Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cucumber Marmalade

After I  made the  Winchester Center  Bread and Butter pickles, I was faced with another dilemma , vis , what to do with the rest of my baseball  bat sized friends. The obvious solution was cucumber marmalade.  Cucumber marmalade is one of these recipes that grew out of an abundance of something; clams,  avocados,  carrots, anything. Especially when you think  back to the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, when oranges were so rare for most people that  children received them in their stockings at Christmas, making marmalade of whatever came to hand made a lot of sense.                                                      
As  a result , the Northeast section of the cookbook has  recipes for carrot  marmalade,  cucumber marmalade, lime marmalade (see  April 2010 for that one) , quince marmalade and tomato marmalade.  The  Midwest weighs in with recipes for rhubarb marmalade and tomato marmalade.So, you get the gist.  Mid  20th Century home canners and their mothers could make marmalade out of nearly anything in the vegetable line. If cucumber seems to be a peculiar flavor for  your  morning  toast, fear  not. What this mostly tastes like and looks like is lemon  marmalade. It has 2 tablespoons of grated lemon rind and a third of a cup of lemon juice. Cucumbers just provide bulk.
This is actually a great recipe.  Those of you who remember my struggles with marmalade  at the  beginning of the blog will appreciate the fact that this recipe can  be made as written.  The author did not omit the words "for two  more hours" after  boil until thick. It says  boil for one minute, and it means boil for  one minute. Part  of that I believe is due to the  pectin.
Pectin, according to our Wikipedia  friends, comes from the Greek word meaning "partially congealed." It is made from citrus fruits and  used to thicken jams and jellies. I had actually never used it  before, thus my struggles with getting jelly to jell. The stuff is a failed jelly makers dream. Just sprinkle it in and bingo, congealment occurs.

 Cucumber  Marmalade

1 1/2  pounds cucumbers peeled,seeded,  and chopped finely or ground (two cups) (Use the food processor.)
 4 cups of sugar
 2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
1/3 cup  lemon juice
 yellow food coloring
1/2 bottle fruit pectin

1. Place the cucumber pulp   in a  large saucepan . Stir  in the sugar,   lemon rind, lemon  juice and a few drops of   food coloring and mix well.
2.   Place over high  heat  and  bring to a full rolling  boil. Boil  hard  one  minute , stirring   constantly .
3.  Re move from heat  and  immediately stir in the pectin. With a metal spoon,skim off foam . Stir and skim for five minutes to coll slightly and prevent floating cucumber. (If  you wish to enter  your jams and jellies in contests at the county fair ,  I have it on excellent authority that floating fruit is a very bad thing.)
4. Ladle into  hot sterilized jelly glasses and cover with one-eighth inch of  hot paraffin wax.  Coo l , cover and store in a cool,dark dry  place.                          
Makes six  half pints.           

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