I was going to say that marmalade is "in the air." Fortunately for those who might be considering a turn outdoors, it is not. But it seems to be all over the internet of late, and it's been looking pretty good to me. Plus, there's something about the almost spring-like weather today that is giving me a craving for all things citrus, allied in my mind to a longing for sunshine. So I thought I'd make me some.
I was going to try Kimberly's pretty ruby red grapefruit marmalade-I love grapefruit marmalade, and it is particularly attractive stuff in her row of little jelly jars. Sadly, the pink and red grapefruits at the Iggle this week were looking tired and wan. So, I bought some kumquats (about 3/4 lb), a couple of meyer lemons, and a couple of blood oranges, and made the "other pink marmalade" you see before you.
I am quite pleased with myself-this is my first no-recipe-at-all preserve, and it is really tasty. I only made 5 jars-one of which is double-sized. I didn't seal the big one-but put it in the fridge for early consumption purposes. Which is how I know it is so--o good, and also how I know it is properly jelled. Not too loose, not too stiff, and especially not too sweet..important, in my book, for marmalade. My insurance policy on the jelling front was the very last jar of green apple pectin jelly I made from windfall apples last summer.
The unripe apple jelly lets me make preserves with low-pectin fruits, without adding sickening amounts of sugar or any commercial pectin. I am definitely making more pectin jelly next year; it is well worth dealing with the dripping jelly bags for a day or so. I can't really set out the exact recipe for the marmalade- I was feeling very devil-make-care- and going with the flow. If anyone would like to make their own, let me know, and I'll try to reconstruct..
You could, no doubt, use some commercial "low sugar" style pectin in place of the green apple jelly. Turns out that kumquats make a very nice marmalade. They are pretty bitter, more so than grapefruit- like the classic Seville marmalade oranges, in fact-but with their own nice flavor. The pink, of course, is from the blood oranges, which also look fetching sitting on the counter, whole. The texture and the rosy blush make each look like a little Cezanne unto itself.
I made sure to boil the pulp and peels until they were pretty tender before adding the sugar and jelly, as the last batch of marmalade I made (some months ago) was a bit chewy. I thought it would be nice to leave the tiny kumquat slices in little circles, thinking that could be pretty, but I'm not at all sure you can even tell, unless you know already. I gave myself a blister slicing those tough little guys in thin , thin circles, but I do love my pretty, refreshing kumquat and blood orange marmalade, K.B.O. on the labels.
Cheered me right up.