My first experiment with marmalade started and ended 2 years ago. I was really into fermenting things at the time, and decided that, better than regular old marmalade was FERMENTED MARMALADE. Of course all of this was at the prompting of Jam, who loves marmalade (somewhere, under that handsome face and messy hair is an old tweed-clad English man dying to escape). You see I really really do not like marmalade. It’s too bitter, too orangey, too, bleagh*. So I put it off for quite a while. And he kept asking. And then one day I had the idea to ferment it, and so it happened.
Three days later, I was pottering about in the kitchen, with three big jars of marmalade fermenting on top of the fridge. When I heard this hissing noise. I was confused. I checked under the sink (no monsters), I looked for the cat (outside), I stood in the middle of the kitchen scratching my head, when…
Really, just like that. I almost crapped myself. But I didn’t have time, because next thing I know I am completely covered, from head to toe, in orange fizzy goop. Not only am I covered, but the kitchen is covered. The ceiling, the walls, the stove, the sink… it even got inside some of the drawers that were open. Jam comes running downstairs shouting “AREYOUOKWHATHAPPENED?!?!?” and comes to a halt at the kitchen doorway. And then he starts laughing. And then I start laughing. And then we’re both standing in the kitchen (he is clean still) laughing until we have stitches in our sides. You see, although I appear to be a complete domestic goddess, now you know differently.
Needless to say, marmalade was not brought up again for quite a while. A couple of years actually, until we went out to check out a restaurant that had been recommended to us. The restaurant sucked for the most part, save for one dish: a Ukranian dumpling filled with spinach and cheese, and topped with sour cream and lemon marmalade. It sounds horrible, at least to me it does.But Jam ordered it, and I ate the entire plate (he got one bite). It was so delicious. On the way home he said “Do you think you could make lemon marmalade?”, and since I now had something in the universe containing marmalade that I actually liked, I agreed.
Lemon Marmalade (no fermentation required)
2 lb lemons
4 cups sugar
Wash the lemons, put in a big metal pot, cover with water, and bring to the boil. Reduce to simmer for an hour. Then remove from heat and let cool overnight.
In the morning, scoop all of the innards out of the lemons, saving the peel and the cooking water. Put the innards and half the water back in the pot, and bring back to a boil. Reduce to simmer for an hour. Strain out all of the goop in a fine mesh sieve, or in cheesecloth. Then add the liquid and goop (pectin) back to the pan. Take about a quarter of the rinds that you saved, and slice into very very thin slices, about half an inch long each. Add them back to the pan. Add the sugar (Taste it please. You might need more, or less.) and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 hours. After 2 hours start testing it on a cold plate– when it sets, it’s ready. Put 4 mason jars (all of those lemons for 4 jars of marmalade!!!) in the oven, and set it to 500. Remove the jars, and spoon in the boiling jam. Put on the lids and seal. Sealed properly, they’ll keep for a year.
*This is a technical term.
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