I recently signed up for an interesting year long challenge on www.foodinjars.com. It is a website about canning and canning jars. In the challenge we have a subject each month to explore and for January it is marmalade. I have never made marmalade, but I’ve been canning jelly, jam, and preserves since I was a kid. I was really excited and early on looked at an Alton Brown video to get a recipe and tips.
Well, as life would have it I spent the first part of January trying to keep up with life while suffering with a lower and an upper respiratory infection. I’m still not fully well. The second part of the month I was getting ready to go on a trip while still suffering from the infection.
I was really getting bummed because I was so looking forward to this challenge. Then one night in a moment of clarity amidst the stupor of my illness I thought “I could do this in the bread machine.”
Of course, my first thought would be that it would be cheating, but I gave myself permission to explore it. I realized that I have so much experience with regular jelly making and canning that doing it in the bread machine would actually be a new challenge, so I did it. The recipe I found was from someone outside the US so I also got to experiment with measuring by weight rather than by volume.
I used mandarin oranges because that was all I had. I used the whole fruit. I tried to slice it with my mandolin slicer, but mandarins are so soft it just smashed it. I ended up crushing the fruit by hand and then chopping the peel. I was concerned that since the mandarins are so small that the proportion of peel to fruit would make it bitter so I used a little less peel.
It ended up being pretty simple after that. I put the fruit and the sugar in the bread pan and set it on the jam setting. For my machine it was one hour and five minutes. The blogger whose recipe I followed said hers didn’t set the first time so she ran it a second time and it worked. The same was true for me. I’m not sure the reason.
It turned out kind of bitter, but it seems like others online said that was true for marmalade. I’ve only had commercial marmalade and that is really sweet. I never eat bitter stuff. An herbalist once told me that eating bitter things is important for our health. That’s the extent of my knowledge. Who knows if marmalade counts in that scenario.
All in all I liked the process. It was simple and great for a small batch situation. It only produced a pint, but there was plenty more room in the pan so I might try more next time. I think I will utilize this method again when I have some leftover fruit I need to use up or for when the garden fruit is not producing enough to warrant a big canning job. It’s nice and practical, but not as fun as making a full batch of jelly.
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