Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Grapefruit Marmalade

Today, I made Grapefruit Marmalade. Let me just say, right here, that I have never been much of a hand with jams and jellies. Basically the stuff never jells. I end up with berries in sugar syrup. And today was not, unfortunately, the exception to the rule. I measured the mixture, and found that I had 18 cups of water/fruit solution. I added one cup of sugar for each cup of solution. I boiled. And nothing happened.
What was supposed to happen was, the stuff would thicken, after ten minutes of boiling. I would be able to tell it was thickening because, when I scooped up a spoonful and let it cool, it would converge into one big glop in the middle of the spoon. Before it was ready, it would come down in two separate streams.
I found these instructions singularly unhelpful, since my solution was not coming down in two separate streams. It was coming down in one drip in the middle of the spoon. I suggest that anyone interested in doing this consult The Joy of Cooking, which has a full page on making jam, and a helpful diagram. The diagram shows gloppy looking jam on a spoon, coming off the spoon in two streams, and then coming off the spoon in one cohesive mass.
I consulted the Internet. The postings that I looked at had less information than my cookbook, although one of them had a chart indicating that this stuff should jell in 20 minutes. So after I had let it boil for more than a half an hour, I started pouring it into its sterilized jars. It looked beautiful, a lovely clear orange substance (liquid, let's be honest.) But it poured into the jars like water. Well, thought I as I poured melted parafin onto the liquid in the jars, perhaps it will jell as it sits.
Then I trudged off through the snow to get my hair cut. When I came back, four hours later, the solution in the jars was still liquid. And will probably stay that way. I have 16 jars of grapefruit, orange and lemon bits in sugar water. The Berkshire Farmer's husband suggests boiling the contents of each jar as it is opened and mixing it with corn starch. He also produced a memorable quote on eating. "Almost everything is available. Whether or not anyone wants to eat it is a separate matter." This could be the motto for this blog.

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