The kids are finally in bed and I have a very big pan of orange marmalade on the hob. It seems to have taken all day to get to this point and there’s still an hour of boiling to go! It’s going to be a long night….
Saying that though, the house smells amazing. It’s almost worth it just for that. And I’m sure around midnight when I finally get to try some on a piece of toast, with a cuppa tea, it’ll taste pretty blooming good. Slater says it better than I ever could in this article about marmalade-making: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/jan/27/nigel-slater-marmalade-recipes
So what have I learnt from this marmalade-marathon?
1) Follow one recipe. Do not consult three, then harass the veg box man on his views while his engine is left running for 20 minutes. It just leads to confusion.
2) Read a recipe ALL the way through before starting. Having to stop to go into town to buy a square of muslin is a pain.
3) Buy this book: River Cottage Handbook No.2 Preserves by Pam Corbin. It is the best book on preserves and the marmalade recipe has no pushing-pulp-through-muslin stage to it.
4) Make marmalade when the children are away. However much TV you offer them, they will always prefer to get involved. Sharp knives, boiling marmalade + a four year old = added stress to an already stressful situation (mainly because you still haven’t decided which of the three recipes to follow!)
Aside from that, and the fact that I’ve written this post twice because the site crashed, it’s been great fun! Now to sterilise the jars and put the saucers in the fridge (ask Delia)……
And finally: early hours of the morning….
PostScript to self for next year:
1) You never have enough jars! Raking through the shed at midnight, looking for more, is not fun.
2) Do not wait until the morning to clean up any marmalade spills. It’s like getting tar off a work surface.
3) Do not embark on this project again until you have bought a jam funnel. You slop marmalade everywhere when you pour it into jars.
4) Do not put a 4 year old in charge of orange pip quality control. They do not have very high standards and you will end up fishing pips out of molten jars of marmalade late at night.