Tips for making marlade - and how to test the set point
STERILISING THE BOTTLES
Many people are put off making marmalade thinking the whole bottle sterilisation process is complicated – theymay have seen their mother or grandmothers using specialised equipment and bottles.
You can use any bottle that has a good sealing lid, even old jam jars are fine.
They can be sterilised by washing them in the dishwasher.
To sterilise in the microwave, place clean jars half filled with hot water in the microwave and cook on full power for 5 minutes. Pour out the water and dry well with a clean tea towel.
You can also place clean jars in the oven on a tray at 180°C for about 20 minutes.
Pour the hot marmalade into hot jars and seal while still hot.
Do not pour hot mixture into cold jars as this could cause them to crack.
You can also place a disc of wax paper that has been dipped in brandy on top of the marmalade before sealing.
l Wash fruit before using.
l Soaking the fruit overnight causes the fruit to swell and soften and it also helps release the pectin.
l Choose unblemished fruit that is fresh.
l Remember that pips in the fruit contain a lot of pectin and they should be tied in a muslin bag and soaked and boiled with the fruit. Remove before adding the sugar.
l Warming the sugar before adding it will help the jam come to the boil quicker than adding cold sugar to the mixture.
l The more white pith you include in the mixture the more bitter your marmalade will be.
l Do not add the sugar before you have boiled the fruit long enough for the peel to soften.
l For the setting point to be reached, the jam has to boil quite rapidly, but not at too high a heat that will cause it to burn, especially towards the end of the cooking time.
l Be sure to stir frequently to make sure it doesn’t catch at the bottom.
l To test for the setting point, place a saucer into the freezer. When you want to test, place a blob of the boiling mixture on to the cold plate. If it forms a gel and wrinkles when you press it with your finger, then it is ready. If not, continue boiling for a few more minutes, then test again. This does take practice and even the most experienced jam maker can either under- or overboil the mixture.
l Cut the cooking time of the fruit by using a pressure cooker. This works well if you don’t have a large quantity of fruit to cook.
6 large limes
1.5 litres water
5ml pectin powder
Put the limes and lemon in a saucepan and add the water. Cover and simmer until the fruit is soft. Remove the fruit from the water, cool slightly and halve. Remove the flesh and place it in a food processor. Process well, then press through a sieve to extract as much juice as possible.
Tie the pulp and pips from the sieve in a muslin bag and return that to the water. Boil for 10 minutes to extract the pectin and reduce the liquid. Remove the bag and squeeze out as much as possible.
Shred about half the rind from the limes and lemons into very thin strips. Add the juice and rind to the water.
Combine the sugar and pectin powder and stir into the water. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, and then boil rapidly until the setting point is reached. Cool slightly before bottling in sterilised jars. Seal while still hot.
Makes 5x250ml bottles
6 oranges, washed
2.5 litres of water
Put the whole oranges and water in a large saucepan. Cover and simmer for 2 hours until the skins are very soft. Remove oranges from the liquid and cool slightly.
Halve the oranges and remove the pulp, reserving the skins. Put the pulp into a food processor and process well. Pour the mixture into a sieve and squeeze out as much juice as possible.
Add the juice to the water in the saucepan.
Gather up the remaining pulp with pips and tie up in a muslin bag. Add to the water and simmer for 10 minutes to extract all the pectin. Remove the muslin bag and squeeze it out well.
Cut the skins into thin shreds and add to the water with the sugar and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Then bring to the boil and boil, stirring occasionally until the setting point is reached.
Bottle in sterilised jars and seal while still hot.
PEAR AND GINGER MARMALADE
Makes 4x250ml bottles
12 firm ripe pears, peeled and diced
4 lemons, juiced
80ml chopped preserved ginger
Combine the pears, sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and leave overnight.
The next day transfer the mixture to a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Add the preserved ginger and bring to the boil.
Boil until the setting point is reached. Cool slightly then bottle in sterilised jars. Seal while still hot.
600g ClemenGolds (about 4)
juice of 1 lemon
Peel the fruit and cut the rind into thin strips. Add the rind to a large pot with water and boil for about 20 minutes until soft. Drain and set aside.
Put the flesh into a food processor and process well. Strain out the juice through a sieve, pressing out as much juice as possible. Put the juice, sugar, rind and lemon juice in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.
Bring to the boil and boil until the setting point is reached. Cool slightly then bottle in sterilised jars. Seal while still hot.
l ClemenGolds are a type of naartjie with a beautiful shiny peel and very sweet flesh. You can replace them with any other type of naartjie.
RUBY GRAPEFRUIT MARMALADE
3 ruby grapefruits
2 large lemons
1.5 litres of water
Halve and juice the grapefruit and the lemons. Remove the pulp and some of the pith of the grapefruits if it is very thick. Put the pith and pips into a muslin bag and add it to the juice. Keep this until required.
Slice the rind of the grapefruit and lemons into thin strips and combine with the water. Place a saucer over the fruit to keep it submerged. Leave overnight.
The next day put the rind and water into a saucepan. Add the muslin bag with the pith and pips, cover and simmer until very soft. This can take up to two hours. Remove the muslin bag and squeeze well.
Add the juice and the sugar and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly until the setting point is reached.
Cool slightly and bottle in sterilised jars. Seal while still hot.
500ml sliced kumquats, pips reserved
1 litre of water
Tie the reserved pips in a muslin bag and add to the sliced fruit and water. Cover and set aside overnight.
The next day put the mixture in a saucepan and simmer, uncovered, until the fruit is very soft, about 30 minutes.
Remove the bag with the pips and discard.
Add the sugar and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly until the setting point is reached.
Stir occasionally to prevent mixture catching on the bottom.
Cool slightly before bottling in sterilised jars. Seal while still hot. - The Star