In the two years since Amy was born I have made Jam and Marmalade with my Mum on three separate occasions. Its a tradition I love and I am so glad that its something I am able to do with my Mum. We started off making Apricot Jam and Chilli Peach Chutney like my Mum's Mum used to make and I gave those to family and friends in South Africa for Christmas in 2006. Mum and I made Orange Marmalade in July 2007 and then I made my own batch of Apricot Jam for Christmas gifts last year.
This year my next door neighbour said I could take all the oranges off her tree and so Mum and I set to perfecting our recipe and making a large batch of Orange Marmalade for my Mother-in-law's August Church Fete.
Last year we were duped into using something called Marmalade and Jam Sugar which contains pectin. Although our marmalade did set well, it had a funny taste which we attributed to the sugar. This year our collaboration was a great success and we have come up with the perfect recipe that requires only oranges, sugar and a little water and some patience in cooking it all up.
Bridget and Sarah's Orange Marmalade.
1 kg oranges (approx. 6)
2 kgs sugar
1 cup of water
the juice of 4 oranges
1 muslin square
Quarter the oranges and finely slice the rind, remove any pips and pith and tie this up in the muslin square. The pips are rich in pectin which will help the marmalade to set. Put the sliced oranges, juice of 4 oranges, the cup of water and the muslin bag filled with pips and pith into a large pot and bring to the boil. Simmer for approx. 45 minutes until the orange rind is soft. Add the sugar in one go and stir to dissolve. Bring the marmalade back to the boil and using a jam thermometer, keep at a slow rolling boil until the temperature gets to 106c. Continue boiling at a slow rolling boil for approx 1 hour until setting time is reached. Don't be worried if the temperature continues to rise, our temp reached nearly 120c in our first batch and it was still fine.
My stovetop is very hot and a slow rolling boil was achieved at around about 1/2 the dial. I managed to slightly caramelise the last batch of marmalade I made on my own after Mum had left by boiling it for the hour at a too high temperature. The marmalade still tastes delicious but its darker in colour than the other batches.
The trick to making jam and marmalade is knowing when its set. After the sugar had dissolved and the marmalade had been boiling slowly for about 45 minutes, I started testing the setting on saucers that had been in the freezer for 15 minutes. A spoonful on the saucer, left to cool for a couple of minutes should form a skin when pushed across the plate with your finger. There is a trick to knowing when jam is set and Mum and I were both suprised at how long it took. Many recipes will say boil for 10 minutes until setting temp of 106c is reached but this wasn't nearly long enough for ours. Now that we have our definitive recipe I need to get working, despite the 24 jars of marmalade currently sitting on my table, I still have another whole bag of oranges to use up!