January 27, 2009

Homemade Marmalade

One of the best ways to capture seasonal flavors is through the time honored tradition of home canning. If you love to browse farmers markets for the freshest ingredients of the season, just imagine enjoying these same bright flavors months later.
Right now clementines are in season and the bright orange fruits are everywhere! I saw a case on sale at the grocery store and just couldn't resist!

Yesterday I pulled out the canning supplies from the basement and decided to preserve these flavorful winter fruits.


2 cups thin strips of clementine peel (about 10 clementines)
4 cups cold water
Pulp and juice of 10 clementines
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup brandy
3 cups granulated sugar

1. In a heavy saucepan, combine the clementine peel and cold water. Bring to a simmer, covered, over medium heat. Continue to simmer until peel is tender, about 30 minutes; drain thoroughly.
2. Remove seeds and white membrane from the peeled fruit; dice fruit, saving and squeezing out all juices.
3. In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, combine the cooked peel, diced fruit and juice, lemon juice, boiling water, and brandy. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Quickly bring to a boil and boil until mixture has thickened and reaches a temperature of 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer, about 20-25 minutes.
4. Remove from heat, skim off foam, and let mixture rest for 5 minutes before filling jars. Fill jars to within 1/4 inch from the top and screw on lids. Process filled jars in a boiling water bath with the water depth of at least 2 inches above the jar tops. Cover kettle and when water returns to boiling, boil 1/2 pint jars for 10 minutes or pint jars for 15 minutes. Remove jars immediately when processing time is over and place on wire racks a few inches apart to cool completely, without disturbing jars. Make sure all jars are sealed. If you have jars that did not seal properly, keep stored in refrigerator. Makes about 7-8 half pints, or 3-4 pints. If you do not care to use the brandy (but it's so wonderful!) just use 2 cups boiling water instead of 1-1/2 cups and omit brandy.

The results were just phenomenal! I have been enjoying it on toast for breakfast every day. Adding the brandy created a depth of flavor that makes me just want to eat the marmalade out of the jar! The plan was to make a bunch of marmalade now and save it for Christmas gifts...we'll see if it lasts that long!

Don't be intimated by home canning and preserving. Take a trip to your local hardware store, stock up on the basic supplies and give it a try!

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