Using my very old tried and tested technique, I took some oranges out of the freezer, weighed them, put them in the pressure cooker whole with the water, and allowed them to thaw overnight. The next day I cooked them, leaving till the third day, when they were removed, cut very finely, the pulp and pips sieved. The remains are then cooked again to extract all the pectin with the remainder of the water. Finally the lemon juice and warmed sugar is added.
After ten minutes or so, the marmalade is ladled into the sterilised jars. Usually I try to design and get the jars stored away in a dark cupboard the following day.
Just before I went on holiday, I spied some delicious looking strawberries in Waitrose, and was amused by their name: Sweet Eve. Even though I ought to have been getting the house ready for our departure, I found time to use the macerating technique.
It was a sunny day, and the conservatory warm and sunny is the ideal spot, but windows and doors needed to remain closed as the wonderful smell would have attracted any late flying wasp in the vicinity. Within a couple of hours, the juices were starting to flow out and dissolve the sugar.
After some packing, I returned to find the concoction ready for the stove.
Just a few small jars, and they had to wait till we got back for the labelling. Last week I was focused on getting all the washing and ironing from the holiday done, and getting ready for my first time as Chairman of Kenilworth in Bloom, as it was our annual prize giving evening.
Finally the jars are labelled up. I decided to call the preserve Eve's Strawberry Jam. I found a detail of a very old recipe, where a few cloves were added to the boiling. I haven't tasted it yet. The recipe was from the times when spices and sugar were really only for the very well off....
As I labelled up the jars, my thoughts turned to a lady I used to work with called Eve. We are no longer in touch, but I have fond memories of her. She was the only lady in the Department who worked Part-time, and whilst we all worked long hours, she seemed to have the work life balance just right. She had time to make jam, biscuits, and knit, and I still have some lovely hand made christmas decorations which she gave me. I've had them for over 15 years now.
I've just posted my views on today's news item that there are threats to the 'home made reuse jam jars ethic' on my main blog.
This year the growing season has been dire in the UK, so I have not had the huge rush to try to preserve excess produce from the garden of friends or from my few fruit trees. I've been buying top quality produce as I see it, and have now a full cupboard ready to distribute.
Since the Apricot & Orange Marmalade, I made the following, some in quite small quantities:
Raspberry Jam, Plum Jam, Nectarine Chutney, Fig Chutney, Beetroot Chutney, Strawberry Jam, Lime Marmalade, More Strawberry Jam, Fig and Orange Conserve, Sweet Eve Strawberry Jam with cloves, and Back to Basics Seville Marmalade.
I've used Organic Seville Oranges from the freezer for this last one. I got so excited when I found Organic Oranges for the first time, that I went a little overboard with my shopping! I compensated for the fact that they were frozen by juicing an additional lemon into the fruit before boiling up with the sugar.
I've just designed new labels for the Marmalade and when the jars have their labels on there will be a full preserve cupboard.