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Eat Crete: Simple Marmalade

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For those of you who follow me on the Crete Nature Blog you’ll know that my primary interests besides nature are food and drink. So, as promised in this week’s blog, here is my recipe for simple to make, delicious marmalade. Follow me into the kitchen and we’ll begin. (If you just need the simple recipe card click here)

This is all we’ll need: 1 large saucepan; 4 oranges; a lemon; a kilo of sugar, a tot of brandy (no, you can’t open it yet); a sharp knife and a ramekin. Told you it was simple didn’t I?

We’ll thoroughly wash the fruit, chop it into quarters, separate the orange from the peel and shred about eight of the quarters of the orange peel. Try to get the orange and lemon pips out at this stage and put them in the ramekin. After which we simply bung the whole lot, minus the pips, into the saucepan, add two pints of water (that’s 2.4 US pints or 1.1 litres) , pop the lid on and leave it for 24 hours. Now we’ll cover the pips with a drop of water, cover them up and leave them too. The reason that we’re doing this is to release the pectin, a natural gelling agent. If you want a firmer set you can quarter an apple into the pot as well.

Stage two is just as simple. Take the lid off, drain the pip water into the pot being careful not to let any of the pips sneak in, bring it to the boil and simmer it for two hours after which the liquid should have reduced by half and the peel should be soft. (No, you still can’t open the brandy yet).

Stage three involves a bit of fishing. We have to fish the lemon quarters and the big chunks of orange peel out of the pot and discard them. The kitchen, as you will have noticed, is now smelling quite heavenly. Having removed everything barring the fruit and the shredded peel we bring it back to a fast boil and stir in the kilo of sugar. Keep stirring that occasionally for fifteen minutes to make sure that the sugar doesn’t caramelize, and in the meantime sterilize the jars with a kettle of boiling water.

All done? You may now open the brandy. We’ll let it cool off for twenty minutes or so before we add a tot as we don’t want to denature the alcohol which we’re using as a preservative. Which just about gives us time for a small tot ourselves.

Now all we have to do is pour it into the jars and screw the lids on tight. If we do it while the marmalade is still hot then it will produce a vacuum as it cools and help to keep it fresh. I made a large batch a few years back and I was still eating it two years later so it keeps a good long while. Meanwhile, this batch will be ready for spreading on our toast tomorrow morning.

The citrus fruits will be in season for the next couple of months here in Crete, (hence posting this blog now) and if people like this little post I’ll put a few more up as the seasons dictate. Just click on some sort of ‘like’, ‘share’ or ‘subscribe’ icon and follow the Crete Nature Blog for further updates.

If you want an easy to follow recipe card to print off and keep click here. Meanwhile here’s a little label that you can cut and paste and then print off for your jars.

   

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