A few guest rooms to paint, catching up with friends, planning the veggie patch for the season to come, develop new recipes, take small trips to the country side and stocking up the larder with homemade JAM......
Yes - this is the time to get all crazy about cooking those zesty marmalades from the very fruit of the season - the citrus fruits.
The is basically the same recipe for when you are cooking thick cut orange marmalade - but here we have used the juicy sweet clementines - and added a little white pepper corns - just for a little spice - but these makes the marmalade great with aged cheeses as well....
If you want to keep the marmalade for a longer time - without filling up your fridge - you will have to conserve the marmalade - more about that later.....LET'S START TO COOK.....
1 kg organic clementines - don't peel them
1900 ml water
1,25 kg sugar
juice of 2 lemons
1 tbsp whole white pepper corns
Place the clementines in a saucepan and pour in the water. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and let them simmer until completely soft - about an hour.
Now it is time to blend to a smooth consistency - we think it is easier to use a handheld blender - but you could use a normal blender as well - you don't want any big lumps of zest - but then again not completely smooth - small bits of zest are great.
Return the sauce pan to the heat, add the sugar, lemon juice and the pepper corns and bring back to the boil. Again lower the heat and let the marmalade simmer until thick - you are looking at about 2 hours.
In the mean time place a small plate in the freezer - to do the jam test. Also while you are waiting you can sterilize your jars - what we normally do, is to pour boiling water over the jars and lids - and then let them dry upside down on a kitchen towel.
Once your marmalade is looking thick - take out the plate from the freezer - place a spoonful of marmalade on the plate - run a finger through the marmalade - if it doesn't run together - you are there - if it still looks a bit thin - give it a few more minutes.
Take the pan of the heat and let is stand for 20 minutes before ladling it into the sterilized jars. Seal tightly - and there you go - jam is ready...most marmalades and jams are best left for a few days before you start using.
If you want to keep your marmalade for longer - it is a good idea to conserve the jars - once they are filled with the warm jam - place the sealed jars in a saucepan with high sides. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil - now gently simmer the jars for 20 minutes. take the pan of the heat, cover with a lid and let the jars cool in the water to completely cold - we leave them overnight.
Remove the jars once cold, dry them of, label them - remember the date, and stack them on your shelf...pure sunshine in a jar.......