Jen here! I guess we’ve all taken a break this summer and have been busy doing whatever it is that we’ve been doing. Actually Amanda and Erika have been busy mommies with new little ones, and I’ve been a busy mommy with my bigger ones. But, since we took the summer off from school (even though we’re homeschooling, it’s easier for us to follow the public school schedule right now), I made a lot of preserves, jams and marmalades.
I remember reading cookbooks and dreaming about making marmalade someday, but it always seemed too bothersome. (Don’t you read cookbooks and dream about cooking the recipes? I often judge a cookbook by its readability: Can I read it for pleasure, before bed?) Once I learned how to make jam last summer, amazing marmalade doors have been opened. I realized that I didn’t have to find Seville Oranges and do tricky things that required lots of time and fiddling.
Right now, I have multiple marmalades on my shelves.
I have orange marmalade from Alton Brown’s recipe that’s more like wonderful orange candy in a jar, than anything else.
I made a Meyer lemon marmalade that took advantage of the lovely Meyer lemons that grow beautifully in my parents’ and my in-laws’ backyards.
After my mom stayed with us this spring, I had a Costco bag of limes left in my fridge and made lime marmalade (this isn’t the blog I found before, but the technique is the same – quick and easy – using the food processor for it all).
I also have blueberry orange marmalade (this recipe is from The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard),
peach marmalade (we have a productive peach tree in our backyard); and
cherry marmalade (this recipe is from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving edited by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine). This cherry marmalade is my hands-down favorite.
I’m sure that I will try many more kinds of marmalade and fruit and time allow. (As defined in my Small-Batch Preserving book, a “marmalade is a jam made from citrus fruit. Marmalades generally do not have pectin added since citrus rinds and seeds contain enough pectin to form a soft gel.”)
But, as any jam-making addict knows, you end up with surplus. You can’t possibly eat all you’ve canned, but you want to make more. (This three citrus marmalade sounds really wonderful. Do I have room on my shelves for more?) So, I’m working on finding ways to consume my jams in creative ways. Amanda already suggested stirring into yogurt, which is a wonderful suggestion, if I start eating yogurt on a regular basis. I’m sure I can add them to smoothies, once I start eating those again. Yes, I do put them on toast, but I don’t have time or appetite to eat that much toast.
Back to my excellent Small Batch Preserving book. There are many reasons this is a wonderful book. First, is the whole “small batch” aspect, because canning things in large volume terrified me when I started. Next, the recipes are different from the Ball Complete Book. The most important reason that I love this book is that it’s full of recipes for using your preserves. Now that you’ve made them, what can you do with them?
Just for marmalades, they’ve got Marmalade Cream (with ricotta cheese, marmalade, orange juice and grated semi-sweet chocolate), Marmalade Fruit Muffins, Marmalade Mustard Butter (for vegetables), Marmalade Sauce (for pancakes and waffles), and Marmalade Squares (a fruit-filled dessert bar).
Yesterday, I made the Marmalade Fruit Muffins using half Meyer lemon marmalade and half lime marmalade. In place of dried fruit or nuts, I substituted chocolate chips (when in doubt or your shelves are out, try chocolate).
Marmalade Fruit Muffins
Marmalade adds moisture and lively flavor to these elegant muffins. Any marmalade can be used, but we like the more intense flavor of those made with Seville oranges.
2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) baking soda
3/4 cup (175 mL) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (50 mL) soft butter or margarine
1 cup (250 mL) marmalade (“Traditional English Seville Marmalade, page 76)
1/4 cup (50 mL) orange juice
1/2 cup (125 mL) dried cranberries, raisins or nuts (or chocolate chips)
1. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside.
2. Cream sugar and butter with an electric mixer or by hand; beat in eggs. Stir in marmalade until blended. Fold in half of flour mixture. Add orange juice, mixing just until combined, and then fold in remaining flour and cranberries.
3. Spoon into greased or paper-lined medium muffin pans, using half-cup (125 mL) measure. Bake in a 375°F (190°C) oven for 20 minutes or until lightly browned and firm to the touch.
Makes 18 medium muffins.
I loved these. I’m happy. I’m typing with a pleasing marmalade bitter aftertaste. I’m anticipating trying these with different marmalades, dried fruits, nuts and chocolate chips. And, my kids don’t like them much, so more for me (I’ll freeze them and have them for busy morning breakfasts; you didn’t think I was going to eat them all at once, did you?). I think my next batch is going to be with Amanda’s strawberry marmalade.
P.S. For my next jam-using project, I may have try these homemade pop tarts. What do you think? I’ve already tried this glaze with Black Forest cherry preserves (and loved it; I’m using it on my birthday cake next month).