12.18.2012

Tangerine Marmalade

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One of my favorite things that my grandmother used to make was marmalade. She used whatever peels we had at home, mostly tangerines, sometimes oranges, and work her magic. In the end, we'd have delicious marmalade. It had great texture, wasn't too sweet and tasted great over toast or cream cheese.

Unfortunately, I never paid any attention to her cooking as a kid, and this makes me sad, because I have no clue how she made her marmalade so delicious. I have some suspicions. I believe she used only the peels and not any of the fruit. I also think she probably added some liquor. It's an Armenian thing.

So my in-laws have a tangerine tree. And the husband and I have been talking about making jam. Free tangerines gave us that extra motivation. Besides my recent adventure with cranberry sauce/jam, I do not have much experience with cooking fruit. My goal was not to set out to recreate my grandmother's marmalade, I just wanted to find an easy recipe I wouldn't screw up. Surprisingly, Martha Steward had the answer.

This recipe was so simple, I was initially a little scared. Fruit, sugar, water. That's it. And although in the end, the result was a tasty and obviously very natural marmalade, next time I would change things up. For one thing, I think I would use my grandmother's peel only or mostly peel approach. I think you end up with better texture. Also, booze couldn't hurt, a nice cognac or brandy. And possibly some lemon zest. I won't be making marmalade again anytime soon, so I have some time to think things over. This was however, a good starter recipe, and makes for a nice holiday treat.

I've been enjoying my marmalade over cottage cheese in the mornings while thinking about my grandma and her loving and judgement look. I think she would applaud my efforts. I think.
Tangerine Marmalade
via www.marthastewart.com

3 pounds tangerines (about 18), unpeeled, washed, ends trimmed, and cut crosswise into thin slices
4 cups sugar

1) Place a small plate in freezer. In a large pot, bring tangerines and 6 cups water to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium and cook at a rapid simmer until tangerine peels are tender, 20 minutes.
2) Add sugar, increase heat to medium-high, and stir until sugar dissolves. Return to a boil and cook, stirring often, until mixture is thick and darkens slightly, 40 to 45 minutes. To test for doneness, drop a spoonful on frozen plate and freeze 2 minutes. Marmalade is done if it has a slight film that wrinkles when pushed with a finger. If it spreads out and thins immediately, continue cooking. Transfer marmalade to airtight containers, cover, and let cool completely.

To store, refrigerate marmalade up to 1 month, or freeze, up to 6 months. 

I actually canned mine properly, since I was planning of giving these out as gifts. I think Martha would approve.

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