We've Got It Made: Lady (and Sir) Marmalade

Here I sit, typing on this wee blog, with my back to my grandmother's china cabinet (which was originally a pantry for my great-grandmother's pump house, where all the men would go to have a drink 'cause my great-grand didn't allow liquor in her home, thank you very much).

Peering into the glass door of the cabinet, I see nine jars of Christmas Morning Marmalade, which I rechristened "Pucker Up Marmalade" after Scott and I spent nearly two hours peeling, slicing, and seeding an ungodly amount of citrus fruit right before Christmas.

I already had apple butter and apple pie jam stored up to gift, so I wanted to can something a little different. As Scott's grandmother Miss Doris loves orange marmalade, and we knew we would visit with her at some point over the holiday, it felt fitting to make some marmalade.

You'll note the recipe for Christmas Morning Marmalade, from Steve Dowdney's book Putting Up, involves peeling, seeding and plugging (this means removing each piece of fruit by its natural segment) a LOT of citrus - and removing the pith, the white part under the skin or peel. The recipe also calls for removing the membrane of the oranges, grapefruits and lemons and limes, which is tricky to do. Damn tedious and almost impossible is more like it.

It seemed crazy at the time to use all the peels from the limes and lemons, but Scott dutifully followed the recipe. I think that if we did it all over again, I'd zest the fruits instead of including the meticulously sliced peels. They wound up tasting very hard and bitter - not something you want to spread over a warm slice of toast.

Scott had fun carving through all that citrus, as you can see.

Maybe what he didn't love so much was hearing me bellow many choice words after realizing I dumped in 13 (!!!!) precious cups of sugar too early - you bring the fruits to a boil then add sugar, but I dumped the sugar in right after I put in the fruit.
I just knew I screwed up, that it wouldn't jell correctly, and we'd wind up with two hours of work and a semi-jelled citrus mess to show for it.
However, the canning gods smiled on us, and not long after I ladled the hot jelly into the jars:

And turned them upside down for about 10 minutes:

As the jars cooled, their lids let off those satisfying "pops" to let us know they sealed right up. I could tell by watching how the mixture slowly slurped around the jar when I tipped it downward that it would jell just beautifully.
For the first marmalade, it wasn't bad. I'd give it a B, with a lower mark due to the strange hard peel additions and the very puckery taste. I think I'd like to try a traditional orange marmalade next time.
Some of you asked about our the fruits of our All Clad Factory Sale adventure. Well, my friends, we made it out unscathed - those folks up in Canonsburg, Pa. know how to set up an organized and friendly cookware bonanza - with these beauties:
Accentuated with a new stainless steel potato masher/ricer and slotted spoon, our gleaming (for now) new pieces are a 10 inch skillet, a 12-inch lidded saute pan, and a six-quart stock pot with lid. Note: the lids are sold separately and each pan and pot is oven-safe.
The next addition to the family will be a cast iron skillet - after my cooking class with Mrs. Wheelbarrow today, I plan on testing my new roasted chicken skills, and spatchcocking!
Hope everyone's had a lovely and tasty weekend - does it have to end? Cheers!


  1. WOOO! Lovely post, Erin, and you look great! I hope I am a lucky recipient of said marmalade or jelly - and I hope you and I can share a meal soon!

  2. Ha - thanks for the nice words. I do have some marmalade for you, ST. Let's pick a time to meet up!

  3. So nice to meet you last weekend, Erin. I've got thoughts of marmalade myself these days - great to read your tips before I start the onerous work of cutting up citrus. See you soon, Cathy


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