Easy and sharp Three Fruit Marmalade
Some few years back when I had a source for Seville oranges for two years, my very much better half made a staggering quantity of marmalade and the quality was outstanding. After not having a Seville orange source, the idea was quietly forgotten and Frank Cooper's Oxford Marmalade became the mainstay. Then, in February, I stayed with some friends in Patras, Greece and not having much luggage brought back some kilos of amazing citrus that was literally falling of the trees in the back garden. With such a prize, I was anxious to preserve these gems of amazing flavour, however, my better half complained that the process was too long and complicated. Having a decent quantity of Greek sage honey, I used my citrus up raw and dropped the subject.
Recently I have mentioned Lama in Salmiya and their comparable citrus that is not waxed and while my former colleagues garden was the ultimate, at least a very respectable source of oranges and lemons. Enter stage left, a friend of the family with this relatively painless marmalade recipe and not dependent on the almost impossible to obtain Seville oranges. It needs planning ahead, the soaking takes time, but does not need constant attention. Also the result is (for me) nice and sharp, a quality I love in citrus. Clearly if one wishes a sweeter result one can up the sugar quantity and change the soaking more frequently than written below.
Jars of course need to be sterilised well and when cooled, frozen. When filling the jars with the marmalade, the marmalade needs to be at room temperature not to explode the jars.
In a way, it was fitting that the recipe came from an Egyptian as one wonders who invented it first. Research suggests the Romans learned the technique from the Greeks and in classical times as all through history, the Mediterranean has been very much a melting pot of civilisations with a shared culinary history in many ways. It has to be pointed out that the classical ‘marmalades’ were quince and honey concoctions; the Greek word being μελίμηλον (melimēlon, "honey fruit"). In any way marmalade has had a rich history that continues.
6 shredded grapefruit skins
8 shredded orange skins
1 kg shredded lemons
1 kg sugar
Juice of 2 grapefruits
Soak grapefruit skin for 24 hours, changing the water at the 24 hr. mark and adding the orange and lemon skins for an additional 24 hrs. If a sweeter version is desired changing the water more frequently will diminish the sharpness. The water should cover the skins. When the 48 hours are up, place in a pan with the sugar at medium heat and let boil. When boiled take down the heat and stir occasionally in a 4 hour window 4 hrs – the longer it cooks, the thicker the marmalade will be. 4 hours is a useful marker. For the first time it is good to test the result as cookers/pans and fruit will vary.
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