Saturday, February 9, 2008

Smarmy Marms

"Marmalade in the morning has the same effect on the taste buds that a cold shower has on the body."
- Jeanine Larmoth, whoever she is

Few things can match the simple loveliness of sunshine as it passes through a jar of marmalade. This is especially true if you have just gotten drunk off said marmalade.

Orange Whiskey Marmalade
Thanks to: "Irish Puddings, Tarts, Crumbles and Fools" by Margaret M. Johnson

4 large oranges
2 large or 3 small lemons
2 1/2 cups water
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
One 1 3/4 -ounce package powdered fruit pectin
5 1/2 cups sugar
Pinch of ground cloves
1/4 cup Irish whiskey

Before making the marmalade, prepare the jars, lids, and bands for canning.

With a vegetable peeler or zester, remove the zest (the colored part of the peel) in strips from the oranges and lemons and chop. With a knife, scrape off all the white membrane, or pith, from the peeled fruit. Set aside. Chop the fruit, reserving the juice and removing the seeds.

In a large, nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, bring the zest, water and baking soda to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer, stirring several times, for 20 minutes, or until the zest begins to soften. Add the fruit, juice and pectin, and simmer for 20 minutes longer. Stir in the sugar, raise the heat to medium-high, add the cloves and bring to a boil. Continue to boil, stirring constantly, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture reaches 220 degrees on an instead-read thermometer and begins to get syrupy. Stir in the whiskey.

Immediately spoon the hot marmalade into the hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headroom at the top of the jars. Wipe the rims clean, seal with lids and bands, and store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year. (Marmalade thickens as it cools, but it may take 2 to 3 days to fully set.) Makes 4 pints.

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