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.
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.