Monday, March 29, 2010
The fruit was in danger of going to waste; if I didn't pick it and do something with it, it would ripen, fall to the ground, and be lost in a mess of long grasses. I had to make marmalade.
I picked a giant bag of fruit, and a few days later, transformed a jumble of juice and pith into a delightfully sunny preserve. This morning I ate some plopped on top of my yogurt. It is tart and a little bitter, with big chunks of peel. It isn't the best marmalade for spreading, though I do plan to try to slather it on a slice of toasted walnut bread very soon. But if I made it again I think I'd put extra effort into cutting the strips of fruit slender and small. It might make for a more traditional marmalade.
As it is, it is more like an orange preserve. And really, preserving is such an apt word for this project. Not only did I save the fruit for future days, but I saved the memory of a little cabin tucked into Dry Creek Valley: spring sun and warmth, dusty vines, long walks and longer talks, too many glasses of wine.
Sunny Orange Marmalade
7 tangerines or oranges (do not peel), preferably organic, washed well, quartered, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 lemons (do not peel), preferably organic, washed well, quartered, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
4 cups water
Bring tangerines, lemons, and water to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes. Let cool slightly. Press parchment directly on surface of marmalade, and refrigerate overnight.
Remove parchment; return saucepan to medium heat. Bring to a simmer, and cook until citrus rinds are very tender, about 30 minutes. Measure mixture, and return to saucepan over medium-high heat. For each cup of mixture, add 3/4 cup sugar. Simmer until a candy thermometer registers 220, about 30 minutes. (Tangerine and lemon flesh should be broken down, and rinds should be translucent.) Plate-test marmalade to make sure it is set. Divide among 4 pint-size sterilized glass jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace at tops. Can in water bath for 15 minutes.
Makes about 4 pint sized jars.