Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My First Marmalade Experience



My mother was a great "Domestic Engineer" when I was growing up. She was at great cooking, baking, decorating, housekeeping and all of the other tiring aspects of choosing to stay at home. But when I told my mother that I was starting to join the canning revolution - she snorted in disbelief. Or at least that's is what I imagined what she did when she saw that post and questioned me on it in an email.

Why would a working girl have time to make jam?

This is a good point. I guess eventually you are going to make a choice of what you want to make from scratch with the limited time that is available on the weekends. Sometimes I'll make a loaf of bread (Thank you Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes Cookbook), Sometimes I'll make a roast and sometimes I'll experiment with jams and marmalade. Last year I started make quick skillet type jams with the fruit I had leftover from the farmer's market. They were so delicious. This year I knew I wanted a pantry full of homemade jams, jellies, curds and marmalade. I also want to find a way to can my tomato sauce so I could have hostess gifts and little thoughtful gifts for those who needed meals or just needed cheering up.

Then my husband got me this for Christmas (yes mother it's ANOTHER cookbook - ok so I've gone a little overboard)


The Blue Chair Cookbook is an amazing cookbook that feels like it's around 10 lbs of recipes for jams, jellies and marmalade recipes - BY SEASON...

So I pushed away my urge to use some of my frozen strawberries in order to skip to the spring recipes and decided that I would make the Pink Grapefruit Marmalade as my first step. I also wanted to give it away for Valentine's presents to my friends. Get it? Pink... (crickets, crickets....)



Let me just cut to the chase. It turned out wonderful and I loved the process of waiting until the marmalade jelled. Now I know what it looks like when it almost reaches that point. But the best part of the process what the idea that they author had about sterilizing jars in the oven. Love this idea because the whole reason I had never canned yet was the whole mess of boiling the jars. In the process she outlines in the book you do the following:

Put clean jars and tops in a 250 degree oven on a jelly roll pan for 30 minutes. Remove them and add the jelly, jam or marmalade. Wipe the rim of the jar with a damp cloth (I used a clean paper towel). Put the lids on and put the jars back in the oven for another 15 minutes. When you remove them from the oven and as they start to cool all the tops will pop and seal. If it doesn't then put it in the refrigerator and use within a week. Seems pretty easy to me.

The moral of this tale is if you have any interest in some wonderful jam, jelly or marmalade recipes you can't go wrong by getting this book. It's inspirational and oh so helpful.

19 comments:

  1. Put clean jars and tops in a 250 degree oven on a jelly roll pan for 30 minutes. Remove them and add the jelly, jam or marmalade. Wipe the rim of the jar with a damp cloth (I used a clean paper towel). Put the lids on and put the jars back in the oven for another 15 minutes. When you remove them from the oven and as they start to cool all the tops will pop and seal. If it doesn't then put it in the refrigerator and use within a week. Seems pretty easy to me.

    The above is VERY VERY unsafe way to can. Take the time and put it in a water bath. I got my Masters in Canning from UC Davis and this is a VERY dangerous thing to teach others to do.

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  2. Very interesting. I'm surprised you could print a cookbook using this method then? Does it apply to highly acidic recipes like the jams in her cookbook? 

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  3. I've been debating making a grapefruit marmalade before citrus season is over, even though I already have jars of clementine-persimmon and orange-whiskey marmalade in the pantry. I think it might be time to stage an intervention. :P

    BTW, in terms of processing jars in the oven vs. a boiling water bath, you might find this post helpful in explaining what's so wrong with several old-fashioned techniques:
    http://www.foodinjars.com/2010/08/canning-101-why-you-shouldnt-can-like-your-grandmother-did/
    She doesn't mention the oven-processing method specifically, but it have the same issues as steam-canning since air being a less conductive medium than water, so the jars may not get hot enough for long enough to kill bacteria.

    (If you haven't checked it out yet, Food in Jars is a wonderful resource on all things canning-related, BTW.)

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  4. I have been getting into canning myself and have totally been enjoying it! Your marmalade sounds like a great gift to give anyone! I agree with Isabelle...Food in Jars is a great sight! Good luck!

    P.S. Using the water bath method of canning is actually pretty easy!

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  5. That is an awesome cookbook...making jams is so much fun!

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  6. Ooh! I made lemon marmalade once, and it took me HOURS, peeling the lemons, chopping it, stirring it, caramelizing it...I think they are the most luscious things, though.

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  7. That sounds like the most homey, fun thing to do! Sounds really tasty! Mmmmm, I love Marmelade...it reminds me of Alice in Wonderland!

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  8. We'd love to have you feature these photos at kitchenartistry.com

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  9. pink grapefruit marmalade sounds wonderful!!!!!! :D

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  10. kudos to you for making such an impressive marmalade debut! it looks delightful and delicious and perfect for valentine's day!

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  11. it looks so yummy. ive never heard of the oven methed before. i broke jars using the hot water bath. i felt so stupid,& lost all the tomato sauce i made!

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  12. I've been thinking about getting that cookbook! I always gravitate towards it when I'm at the bookstore. The photos are extraordinary. Your jam looks like it turned out wonderfully! :-p BTW, your pooch is sooo cute!! I have a Jack.

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  13. Grapefruit Marmalade, excellent idea!! I've never actually had that, but it sounds divine!!

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  14. I make my own Marmalade all the time. Nothing is better than it on an English muffin with peanut butter and half a banana

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  15. Your marmalade is beautiful! I love making jam, even if it takes a bit of time the results are worth it and you can enjoy that jam for months and months! I usually do process my jars in a boiling water bath for longer keeping, but the guidelines are different in different places. i have a well-respected preserves book from the UK that doesn't use a boiling water bath for jams. I think you can sterilize jars in the oven, but I wouldn't process them there. Anyway, I need to make some marmalade before all the beautiful citrus disappears!
    :)

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  16. Whoa! I've never even heard of this book! I love canning by season. We are just finishing up the citrus, and I can't wait for the springtime fruits and vegetables!!

    So glad I found your blog!!!
    Margaret
    Two in the Nest

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