blanching or soaking stage. The primary purpose of blanching is to remove the bitterness from the pith and peel. We like bitter marmalade, so we left in most of the pith and didn’t soak or blanch the peels or fruit. That also keeps the recipe simple– just slice up the fruit and throw it in the pot with the peel pieces.
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The fruit and peel are cooked in water until they’re good and soft. It takes a while (about an hour), but once you’ve got a nice simmer going, you can ignore it pretty well.
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The sugar goes in. Lots of sugar. The original recipe calls for 4 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar (with ten lemons). The 4 cups of water barely covered the raw fruit (in a saucepan with roughly equal depth and diameter). For scaling the recipe up or down, you can use that as a rough guide: pour in water a cup at a time until the fruit is almost covered, then once everything’s soft add as much sugar as you did water.
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Stir in the sugar, and bring it up to a boil, stirring regularly.
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The original recipe says to cook it until it’s 220 degrees fahrenheit. If you’re one of the few with a well-calibrated thermometer, congratulations. For the rest of us, put a spoonful of the proto-marmalade on a cool plate. If it’s still runny after cooling for a minute, keep simmering a little longer. It should show signs of jelling after cooking for 45 minutes to an hour.
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That’s it. You’ve made marmalade!
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But now you’re wondering what to do with it. We recommend spreading it on a freshly toasted english muffin. Or maybe a crumpet.

You can put the rest of it in a bowl, let it cool, then keep it in the fridge and use it. Or you can can it. Canning is not as scary as it sounds. You pour the warm marmalade into warm jars, wipe the rims clean, put a clean lid and rim on them and boil the jars covered with water for 15 minutes.

There are lots of kinds of canning setups but the simplest is a pot with a spacer to keep the jars off the bottom. While you can get dedicated canning kettles with jar racks inexpensively, you don’t really need any special equipment. Rules of thumb: your pot needs to be deeper than your jars so you can cover them with water, and the jars shouldn’t rest on the bottom of the pot, so as to avoid thermal stress. You can put a small wire cooling rack, a vegetable steamer, or an array of skewers tied together in the pot to keep the jars off the bottom.
Marmalade 21

After boiling the jars, you can ladle out some of the water and lift your jars out with an oven mitt. However, a set of jar lifting tongs doesn’t cost much and makes that step easier. A wide mouthed funnel is nice since it keeps stuff of the rims of the jars, but is also not necessary, especially if you get wide mouthed jars.

The folks who make Ball jars have some nice overviews of canning techniques.
Marmalade 30

You may recognize our technique as one common in mathematics. We have reduced a difficult problem (what to do with 75 pounds of citrus) into a problem whose solution is well known: what to do with many jars of marmalade.

 

via Marmalade is way easier than it looks – Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories.

Lady marmalade: learning to make citrus preserves – Telegraph

Filed under: canning, family, recipes — Tags: , , , , — dmacc502 @ 4:22 pm
Ambersweet oranges, a new cold-resistant orang...
Image via Wikipedia

Lady marmalade: learning to make citrus preserves – Telegraph.You can either use whole fruit (simmering before shredding), which gives a darker, less bright-tasting preserve, or you can shred the peel before cooking, which gives a lighter, fresher preserve. As Nick cuts the rind from a kilo of blood oranges, he tells me that it must be cooked until absolutely soft before the sugar is added. Not doing this properly will result in hard bits of rind (it doesn’t soften further once the sugar is added) and a poor set (the pectin you need for a good set is extracted during this stage).

Other key points are to use granulated sugar – caster just sinks to the bottom of the pan – and to warm it in a low oven first (this helps it dissolve). Once the marmalade is made let it sit for 12 minutes before potting as the peel will distribute better. All the other technical stuff you need to know is in Nick’s recipes opposite. Start by making one type then go with your imagination. I fancy lime with a slosh of rum, and blood orange with rosemary. Anyone for shredding?

 

September 17, 2010

Uses for Lemons

Filed under: farming, fish, freezing food, home remedies, laundry, recipes — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 3:12 pm
Two lemons, one whole and one sliced in half

Image via Wikipedia

Home uses for lemons.

  • For a sore throat or bad breath, gargle with some lemon juice.
  • Clean discolored utensils with a cloth dipped in lemon juice. Rinse with warm water.
  • Toss used lemons into your garbage disposal to help keep it clean and smelling fresh.
  • Use one part lemon juice and two parts salt to scour chinaware to its original luster.
  • A few drops of lemon juice in outdoor house-paint will keep insects away while you are painting and until the paint dries.
  • Remove scratches on furniture by mixing equal parts of lemon juice and salad oil and rubbing it on the scratches with a soft cloth.
  • To make furniture polish, mix one part lemon juice and two parts olive oil.
  • To clean the surface of white marble or ivory (such as piano keys), rub with a half a lemon, or make a lemon juice and salt paste. Wipe with a clean, wet cloth.
  • To renew hardened paintbrushes, dip into boiling lemon juice. Lower the heat and leave the brush for 15 minutes, then wash it in soapy water.
  • To remove dried paint from glass, apply hot lemon juice with a soft cloth. Leave until nearly dry, and then wipe off.
  • Rub kitchen and bathroom faucets with lemon peel. Wash and dry with a soft cloth to shine and remove spots.
  • Fresh lemon juice in rinse water removes soap film from interiors of ovens and refrigerators.
  • Create your own air freshener: Slice some lemons, cover with water, and let simmer in a pot for about an hour. (This will also clean your aluminum pots!)
  • Fish or onion odor on your hands can be removed by rubbing them with fresh lemons.
  • To get odors out of wooden rolling pins, bowls, or cutting boards, rub with a piece of lemon. Don’t rinse: The wood will absorb the lemon juice.
  • Save lemon and orange rinds to deter squirrels and cats from digging in the garden. Store rinds in the freezer during the winter, and then bury them just under the surface of the garden periodically throughout the spring and summer.
  • After a shampoo, rinse your hair with lemon juice to make it shine. Mix the strained juice of a lemon in an eight-ounce glass of warm water.
  • Mix one tablespoon of lemon juice with two tablespoons of salt to make a rust-removing scrub.
  • Before you start to vacuum, put a few drops of lemon juice in the dust bag. It will make the house smell fresh.
  • Get grimy white cotton socks white again by boiling them in water with a slice of lemon.
  • Clean copper pots by cutting a lemon in half and rubbing the cut side with alt until the salt sticks. Rub the lemon onto the metal, rinse with hot water, and polish dry.
  • Suck on a lemon to settle an upset stomach.

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