January 2017: #fijchallenge Marmalade

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For those who don't know me very well, I am a canner.  I have more cookbooks on canning than any other subject.  I have those little rings just about everywhere.  I have cans, or rather, jars. I subscribe to canning blogs. I have jars of goods that I have made that I will never eat. (Note to self: distribute!) I compulsively purchase food for consumptions, and in theory, preservation purposes. I look longing at all the different types of jars though I only use #BallJars in my processing. Constantly pricing out new equipment for new things to use. I avoid some stores because I would compulsively purchase things "I need" for processing. (Another note to self: check out new thermometer and new stainless cookware for next christmas.) Reading and research, near and abroad, articles and books on canning. Tips are awesome and listen to for fun.  The art, the process, the chemistry, the taste, the self-reliance, the fun, and the smells.  I love canning. 

While reading one of my favorite blogs, Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan, she posted a Mastery Challenge for the this year.  It's "a year-long food preservation mastery challenge. Each month brings a different skill on which to focus and explore!" No hesitation from this girl and I signed up! After I signed up I noticed that January's challenge skill was, gulp, marmalade.  One of many achilles heals I have in canning. (How many legs did Achilles have? Was Achilles a centipede?) I have never pushed or tempted myself to make marmalade before. No time like the present to try something new. So I did. 

Marmalade Queen times 3:
lemon, tangerine, and pink grapefruit
Marisa was kind enough to provide plenty of tips and tools for making this citrus goo.  So with knowledge and research in hand, tools added to the arsenal, and fruit in hand I started my quest: learn to make marmalade. 

One of the things I believe is with new things you need to try it three times.  First time to try it, second time to see if the first time was right, and the third to confirm the finding of tries one and two.  I ended up making three types of marmalade. Two time with whole fruit and a third as a citrus jam marmalade. all in two days!

I feel that I can say that Marmalade is no longer a mystery or difficult to make. AND I now enjoy eating it too! 

A week later I made another batch of Pink Grapefruit Marmalade. It came out perfect!  So tangy and sweet, plus it was perfect texture and flavor.  Then a week later I made a Lemon-lemon-lime.  I really like the tang of the lime with the lemon, and I got to practice making a pectin bag. 

I feel that I can say that Marmalade is no longer a mystery or difficult to make. AND  now enjoy eating it too! 

Things I Learned: 

  • Measuring is good, measuring by correct method is better.  Fluids have a different point of gravity, and mass measurements.  So if I am measuring liquids I need to measure by fluid ounces when preparing fluids with dry measurements. 
  • Buy the tools you need to do the job right I had only measuring cups in the beginning of this challenge.  I quickly realized that I needed a food scale.  I hemmed and hawed about spending the money but in the long run it helped my marmalades to come out right. 
  • Pectin bags are easy to make and it's a good thing to have cheesecloth on hand.  I balked about the price of cheese cloth initially.  Then I considered the cost of pectin, measuring it and other issues of adding pectin.  Making a bag with cheese cloth with the pith and seeds of lemons is totally doable!