It’s been a long time since I wrote a post due to some inexplicable activity on the site. It was hacked, restored, and while on the restoration I also got a few subtle changes made. Extremely subtle. Did you notice them? I am on a break from work and decided to put my hobbies to test. I displayed bottles of strawberry jam and Andhra style sun-dried tomato pickle at the annual fun-fair held in my society. It was a very limited amount and the response, very good. I have people asking for more.
Since the last couple of years clementines (or satsuma mandarins) have started making regular appearance in the markets of Thane between late Autumn and Winter. The cuteness of their names and the appearance enticed me like last year. Last year I made clementine cakes so this year it was time to explore more. I made marmalade. Two types – one with pulp, and one with just the juice. Both had the peels of course. The former was thicker, and sweeter. In the latter the bitterness from the rind was more prominent. The latter is my kind of marmalade. Today I am sharing the recipe for pulped clementine marmalade, as the second is yet to be photographed.
I have been making lot of jams and these will dominate the scene. Given that, I guess it is appropriate that one writes a general post on jam-making and precautions. Well explained notes are available in many sites, but I have a compulsive need to do things in an orderly fashion. If you find anything unclear or you have had a bad experience while making jam/marmalades please leave a comment. I will try and include my basic knowledge and my experience in the post that will follow.
Meanwhile, here’s the recipe for clementine marmalade (with ginger as I added a tablespoon of the juice), and if you try it, don’t forget to leave me a comment telling me how it tasted and what changes you would make. It is good to know other points of view. If you do like it, don’t forget to give me a like on my facebook page and subscribe to my site.
The best guide for preparation of bottled edibles like jams, preserves and ketchups is Marguerite Patten. I have her book – ‘Jams, Pickles and Chutneys’ that was bought several years ago at a seconds sale and it is a treasure. I like how the book is broken into sections to help beginners make their own preserves, and covers basic doubts that one may have in a concise manner. There are a few things to be kept in mind while making jam and it is important to dwell on it for just a minute before we get on to the actual making.
Make sure you have these things ready as jam making involves high heat and a little precaution goes a long way by saving time and ensuring a smooth job :
- A stainless steel vessel, with thick, wide base. Do not use aluminium, copper, brass, zinc or iron pans as these are reactive in nature. The capacity of the vessel should be five times the capacity of the liquid as the fruit will froth and bubble a lot.
- A wooden ladle with long handle as it won’t get hot and is safe to use.
- Silicone gloves or heavy duty oven mitts to handle the hot vessel, and jar.
- Jam jars – Use only sterilised bottling jars made of glass with wax coated metal lids, or waxed discs with lids.
- A slotted spoon to skim the scum after making the jam.
- A pouring glass jar, or a stainless or glass funnel to pour the jam. I use a glass jar and sterilise it along with the bottles.
- A thermometer if you would like to determine the setting point. You can also go by the ‘saucer-in-freezer-method’. I use both the methods to be doubly sure, as the jam should have proper consistency.
- Two pieces of muslin cloth to tie and suspend the seeds in the saucepan.
- Four saucers to place in the freezer
Recipe : Clementine marmalade (with ginger)
(Based on Marguerite Patten’s recipe)
Preparing the clementines ;
Select firm, ripe, uniformly ripened fruits with no blemishes. Soft, over-ripe fruits do not make good marmalade. Wash the fruits and using a soft tooth brush remove any dust or grime with a light hand. Peel the fruits and remove any extra fibres or pith that cling on. Julienne the peels into thin strips and set aside.
Remove fibres from the peeled fruit and cut into half laterally, removing the seeds with a paring knife. Set the pips aside. Squeeze one lemon and separate the pips. Tie the pips from the clementines and lemon together in a clean muslin cloth.
Clementine fruits, without peel – 300g
Water – 500ml
Sugar (I used raw sugar) – 300g if you like the bitter peels like me | 400g if you like your marmalade sweet
Lemon juice – 1tsp.
Cut the fruit into small pieces. Soak the julienned peel, muslin cloth with pips, and the fruits in water overnight or for 8-9 hours.
Next morning place the saucers in the freezer before making the jam. You will need very cold saucers to test whether the jam has reached setting point (the point at which the jam will stay set after being bottled).
Place the soaked fruits and peel in a wide, heavy base, stainless steel pan in such a way that the liquid takes up only two inches of the vessel and you still have six or seven inches of height left clear. This will allow the jam to froth and boil without spluttering, overflowing or scalding you. Do not touch the vessel as the temperature the jam reaches is about 104 – 105 deg. Celsius, and you might suffer burns if you do not use tongs or mitts.
While the fruit heats, warm the sugar in a pre-heated oven at 120 deg. C. for 10-15 minutes, stirring once in between.
Simmer the soaked fruit and liquid for about an hour, or till the peels turn soft. Remove the muslin cloth containing the pips.
Stir the warmed sugar and lemon juice into the simmering juice. If using ginger, add 2 tbsps of ginger juice at this stage. Continue simmering till the sugar fully dissolves in the liquid stirring often. This should take about 15 – 20 minutes.
While the juice simmers, sterilise the bottles and pouring jar in a pre-heated oven at 120 deg. C. for at least 20 minutes. When five minutes are left, add the metal lids. Spread a thickly folded sheet of newspaper on your platform and carefully remove the bottles with oven mitts, and place them on the sheet.
By now, the sugar should have dissolved. Check by moving the wooden ladle and check for any grating sound. If there is none, and the liquid looks shiny and clear, the sugar has dissolved.
Bring the liquid to the boil and continue to boil rapidly for the next twenty minutes or till set. This should be done with minimum stirring.
Checking for setting point:
At the end of boiling rapidly for 18-20 minutes, try picking up some jam with the wooden spoon and pour it back. If it coats the spoon thickly the jam is near setting point. Remove one of the saucers and pour half a teaspoon of marmalade on it. Set in the freezer for about half a minute and try pushing the jam. It should show resistance by forming a skin. If it does, the jam is now ready for bottling. If not continue boiling rapidly till set. Check after every two minutes.
Alternatively, use a thermometer while boiling rapidly. When the temperature reaches 104 deg. C. the jam should be ready. Check using the saucer method. The temperature may vary slightly depending on the type of sugar. I used raw sugar.
Skimming the scum:
If there is scum floating on top, remove the same with a clean, slotted, stainless steel spoon. If there is still a little left, stir in 1/2 tsp. of olive oil (not extra virgin) into the marmalade.
Pour the marmalade into the pouring glass jar, and pour into the glass bottles leaving only 1/2 an inch of clear space in the jar. This way the air space is minimised and reduces the chances of spoilage. Screw the metal caps immediately.
I always pour jam into small bottles so that I need to open only a small jar at one go.
You can use tangerines and follow the same method to make tangerine marmalade.