Tuesday, September 1, 2009

About some marmalade

Recently I stumbled across one of Alison Holst's kitchen diaries. Now, I love these. They were published in the 1980s I think, and they are a collection of the things she cooked throughout the year. The recipes are simple and use humble ingredients, and there's always a lot of information with each recipe so that you really understand what you're doing.
Which brings me to making marmalade:

She notes in her recipe that marmalade made from fruit early in the season will be sour but not bitter, light in colour, and will set easily. Late season fruit makes darker marmalade with a more bitter flavour, and it will take longer to reach setting point.

Her recipe was for grapefruit marmalade which is not my cup of tea at all, so I made lemon and orange marmalade using my mum's recipe:
7 lemons
1 orange
4 pints water (2 L)
4 lbs sugar (2 kg)
Cut the fruit finely, discard the seeds. Soak in the water for 12-24 h. Simmer for about 1 hour until the fruit is so tender you can push your finger through it easily. Then add the sugar and boil rapidly. Test for setting point after 15 minutes*. Watch the pot carefully so as to avoid the spectacular boilover that I had. When setting point is reached, take off the heat and stir every now and then over the next 15 minutes. If you don't do this for long enough (guilty cough) the fruit floats to the top of the jar, thus:
* To test for the setting point, I put some plates in the freezer so they're nice and cold, then I put a spoonful of marmalade on and wait for a couple of minutes. If the top wrinkles when you push your finger through, it's set.
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  1. Howdy Miss Smith, I have made the metric marmalade with grapefruit and we love it, although we are grapefruit fans so that probably helps. Now that I am cooking for a little guy I am heavily reliant on Alison Holst recipes; you are so right about her humble ingredients and everything seems to work out perfectly. She really knows what kind of things children will eat, even fussy ones. She is currently my kitchen heroine. But you and MaryNanna are my crafting heroines, I simply don't know how you manage to get so much done!

  2. oh my god Miss Smith. you are just too much. is there anything you can't do?

  3. Oh here's a marmalade giggle for you... years ago, when I was writing exams and such, I had a question in one about the very thing you mention. When asked how to test if marmalade would set, a student wrote "Ring call". I had to actually say it out loud several times before I got what she was on about!

    I'm guessing you have no such problems, you domestic goddess!

  4. Nice marmalade and booootiful photos, how lovely your blog looks, Miss Smith

  5. I'm not a marmalade fan but yours looks delicious. Hey thanks for the mp3 player! Was cool to come home to something in the letterbox. I've loaded it up already. I enjoyed the writing paper too.

  6. There is such warmth in your photos, I can almost taste the lemon and orange marmalade! : )

  7. oh, yum. that marmalade looks delicious. do you think there'll be some on your stall at the fair?
    i too am a fan of the kitchen diaries. i think i have one from 1988 somewhere that has a really good fudge recipe in it.

  8. Miss Smith, I am not so sure about the marmalade, being something of a vegemite toast girl myself, but I am happy to have found your blog and pleased to see pikelets getting the respect they deserve.

  9. I am a big marmalade fan and one time I even made some too! I Love the photos in the sunlight! Yay miss smith!

  10. Mmmmmmmm. That looks one hundred times better than that vile run-of-the-mill grocery store marmalade.

    Pretty photos, too!

  11. Isn't there some saying about give a person a fish and you feed them once, whereas give them a fishing line and they feed themselves until the fish population crashes? or something... Anyway, I've got lots of lemons and will whip down to CCNW for an orange, tonight shall be marmalade night,that will make up for the jar I left behind!