Winter is my favorite season for many reasons. Sweaters being one. Tea and warm drinks being another. And yet a third is citrus! I think mother nature knew how tough she was being on us earth dwellers when she created winter and thought "well, I should give them something to perk them up amongst all that snow and cold!" And thus, we have winter citrus!
To make the most of the vast quantities of grapefruits, lemons and oranges I've been keeping around the house this month, I decided to do a little winter canning. Luckily, Food in Jars (one of my favorite foodie blogs) happened to have a post on a delightful Three Citrus Marmalade.
Recipe in hand, I went about painstakingly peeling the zest from the fruit, then removing the piths, then supreming each piece of fruit. Not easy, let me tell you.
Everything was going according to plan until I reached, um, the first step. My zest was not steeping properly! Trying to be patient, I gave it some more time in the pot and my liquid, instead of remaining at 6 cups (since I added 6 cups of water to the zest) actually only resulted in 4 cups. How exactly I went negative at this point alluded me. Then I realized I probably cut the zest too thick - I included too much pith which actually absorbed the liquid rather than just flavor it! Step 1 = FAIL.
Well, this put me on a foul course for the rest of my canning session. Rather than the recommended 30-40 minute reducing period, I needed to leave my final marmalade mixture on the heat for over an hour and still didn't meet the "sticky test requirements" the recipe provides. Alas, this was the night of friends coming over for Couscous so I ran out of time when they arrived and just said the hell with it and put it in jars.
My marmalade is definitely not as thick as it should be, but I think with a few months on the shelf it will firm up quite a bit. Alas, a canning disaster. But it looks pretty, right? Sometimes pretty is more than enough.