Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Posted by Deeba PAB
This is also the time of the year that the tangerine tree is laden with fruit & calling my name. I have a tradition of making bitter orange marmalade at this time of the year, packaging it in reusable jars that I collect through the year, and gifting them. I have a long list of bitter marmalade lovers who await their annual 'share'!
Bitter oranges originated in the northeast of India and neighbouring areas of China and Southeast Asia. During the first centuries of their empire, the Romans took a great interest in the fruit; however, as their domination of Europe ended, so did the cultivation of oranges. By this time, Arabs had established both themselves and the bitter orange in Spain. With the Moors' irrigation technology, the fruit flourished in the once-dry land.
Some believe that the British passion for the fruit – or rather, the fruit transformed to marmalade – began with a happy accident in 1700, after a young Dundee grocer named James Keiller took a risk on a large consignment of oranges that were en route from Seville, on a ship sheltering against a storm in Dundee harbour. The oranges were cheap, but Keiller couldn't sell them: the flesh was far too sour. His shrewd wife, however, used the oranges to make a spreadable preserve. The jars went on sale in Keiller's shop and soon demand became so high, the family had to order a regular shipment of oranges from Seville. By 1797 they had opened Britain's first marmalade factory.
Tangerines are easy fruit to preserve as jam, as the seeds are high in pectin content. This particular recipe has the seeds tied together in a tiny piece of cheesecloth & immersed in the ingredients during the process. I think it adds to the conventional bitter edge to the marmalade.
Tangerines - 1 kg
Sugar – 1.250 kg
Water - 250ml
Sterilize 4-5 jam jars, including lids. Place a sterilized metal spoon in each jar (this ensures that the glass jar will not crack when the hot jam is poured in).
Halve the tangerines and deseed them. Tie the seeds in a small piece of cheesecloth and reserve them.
Add water and boil for 2-3 minutes. Now add sugar, stirring constantly.
Continue to boil on full heat for a further 10-15 minutes until the mixture thickens & the strips becomes translucent.
Drop a few drops on a cold metal plate to check if the jam is setting properly. After 30 seconds, it should congeal and look jellylike.
Put off the flame, discard the muslin pouch with the seeds and allow the jam top cool slightly, about 10-15 minutes.
Now pour the marmalade into the jars, and seal after 10-15 minutes. (Refrigerate if you like. I do because I make a batch that lasts me 6 months.)
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