27 November 2015

Spicy Orange-Berry Marmalade

                Of all the jams I have had in my lifetime, my favourite is the Orange Marmalade. I have been wanting to try it out for a long time now, and seeing oranges in all shapes, sizes and prices everywhere, I finally decided to go for it... .
As a variation, I added some blueberries in. Unfortunately I didnt have a good stock of fresh ginger, else would have added that in too....

Ingredients : (yields about 800 gms)

Oranges (un-peeled) - 3 medium
Blueberries/Strawberries - 1/2 cup
Water - 1.5 cups
Sugar - 1 cup
Ginger - 2 inches piece (optional)
Cinnamon powder - 1 tsp (optional)
Clove powder - 1 tsp (optional)
Juice of 1 lemon

Method :

1. Peel the oranges, de-seed, remove the white membrane, fibre and chop into small pieces. Gently scrape off the fibre from the peel and chop into small slivers. Keep aside. 
Some prefer chopping the fruits as is without peeling or removing the pith. Pith adds extra bitterness, so absolutely OK to follow that method too. I like it this way :)
If using frozen blueberries, thaw the required amount of berries and re-store the remaining in the fridge. Chop the Strawberries if using them.

2. Place 2 small steel plates in the fridge. This will  be used to check the jam consistency later. 2 plates because if you need to check 2-3 times, then the same plate returned to the fridge might not be cold enough for the next check. Best to alternate to get a good result.

3. Add water to a thick bottomed wok or kadhai alongwith the chopped oranges, peel and berries. Bring to a boil on medium heat. This should take about 30 minutes. Check by squishing an orange peel to see if it's tender. If need be, use a masher to gently mash the fruits. Do this on low heat and take care not to scald oneself.

4. Now add the sugar and let boil again on medium heat, stirring occasionally till the mixture starts to thicken. 

5. Grind (with about 1-2 tsp water) or finely grate ginger. You can either use the extract or the grated ginger as is. 

6. Take out a plate from the fridge and put a drop of the mixture on it, leave for a minute. If it's too runny, continue to cook. If it starts to solidify after a minute and you can roll it up like jelly, then we are good and the heat can be turned off. 
It may still look runny, but due to the presence of sugar, the jam will thicken further when it starts cooling down. 
Note: If you continue boiling because it's runny, you risk caramelising the sugar.

7. Add grated/ground ginger or ginger extract along with the cinnamon powder and clove powder and stir well. Simmer for few minutes more. Do not boil too much after adding the spices as it will lose the flavour.

8. After removing from the fire, add the lemon juice and stir well. Lemon juice not only helps the jam set better, it's a great natural anti-bacterial preservative as well.

9. Now leave to cool at room temperature, if you've made a large quantity, give it a good 24 hours. You will notice the marmalade thickening with time. Store in a clean bottle, best refrigerated for longer shelf life.


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