Saturday, March 18, 2017

Small Batches

The first day of spring arrives in two days and already we're seeing a change to the fruits and veggies offered in our Talley Farms Fresh Harvest produce box. Our winter citrus - blood oranges and pink Cara Cara oranges - are being replaced by blueberries, asparagus, and English peas.

The sweet Cara Cara gets eaten right away but the blood oranges seem to accumulate in the refrigerator's produce bin. The blood oranges have a surprisingly dark red color, very exotic, but too sour for our taste. I find them to be more ornamental than edible (though I've read they make a lovely cocktail).

I decided to sweeten things up by making Blood Orange Marmalade.

I read several different citrus marmalade recipes and tried to find the easiest one to process the fruit. I'm not sure I found the easiest way but in the end I used my favorite Kuhn Rikon vegetable peeler to nick off pieces of zest, cut away the bitter white pith, and then cut the fruit out of the membrane (supreme). Learning to supreme the fruit was a new-to-me cooking technique and it made me feel so Martha Stewart.

All the recipes called for collecting the seeds and white fibery pith, gathering it in cheesecloth, and making a pectin bag so you don't have to add commercial pectin. I took a pass on that process and instead used Pomona's Universal Pectin. The enclosed recipe in the box called for 3 cups of sugar. (In comparison, my Christmas Orange Marmalade required 9 cups of sugar with the box of Ball commercial pectin.)

The instructions for the Water Bath canning method are followed exactly as written.

Our friend Jerry brought over Meyer lemons so they got chopped up as well.

Unfortunately two Meyer Lemon jars broke in the Water Bath canning process.

It took me two full days to make the Blood Orange and Meyer Lemon Marmalade. The Man commented that I could probably buy the same type of jam at Trader Joe's.

Of course he's right. But.

Behold! A taste of our winter, captured in glass jars.