Canaan’s Mum brought us over a bag of tiny sweet mandarines a few weeks back. The skins were so thin that we knew they would be perfect for a batch of marmalade. We used them in combination with a few oranges and mandarines picked from our own trees. The result is a deliciously sweet and sticky marmalade, with yummy candied chunks of mandarine and orange – perfect on toast, on icecream and in desserts. Unlike most marmalades, this did not turn out very bitter or acidic, likely due to the thin skins and low pith content of the mandarines. Enjoy!
a couple of oranges
- Before you do anything, put a small plate in your fridge to cool. You will need this later on in order to test your jam to see whether it has been cooked sufficiently and will set.
- Chop all of the mandarines and oranges into small, thin slices/chunks.
- Put them in an appropriate sized pot and fill with enough water to just barely cover the fruit.
- Bring to the boil, then cover and allow to simmer for two hours.
- Afterwards, you need to measure how much fruit pulp there is in order to determine how much sugar you’ll need. Pour all your boiled fruit in to a measuring jug of some sort to find out how much you have got. If, for example, you have two litres of pulp, you’ll need two kilos of sugar. If you have 6.4 litres of pulp, you need 6.4 kilos of sugar.
- Return the fruit pulp back to its pot and add the appropriate amount of sugar.
- Cook for about one hour on a rolling boil, stirring constantly to ensure that it does not stick and burn on the bottom.
- About 30 minutes into cooking, you can begin to check how close your marmalade is to reaching the ’set’ stage. The best way to check this is to put a few drips of it on a cold plate. Wait a moment for the drips to cool to the plate temperature and then push your finger along the plate into the drips. If you see any wrinkles form, it has reached the ’set’ stage. If not, continue cooking, and keep testing every 10 minutes to see if any wrinkles form (remember to put your plate back in the fridge after every test!!) Another way you can check if your marmalade has reached the set stage is to look at how it coats the back of the wooden spoon you are using. If you see a good thick coating on the back of the spoon after you have pulled it out of the pot, you are probably close. Keep an eye on the colour of it, too, as it will generally get darker as it gets closer to the set stage.
- Decant while hot into sterilized jars.
- Allow to cool and then cap and label.
Serve liberally on buttery toast, crumpets, as topping on vanilla icecream, in cakes, biscuits, on sconnes and pancakes, and with cheese. Also fantastic when used to baste roasting meats. Enjoy!