Issue 93 June 2012
Nothing beats the homely taste of jams and marmalades to start your morning. Make the flavour of summer fruits last with Fatema Zehra’s pick of jam, marmalade and chutney recipes, perfect to accompany a day full of dishes.
500g Seville oranges
50ml lemon juice
1kg white sugar (regular, not with added pectin)
Soft dark brown sugar, optional
Weigh the oranges and make a note of the weight, as this will tell you how much of the other ingredients you’ll need, to ensure the marmalade sets well.
The basic ratio is, both the sugar and the strained liquid from the sliced and simmered oranges should roughly equal twice the weight of the uncooked whole oranges. So if you start with 500 grams of whole oranges, after cooking you want to be left with a litre of liquid once the peels have been strained out, and you need one kilogram of sugar.
Cut the oranges in half and squeeze out the juice, as this makes chopping the peel less messy. Remove any pips from the juice, spoon any remaining pips out of the peel, place them in a teacup and cover with water. Then chop the peel into shreds about 0.25cm across and place these in a bowl with the juice and cover with water. Leave both overnight, as this will help the marmalade set well.
The next day, place the peel and water in a saucepan. Sieve the pips, place their soaking water (which will have jellied slightly) into the saucepan, then tie the pips in muslin and drop this into the pot. Bring to the boil then simmer for two to three hours, topping up with water so that the fruit stays well covered, until the peel is soft when pressed between your fingers. Alternatively, cook in a pressure cooker for about 30 minutes.
Strain the juice from the peel and measure it. Whatever the original weight of fruit was at the beginning, you want about double that in cooking liquid. So if you started with 500 grams of fruit, then try and have roughly a litre of cooking liquid left. If you have more, boil it down in a saucepan to intensify it. If you have less, top it up with water to dilute it.
Then add the sugar (double the weight of the oranges), plus one or two tablespoons of brown sugar if you like to make the colour darker. Add the strained peel, plus 50 millilitres of lemon juice for every 500 grams of uncooked whole oranges used. Bring to the boil, skim off any white froth and pips that rise to the surface, and then boil until the temperature reaches 105°C.
Meanwhile sterilise enough jars in the oven and have the lids washed and ready. When the marmalade reaches 105°C, turn the heat off and leave for 10 minutes. Ladle the marmalade into a jug then pour this carefully into the jars, leaving just a bare 0.5cm gap at the top. Screw the lid on tightly and leave until completely cold.
Summer berry jam
1.8kg mixed summer berries (strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants and a few early blackberries)
1.5kg jam sugar
Juice and pips of 1 lemon
Finger-tip size knob of butter (optional)
The night before you make your jam, layer the berries and sugar together in a very large bowl, then cover and set aside at room temperature. This helps the sugar to start dissolving so you don't run the risk of over-cooking the fruit when you begin to make the jam. The next morning, give everything a quick stir, then set aside again until you are ready to start cooking.
Before you start, put a small saucer in the freezer. Tip the berries, scraping out all juices and any undissolved sugar, into a preserving pan, or a large, wide-based pan. Stir in the lemon juice, then collect all the pips and secure them inside a tea-leaf strainer or piece of muslin before adding to the pan. Cooking the pips along with the fruit extracts the pectin they contain, helping your jam to set.
Start the berries over a low heat until all the sugar is completely dissolved, then bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and spoon a little hot syrupy jam onto the chilled saucer to check if it has reached its setting point (refer to Jam Tips)
Skim off any excess scum, and then stir in the knob of butter. This will help to dissolve any remaining scum. Leave the jam for 15 minutes before ladling into sterilised jars. This allows the fruit to settle so it doesn't sink to the bottom. The jam will keep in a cool, dark place for at least 6 months. Refrigerate jars once opened.