Sunday, August 2, 2009
What is the difference between an English and a Chinese Mandarin Marmalade?
A Singaporean breakfast is deemed to be incomplete without a kaya toast, so is an English breakfast without it's marmalade on toast. It is not difficult to understand why an Englishman loves his marmalade.What's better than the bitter yet caramelised bite of a good orange marmalade on hot buttered toast?
Although English marmalade is traditionally made with oranges, usually with the bitter variety of orange or Seville oranges, as these have high source of pectin and guarantee a good set when cool, I have decided to use a combination of sweet navel oranges and mandarin oranges instead. There is no other reason except that these oranges are in season and can be purchased cheaply in the market. And most important of all, I need the pips from the mandarins to compromise the pectin deficiency of the navel oranges. Before you rush to the market to buy the oranges to start a jamming session in the kitchen, please remember it is a time consuming process as you'll need to start this recipe the day before you want to bottle the marmalade. But let me assure you that even a good store-bought marmalade can never match what can be made at home.
By the way, if you are new to making marmalade or never made jam before, here is a start. You need a large stainless steel pot and big enough not to let the marmalade boils over as it rises high while it boils. Do not fill it more than half full with the ingredients. As well as the pot, you need jam jars, wax papers and labels. Make sure the jars and lids are scrupulously clean or your effort is wasted as the marmalade will spoil.
What you will need:
1kg navel oranges
1kg mandarin oranges
Juice of 2 lemons
31/2 litres water.
(This is a rapid boil - it should 'roll' all over the surface.)
Scrub the oranges and removed the stalk ends. Place the oranges in a large pot with 3 litres of water and bring it up to a gentle simmer. Cover the pot and cook the oranges and cook for 11/2 to 2 hours until they become really soft and tender. Drain the oranges, reserving the liquid and leave the fruits to cool until enough to handle. Cut the navels oranges into four and peel the mandarins and remove and reserve pips (seeds) and piths. Scrap out the flesh and finely chop the mandarins and navels. When the all the fruits has been prepared, place the the pips and pith s into a small sauce pan, add 500ml water and simmer for 15 minutes then strain the liquid into the orange pulp mixture and just leave all of this overnight, loosely covered with a clean tea towel. In the meantime, using a sharp knife shred the peel to the desired thickness and keep aside in a bowl and cling wrapped.
On the following day, strain the orange pulp mixture through a sieve lined with a piece of muslin cloth and leave to drip through. Gather the corners of the muslin and twist it into a ball and then using your hands, squeeze out as much of the juices into a large pot. Add the sugar, shredded peels and a knob of butter to prevent scrum forming and and pour the liquid into the large pot over a low heat. Stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. When all the sugar has melted, but not before, bring the marmalade into a rapid boil - it should 'roll' all over the surface.Stir occasionally and after the marmalade has boiled for 30 minutes test for set.
Test for Setting Point.
Put a spoonful of marmalade on a cold plate and leave for about 10 minutes then push your finger through it and if the marmalade forms a good wrinkle, it is ready. It may be necessary to make several tests, but if you think it is nearly at setting point, turn off the heat while the test is cooling, so the marmalade stops boiling.
When the marmalade is ready, leave it to for 10 to 15 minutes to prevent the peels rising when potted. Have ready enough dry, clean and warm jars and stand them on a thick newspapers but not on metal or marble kitchen bench top as the coldness may crack the hot filled jars. Fill jars with marmalade right to the top. Wipe each jar carefully with a damp cloth to remove any stickiness and cover the tops with a waxed paper. Leave the jars to cool completely, then cover with the Cellophane disc and secure with a string or elastic band. Label and date each jar and store in a coll dry place. The marmalade will thicken as it cools. It will keep unopened, in a cool dark place for three months. Once opened, please keep refrigerate and use within a month.