Tag Archives: sweet spreads

Orange Marmalade to Brighten Your Day

Sometimes new is better than the tried and true older version of something.

We took a look at the long-standing original Orange Marmalade procedure in the University of Georgia’s So Easy to Preserve book and decided to make it easier (and better?). The book version has a 12 to 18 hour standing period of the fruit and water ingredients before continuing with adding sugar and cooking. We found this wait to be unnecessary in affecting the outcome of the final product so we were able to shorten the procedure. Also, the book directions have you measure the fruit and water volume in cups after this standing period and then calculate the amount of sugar to add. That was a bit messy (and dirtied more dishes to wash!), so after some repetitions to figure out a specific amount of sugar to use with each batch, we eliminated that step, too!

Of course this will not get changed in the book until there is a new edition (a totally unknown date at this time, by the way) but our National Center for Home Food Preservation website makes it possible to bring it to you right away. The recipe is posted here: http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_07/orange_marmalade.html. We used navel oranges in our recipe development, and left all of the white albedo attached. See notes at the bottom of the recipe page.

This is still a traditionally very sweet marmalade that gels from correct cooking with the right proportions of sugar and pectin as well as acid. It is partially preserved for the recommended short canning procedure by the sugar content as well as acidic fruit, also. We recommend cutting the orange peel into very thin strips; it is “chock-full” of orange peel. However, the sweetness makes it not too bitter. (I will admit, I have never been a marmalade fan, but I do really like this one!)

The pectin comes from the citrus fruit albedo (the white pith or tissue right under the outer peel) that is included. As with all cooked jams, jellies or marmalades that gel without added purchased pectin, but only with the pectin found in the fruit, cooking to the right temperature for gelling will be a little variable depending on your actual fruit and pectin content, speed of boiling and size of cooking pot. Our yield is usually just the 7 half-pint jars or in one batch, at least another partial jar. It is important not to overcook, also, or you pass the point where the pectin will gel.

Brush up on your measurement of determining “doneness” if you need to! Temperature might work well with this one, or get a small glass plate cold in the freezer while you cook. When you are ready to test for doneness, take the plate out and drop a few drops of the marmalade onto the cold surface. It should hold its shape pretty well. If you use the Spoon Test, be sure you are capturing the jelly part of the marmalade on your spoon and not fruit or peel. You have to work  quickly with all these, and take the pan off your burner. You don’t want to overcook, either, and get a marmalade that is too stiff or gummy. This stage makes these methods a little less precise than cooking jams or marmalades with added pectin, but also makes them more special as you work to perfect your product!

If marmalade is something that can help brighten your morning or other meals with a little addition of flavor and color, enjoy!

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Melt-in-your-Mouth Lemon Curd

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Although not meant to be a part of your everyday diet (you’ll see why when you consider the ingredients list), lemon curd sure is a special treat! A traditional English sweet spread, curds work well as a topping on cakes, cookies, and scones or as filling in pies and tarts. You could spoon it onto cream cheese for a unique dip or simply drip it over ice cream or frozen yogurt.

Making lemon curd is somewhat challenging, so if you are a novice then you might want to recruit help from a more experienced cook. And, as usual, if you are new to canning then please read step-by-step instructions on Using Boiling Water Canners and Principles of Home Canning.

frozen l curd

You can prepare this lemon curd to be consumed fresh, frozen, or canned. You could even make Lime Curd instead, substituting the lemon juice and zest for equal parts lime juice and zest. Either way, fresh curd needs to be refrigerated and eaten within 4 weeks, frozen curd will maintain best quality for up to a year, and canned curd for just 3 to 4 months.

The procedure for making lemon curd is an exacting process. Low-acid foods make up a significant portion of the ingredients (butter and eggs), so it is especially important to follow a tested recipe and canning process time for safety’s sake. Instead of detailing each step of the procedure here, please review the ingredient and equipment lists below, and then use these links for complete instructions from the National Center for Home Food Preservation: Canned Lemon Curd and Preparing and Preserving Lemon Curd (frozen).

l curd ingredientsl curd whisking

Lemon Curd, canned or frozen

Ingredients:

2½ cups superfine sugar (or grind granulated sugar in a food processor for one minute)

½ cup lemon zest (optional)

1 cup commercially bottled standard lemon juice (needs to be bottled for consistent pH)

¾ cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into approximately ¾-inch pieces

7 large egg yolks

4 large whole eggs

Equipment needed:

lemon zester

small mixing bowl

balloon whisk

1½ quart double boiler

mesh strainer

kitchen thermometer measuring at least up to 180°F

silicone spatula or cooking spoon

dish cloth or towel

medium-sized glass or stainless steel mixing bowl

1 quart-sized or 2 pint-sized freezer containers and plastic food wrap (only if freezing)

3 to 4 half-pint canning jars, lids, and ring bands and a boiling water canner (only if canning)

This entry was inspired by the season, the Valentine’s Day holiday (because lemon curd makes an impressive gift whether fresh or preserved) and by the article Preserving and Preparing Lemon Curd by Elaine M. D’Sa.