Yes, I am back to working with strawberries because they seem to be the only berry on sale lately! What is new is that this is my first marmalade. Not only that, I think I have only eaten marmalade once in my life and man, it was so tart I thought I would never make marmalade myself but curiosity got to me.
When I got a container of strawberries for only $2, for inspiration I turned to We Sure Can! How Jams and Pickles Are Reviving the Lure and Lore of Local Food by Sarah B. Hood, published by Arsenal Pulp Press. I saw this recipe for strawberry lemon marmalade and realized I had no idea you could mix flavours like that when you make marmalade! I thought it was always, well… orange?!
The recipe originally comes from the blog Doris and Jilly Cook. Be forewarned! It takes two days to make.
As usual, I made half the recipe but will write it up here in full. Scrub 4 medium lemons with soapy water to remove wax, pesticides… Slice them as thinly as possible, then chop them into pieces. Put them in a wide pot with a thick bottom. Cover lemons with water and bring to a boil.
I just have to say, the recipe does not mention removing seeds which I did just in case. It also did not say if I should “just cover” with water or generously cover. As a result, I think I added too much water.
Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let pan cool. Cover and let stand overnight.
The next day crush 4 cups of whole strawberries with a potato masher or back of a slotted spoon. Oh these strawberries were so tough! This killed my hands. You really do have to crush them though to release their pectin. Ouch!
Add the strawberries to the lemon mixture.
Add 3 3/4 cups of sugar to the strawberries and lemons. Bring to a full rolling boil that can not be stirred down.
Now it does not say anything about removing the scum/foam but I just had to!
“… continue to boil until it reaches the setting point (watch out, because the lemons have lots of pectin, and the gel stage may arrive rather suddenly!)”
Huh? What will it look like? I need more information! And because I added a lot of water, this process of boiling down felt endless:
Bloody hell, was I ever done! I really needed more information. It drives me crazy when people assume you know what you are doing.
Thankfully I guess that was the “setting point” because when it cooled it got very thick. I did my best to cut the lemons thinly but there were some big chunky pieces that are so super damn sour to eat!
As I said, I do not have a lot of experience with marmalade but Reg said that it was very similar in sourness and texture to the orange marmalade he has had in the past, just with different flavours. I did manage to eat it but man… so crazy sour!!! I think I am more of a jam woman.
Despite the end results, I felt that there could have been more helpful instruction in this recipe to help a novice like me out. I give this recipe three and a half out of five wooden spoons.
BTW, I still have not jarred anything officially yet. Working up my confidence. The extra marmalade was put in the deep freeze for my dad and his wife’s visit next week. Hope they like it!