It may surprise you to know, given we are a nation of marmalade makers and eaters, that we celebrated National Marmalade week this year for the very first time from 25 February - 3 March.
This inaugural awareness week was created by the organizers of The World’s Original Marmalade Awards & Festival held in Dalemain mansion in the Lake District because of the huge increase in the number of people making their own marmalades and artisan made marmalades on the market.
If you want to have a go yourself next year jars from every type of marmalade maker are welcomed. Further entry details including a downloadable entry form, category criteria, submission details and entry fees can be found by visiting: www.marmaladeawards.com
However if you simply want to have a bash at making your own Jubilee vintage to celebrate this great British tradition, here is a great marmalade recipe guaranteed to wake up your palate over breakfast. One of the pluses or this recipe is that you can make it any time of the year as it does not require Seville oranges. Don’t forget, marmalade is a useful ingredient; it makes great sponge puddings and tarts and you can also add it to savoury dishes to give a tangy citrus flavour.
Chunky lemon, lime and grapefruit marmalade
The combination of lemon, lime and grapefruit makes a delicious zingy ‘good morning world’ tasting marmalade. It can be made in small quantities at any time of the year, not just when the traditional Seville oranges are in season. I have given quantities to yield two or three jars but if you want to make in bulk, then simply double or triple the ingredients. Cut the peel to suit your taste – thick or thin by hand, chunky or fine using a blender. Vary the citrus fruit to suit your taste.
1 small pink grapefruit
500 ml water
1 kg sugar
Juice of ½ lemon
3 clean, dry, warm 259 g jam jars with lids
1 pack jam pot covers and waxed discs
Makes 500g 750 g
Scrub the fruit and prise out any stalk ends still attached. Put the fruit in a pan and cover with cold water, set over low heat and cook until tender – this will take 11/2-2 hours. The fruit is ready when it ‘collapses’. Lime zest is generally tougher than other citrus peel, so you must make sure it is tender at this stage otherwise it will taste woody.
Transfer the fruit to a chipping board, reserving the water) and leave until cool enough to handle. Cut in half, scrape out the pips and add to the pan of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Cut the zest into strips as finely as possible or put in a blender and whiz until chunky. Strain the water from the pips and flesh and return it to the pan, adding the chopped zest and the lemon juice. Discard the pips and the debris.
Add the sugar to the pan and bring slowly to simmering point, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Because the sugar content is high this will take quite a long time. When the marmalade has become translucent, you will know the sugar has dissolved and you can increase the heat. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly until setting point is reached – 5-10 minutes.
Take the pan off the heat and test for set (see below). If the marmalade is not ready, put the pan back on the heat to boil for a few more minutes and test again. Repeat this process if necessary and remember to take the pan off the heat during testing as over boiling the marmalade will ruin it.
When setting point is reached, return to simmering point, then turn off the heat. Skim with a perforated spoon, stir well and let stand for 20 – 30 minutes for the fruit to settle. Stir and ladle into clean, dry, warm jars and wipe the necks of the jar with a clean, damp cloth if necessary. Seal at once with waxed paper discs and covers.
Let cool, label and store in a cool, dark cupboard until required.
Testing for set
Before you start put a saucer and 2 – 3 teaspoons in the fridge to cool. When the marmalade is ready take it off the heat and using a cold spoon put a teaspoon full in the fridge on the cold saucer and leave for five minutes. After this time push the marmalade with a finger – if it offers resistance or crinkles it is ready, on the other hand if it is still liquid the marmalade needs to be boiled up again.