How hard could it be? To make lime marmalade…
So anyways, you know how I’ve got all these limes?
There’s still more on the tree, but today I’ve been making lime marmalade.
I’m not one of those women who does much of the jam making, preserving sort of thing. It all seems so messy and sticky, but my mother and sister do it all the time so, seriously, I thought to myself, how hard can it be?
For a start it takes preparation. You can’t just wake up one morning and decide to make jam…or marmalade…or whatever.
You need jars.
Luckily I had some- tucked away in the darkest corners of the pantry on the off chance that I ever decided to make jam. I even had enough miss-matched lids. Find more than you think that you’ll need.
Then you have to make sure that the jars and lids are sterilised.
I popped them in the dishwasher at the highest setting and then, while still hot, popped them upside down on a tray in the oven- which I’d pre-heated to 110C. You leave them in there for 15 minutes or so. Just remember that they’ll be hot to handle.
Now for the marmalade itself- you start with 2kgs of limes. This equates to about a million of them. Maybe it just seemed like a million.
I had them bobbing away in warm water overnight- I’m not sure what that’s supposed to do, probably soften the skins or something. Anyways, the recipe said to do it for a few hours, so I did.
You juice each of them and then thinly slice the skins- and I mean thinly slice. This should take most of the day and will leave your fingers and knife gripping hand totally numb. Maybe it just seemed like most of the day…and my fingers are still numb.
Then you find your biggest saucepan- it will probably be the one that you make soup in- and you pop the skins, half the juice and enough water to cover them in there. Don’t worry if it doesn’t seem to take up much space in the pot, when the whole thing bubbles madly later, you’ll need the boiling space.
Simmer them on a relatively low heat until the skins are tender. This should take about an hour.
This gives your hands time to recover.
Now comes the jam bit and the sugar bit. All 2kgs of it- sugar that is. Plonk it in and stir while it dissolves- over medium heat. It shouldn’t boil until after the sugar has disappeared.
Now bring it to the boil and bubble away. This is the technical part of the process. If you have a sugar thermometer, pop it in. If you don’t, it doesn’t matter.
When pectin is combined with sugar and acid – like lemon juice – and boiled to 105C/220F, it forms a suspension that sets as it cools. Cook above that temperature and you might damage the pectin, take the temperature well below that and the pectin might not gel.
I cut and paste that from this BBC site.
It should take about 20mins on a lively boil with the occasional stir.
Test it on a saucer that you’ve thoughtfully popped in the freezer. Tip a teaspoonful of mix onto the saucer, leave it a minute or so and push it gently. If it gels, it’s gelled.
Pour it carefully (with the emphasis on carefully- this stuff is seriously hot) into the still warm jars and seal.