Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lady Marmalade

We were tossing around ideas for homemade Christmas gifts and decided to make marmalade. It's a super-easy sort of jelly to make because the rinds and pith go in (so no peeling or juicing) and those rinds and pith are what causes the jam to gel (so no need to add pectin).

We used instructions from Mad Evil Science Laboratory, except that to make it even easier than their "way easier" method, we didn't chop the peels separately; we just threw everything -- peels, pith, flesh, juice -- into the food processor. (Jack's mom was helping, so rather than admit my completely barbarian upbringing, we did seed the tangerines. And remove a little pith from the grapefruits.)

A limited-edition practice flavor, brewed from cheesecake party leftovers.
Of course, we can't do "way easier" without also doing "way more complicated," so we made four different flavors at once (grapefruit orange, tangerine cinnamon, cherry clementine, and orange lemon ginger), using 15 pounds of citrus and filling 34 jars (mostly cute little 4-ouncers).

(Generally speaking, I would recommend marmalade as an economical holiday gift, but I didn't consider I would have to pay Delta $23 today to check my traveling backpack, which contained way, way more than one quart of three-ounce containers of gel-like substances.)

Some folks have asked the difference between marmalade and jam or jelly. I'm pretty sure it's just jelly made with citrus fruit and including the rinds. (A truly pretentious but probably technically correct blog comment I read claimed that true marmalade is made with Seville oranges and anything else is just "orange jelly.")

 P.S. One more last-minute gift recommendation: I just saw this book of cooking projects and am a little bit dying to try many of them (olives, marshmallows, ginger beer), and I heartily endorse the ones we already have (crackers, potato chips, mayonnaise). To the kitchen!

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