I’ve so enjoyed reading everyone’s Tigress Can Jam citrus posts this week that I almost forgot to write my post about it!
Citrus from the store is not local in the Pacific NW but there are some citrus you can grow at home. Unfortunately only one can overwinter in your garden and I just planted mine last spring so it will be several years (probably another 3) before I see fruit from my Yuzu. I’ve tasted yuzu at Dahlia Lounge (did I ever tell you how weepy Tom Douglas makes me?) and while it’s frequently described as a cross between lime and bitter orange in the ceviche it tasted like a really intense lime to me. I can’t wait!
I also have an improved Meyer Lemon tree in my living room. I found a down-pointing floor lamp and bought a grow bulb for it. We’ve been meaning to get a floor lamp for years and I’m glad I held off now since this makes it dual purpose and doesn’t use any extra energy to grow my lemon verbena and improved Meyer Lemon indoors.
Tigress didn’t provide enough advance notice for me to try and source Yuzu since it’s a fall fruit so I had to stoop to buying non-local, organic Meyer lemons at PCC. And since I was there buying citrus I ended up getting some grapefruit, a case of juicing oranges, extra lemons and limes to salt preserve, lacto-ferment and to freeze zest and juice in ice cube trays for use in recipes the rest of the year. While it’s true that Rockridge Orchard apple cider vinegar works great in many recipes calling for lemon juice (salads, gravies, soups, pumpkin pie, peach preserves) there are some things like strawberry jam that lemon really works best in.
While I prefer to lacto-ferment my orange marmalade, the rules of the can jam require water bath processing so I had to get back to my canning roots. My two entries for the challenge are pretty straight forward long boiling marmalades – one orange and one lemon-rosemary. Orange is my favorite to eat with Mt. Pleasant gouda on toast or English muffins for breakfast but the lemon is multi-functional, straddling the fence of sweet, sour and savory all in the same bite. It makes a great sauce for fish, perfect pairing for creamy panna cotta or cheesecake and transcendental layer for Tom Douglas’ cornmeal rosemary lemon cake.
You’ll be able to read the recipe for the lemon-rosemary marmalade over at www.CanningAcrossAmerica.com hopefully this week, along with an explanation on what happens when water boils and why it can take so long sometimes to hit that all-important, oh-so-elusive temperature of 220 F (the magical point where high-pectin fruit hits gel stage.)
The orange marmalade was a pretty straight forward, not at all exciting recipe that has stood the test of time. I put a yuzu leaf in each jar to remind me that someday I would be making Yuzu marmalade off my own tree instead of buying non-local oranges. Without further ado here is the recipe for the orange marmalade, as simple and straightforward as the marmalade itself.
Long Boiling Orange Marmalade
4 organic oranges
8 cups filtered water
8 cups organic sugar
Thinly slice the oranges crosswise and then cut the slices into quarters. Discard any seeds and center pith. Place them in a non-reactive stock pot. Add the water and the sugar and bring it to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Turn off the burner, cover the pot and let it sit overnight.
When you are ready to make marmalade, bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about an hour and a half until the fruit and peels soften. Turn the heat up to medium and cook for another 35 minutes or until it reaches 220 F.
To check your gel, dip a cold metal spoon into the mixture. Tilt your spoon sideways over the sink. The mixture should “sheet” off the spoon in one large drop like a curtain. On other method of testing is to place a small saucer in the freezer. When the mixture is ready you should be able to place a spoonful on the saucer and return it to the freezer for one minute. If your mixture is ready it will wrinkle when you push the edge of it with your finger.
Fill sterilized jars with the hot marmalade and process in a water bath for 10 minutes. The longer the marmalade sits the less bitter it becomes. Consume within one year.