Lemon Marmalade

Bitter Orange Marmalade made with Seville Oranges is one of life’s truly great pleasures. The intensity of the orange, the bitter-sweet finish that mixes with melted butter on good toast is something that could inspire sonnets.

Tempting Bite!

So humbly, I go into making a marmalade from the abundance of lemons in my kitchen. It is worth noticing that some recipes ask for the white pith to be removed, some include the entire lemon, some just peel and lots of interesting versions in between.

The main ratio you want to have for making a lovely marmalade is 1 part water: 1 part citrus fruit:  1 part sugar

All ingredients are equal parts and there are only three ingredients. Water, fruit and sugar. Simple recipe, right?

Armed with this knowledge, you can make as much or as little as you like. For me, I’ll make at least 4 pints and put it into 1/2 pint jars.

This makes a good gift and the holidays are just around the corner.

Lemon Marmalade

Remember the ratio

  • 1:1:1
  • Water
  • Lemons
  • Sugar

Wash and soak the lemons for at least 30 minutes. Scrub them gently.

Remove the zest using a 5-hole zester or a sharp knife. The best appearance comes from cutting thin strips of the peeling.

Peeled lemons. Sometime the citrus will have a thick pith between the zest and the fruit. Remove the peel, cut the pith away just as you would to remove the peeling for sectioning citrus. Refer to the “Related Article” below.

Pile the strips to cut into fine strips. Notice how much of the pith left on the peels. This will ensure a desirable bit of bitterness. This adds so much to the complexity of flavors involved in a great marmalade.

Cut the fruit into quarters; remove the core and slip out all the seeds. Reserve core and seeds in a bowl; chop the fruit and place it into another bowl. Try to reserve as much juice as you can.

Measure chopped fruit and sliced peel to determine how much water and sugar are needed. Remember equal parts of all three.

Here you have the chopped seedless fruit, the sliced zest and the trimmings from seed removal in separate bowls. Place all of the trimmings into a cheesecloth, tie it and put into the pot to cook with the fruit, water and sugar. You will want to remove it after cooking. Add the same amount of water, sugar. and the fruit and peel to a deep heavy bottomed pot.

Bring to a boil, stirring to prevent sticking and burning.

Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to an active simmer. Place your thermometer into the mixture and let it simmer until it reaches 220°F.

Remove from heat. Please be careful handling this as it is hot melted sugar and can really cause a nasty burn. Keep a small bowl of ice water near to dip your hand into just in case it splashes.

Fill sterilized jars with the hot marmalade, place the lids on and flip them upside down to cool. This will seal the jar.

Cooling jars upside down will seal them or you can use traditional canning methods.

I use small 1/2 pint jars so I can have extra to take along with me when ever I need a small gift. These are also great office gifts and hostess gifts too.

When the Keller family of  Dundee Scotland started making Bitter Orange Marmalade, they bought a lot of oranges from Spain they thought were sweet. Upon the discovery of the oranges being bitter, Mrs. Keller took them into her kitchen and boiled them with water and sugar to make what became the wildly popular “Bitter Orange Marmalade”.

In my opinion the best marmalade is full of fruit and peel with that lovely bitter element tucked into the sweet flavor.

California made marmalade is made with sweet oranges therefore does not have that bitter bite marmalade fans enjoy.

Lemon Marmalade

When buying or making marmalade you can get the fruit just the way you like it. I like it full of chunked fruit with lots of peel. You can make it (and buy it) with just peel too.

Making marmalade is easy as long as you have time and a candy thermometer. Besides, there is something quite satisfying to see a line of nice glistening jars all full of  lovely marmalade that you made.

It makes you feel as if you can do anything.

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In My Kitchen October 2012

I went to the new posts reader this morning and saw Celia’s new “In My Kitchen ” post  at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial and was shocked at how fast time has flown by.

Yikes! It has been over 2 weeks since I have posted anything. Guess when life gets busy, things slip by without realizing how much time has slipped by unnoticed.

turnips

turnips (Photo credit: hagerstenguy)

In my kitchen were 5#’s of fresh turnips and radishes which are being turned into Pickled Turnips. The recipe came from David Lebovitz a while back. As much as I love turnips and radishes, the recipe intrigued me, so I had to try them and fell in love immediately. A post with the recipe is in the works.

Pickled Turnips

In my kitchen is a big basket of lemons and some limes. Robert uses the limes in his drinks so I need to come up with some ways of using all these lemons we over bought. So I am planning to make lemon curd, preserved lemons, lemonade, dried zest, maybe some lemon vinegar and emulsified lemon oil and Chicken Piccata.

A Basket of Lemons

Right now, they are just a basket of lemons.

I bought a lemon squeezer just because.

Lemon Squeezer

In my kitchen is a new pan! I love this new square pan from All-Clad. I am sure they call it a griddle but I sure do like it. I have used it everyday since I got it.

Square Pan

In my kitchen is my levian. It was kept in the fridge all summer. Now that the weather is cooling down, it can come back out and hang out at room temperature. It will develop a deep rich flavor this way. Typically I make bread every week. I think September was a time warp because I didn’t make bread but once, maybe twice. And now October is also flying by. Can time be measured accurately by a levain life cycle? if so, I should read and listen to what it is telling me.

