Monday, January 30, 2012

The success of failure

Having moved into my grandparents' home has presented the whole family with a plethora of new opportunities.  I've begun to experiment with canning, as an abundance of freshly grown fruit and vegetables right on our property lends itself to this endeavor.  Recent successes have include spicy frog balls (aka pickled Brussels sprouts), candied and bread and butter pickle jalapenos, green tomato relish, spicy dilly beans and others.

Flush with success, I dove into a bit of jam making, by way of Kumquat-Tangerine Marmalade.  Using the recipe taken from Drick's Rambling Cafe, I followed all of the directions strictly.  The long overnight steep that was supposed to extract the natural pectin form the citrus apparently failed to meet the gelling needs of my marmalade.  So, I have 10 - 12oz jars of delicious citrus syrup.  Having recently read through local food blogger Brandon Matzek's post on blackberry shrub, I think that's where my flopped marmalade is headed for.  A straining, maybe some sherry vinegar to fortify, and into tasty tonic water drinks.

So, while I peruse the interwebs for a pectin based marmalade that I can mold into the target I had in mind earlier, I will do so with a tasty drink in hand.

At least it looks pretty!

Edit: After some deeper perusal of available resources, I realized that I may have simply failed to allow the pectin sufficient time to develop.  I depressurized one of my jars of syrup and reintroduced it to a sauce pan and let it slow boil, with intermittent "fridge tests" of the syrup.  To fridge test, put a spoonful of syrup on a plate and place in the fridge.  If it comes to room temperature(ish) and is still runny, continue to cook.  If it gels and sets, it's ready to go.

My single jar sample was about a half jar sample by the time the balance of liquid to pectin was right for a set.  Result, a half jar of golden refrigerator marmalade.  I'll be saving some syrup for my drinks (delicious with a splash of sherry vinegar), and reclaiming the rest to their intended goal.