A Bowl of Levain

I have two buckwheat loaves in the oven. Next is a 10-grain loaf and an olive loaf with lemon and rosemary. I look forward to making that one!

Tyler gets to move back into his apartment next weekend so he will be cooking again. The “How To . . .” posts will start back again soon.

And there is another White Dinner Event on October 27 and classes resume again soon. Is it true that time speeds up as you get older? Is it time to write the November IMK already?!

A Southern Staple: Simple Syrup

Bottle of simple syrup

This basic southern staple, simple syrup, is a must have in any kitchen or bar.

This style of syrup is used all over the world for lots of things, not just in the south.

It is, however the secret to true southern iced tea.

Simple syrup is easy and quick to make and there are endless ways to use it in the kitchen and bar.

Basic Simple Syrup

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water, enough to cover the sugar by 1/2 inch.
  • 3-4 drops lemon juice

Put sugar in a sauce pot

Add water to cover sugar by 1/2 inch; add 2-3 drops of lemon juice, stir

Bring to a boil; boil for 1-2 minutes

Place a ‘sign or symbol’ to signify pot is hot;
Put the pot away from accidents to cool

Method:

Put the sugar in a sauce pot, add water to cover the sugar by 1/2 inch. Stir well.

Place the pot over high heat; add the lemon juice and bring to a boil.

Stir, not constantly, but often enough to prevent scorching on the bottom.

Once the mixture comes to a boil, the sugar will turn clear. Allow to boil for 1-2 minutes, turn off.

Cool the mixture before transferring to a jar or bottle.

While the sugar syrup is cooling, put some kind of “sign or symbol” on the  handle so others know the pot and contents are hot and to leave the pot alone.

Use caution and place the pot well to the back of the stove out of harms way.

Sugar burns are very nasty and go really deep. Avoid at all costs, especially around children.

The syrup is shelf stable. Keep it handy to sweeten iced tea, lemonade, tea or coffee, use it over fresh fruit, in meringues, or even in marinades and specialty bar drinks.

You can infuse flavors into simple syrup, add a vanilla pod, lemon, lime or orange zest, fruit puree, basil, lavender, or mint for a few ideas. Be sure to strain the flavor elements out before using. The vanilla pods or herb leaves do look nice in the bottle.

My favorite way to use this syrup is to splash some into iced tea and top with a lemon wedge.

The perfect thirst quencher!

Iced Tea and Simple Syrup

Glazed Lemon Shortbread

Glazed Lemon Shortbread

My son loves these. He is going back to school soon and when he gets there, a box of these sweet treats from home will be waiting.

This twist on traditional shortbread adds fresh lemon zest in the mix and fresh lemon juice in the glaze. One secret is to use a very fine microplane on the fruit so the zest is very fine.

If you like the lemon version, branch out and try making them with orange, or lime or tangerine or grapefruit. Kumquat maybe?

The amazing part of good shortbread is how they just melt in your mouth. Then take a nice sip of tea. Sit back and enjoy.

There are several pictures at the end of the post, so scroll down.

Glazed Lemon Squares

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar (10x)
  • Zest from 1/2 lemon (Use the other half in the glaze)
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Using a mixer on high-speed, cream butter,  10x sugar, zest and vanilla 3-4 minutes; until light and fluffy.

While the butter and sugar are creaming, measure and mix the flour and salt into a bowl.

Scrape down the bowl.

On low-speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar.

Mix only until the mixture comes together and resembles crumbs.

Do not over mix! Over mixing will develop the gluten in the flour and give you a ‘tough cookie’ rather than a tender one.

Transfer the dough to a non-stick 9 x 12 cake pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and pat the dough evenly into the pan.

Place in the refrigerator or freezer until the dough becomes thoroughly chilled.

Traditionally, you can prick the shortbread with a fork for decoration. You can choose not to.

If, for some reason, you get a wild hair on and decide to add baking powder to the mix, I would strongly suggest you do prick the dough to prevent bubbles and warping.

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Clean up the kitchen.

Once the dough is chilled, place it in the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until the edges are just beginning to turn golden brown. The shortbread will remain pale.

Remove from oven and cool on a rack.

Cut the shortbread while still warm. You get a cleaner cut edge.

Once cooled; remove the cut shortbread and put them on a rack which is placed over a clean sheet pan.

Make the glaze just before you are going to pour it over the cookies.

Be sure the cookies are completely cool so the glaze does not run or melt off.

Randomly pour the glaze. You can do it randomly or evenly, which ever you prefer.

DO NOT spread the glaze as the cookies are crumbly and you will not have a smooth glaze. If you make a lot of glaze you can cover them and decorate them like petit fours.

I like to sprinkle a fine touch of finely ground fleur de sel on the top of the shortbread cookies.

Sweet, tart, salty, smooth. . .

To make the Lemon Glaze:

  • Zest from the other half of the lemon used in the mix
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar (10x)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

Sift the sugar to ensure no lumps.

Add the zest, stir it in and then add the juice. Mix until smooth with a fork. Whisking will add too many bubbles.

Pour over cooled shortbread cookies.

Allow glaze to dry about an hour longer before storing.

Use a fine Microplane to zest the fruit

Cream butter and sugar. Don't forget to scrape down the bowl sides.

Add flour; mix only until combined

Cover with plastic, pat evenly into pan. Chill.

Cut while still warm for a clean edge.

Place on a rack and glaze