My friend Katy showed me this amazing online food website called Natoora. I am sure you will hear more about it in future posts, but today it is all about citrus fruits. Natoora does what supermarkets don’t, they provide top quality, fresh but most importantly, seasonal products. So don’t try to order raspberries in March because it just won’t be there. Winter months are the best for citrus fruits and their list of Mediterranean, especially Sicilian, citrus fruits took me by surprise and I found myself with that urge again: making more marmalade!
A citrus, with an unique smell which you will recognise as soon as you smell it, is Bergamot. I bought two along with some Amalfi unwaxed lemons, a Cedro (the big lemon cut in half in the picture above) and some blood oranges. I decided to make a lemon marmalade infused with Bergamot. I wanted a bright yellow colour and wasn’t sure about the lemon pectin content. Amalfi have an amazing thick skin, but very little pips so I decided to use some sugar with added pectin, just in case. This marmalade turned out beautifully and just the way I imagined it, it is my favourite so far this year!
- 1 bergamot
- 5 Amalfi lemons (or enough to have a total of 700g of fruits)
- 700g granulated sugar
- 700g of jam sugar
In the evening, wash the fruits well, chop the bergamot in two and leave the lemons as whole. Place them in a pan and submerge them with water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for at least 1h, or until the fruits feel soft. Leave it overnight to cool and infuse.
The next day, remove the fruits and measure the cooking water left. You need double amount of your total fruit weight, 1.4L here. If too much liquid, reduce it a bit more by bringing it to the boil once more, or simply add some more water if you don’t have enough. Chop all the fruits in half and with a spoon remove the flesh from the skin and place the flesh and pips onto a muslin sheet. Chop the lemon in fine strips and blitz the bergamot peel to have little cubes instead of whole strips of zest. My first batch tasted amazing until I spooned a zest from the bergamot onto my bread and ate it… let’s say that the taste coming from a whole strip is a little too potent to be chewed on. Basically, keep the bergamot pieces small.
Tie the muslin bag very tightly and squeeze it into the pan as long as there is still liquid oozing out of it. This is definitely the most satisfying part. This gluppy opaque liquid is packed with pectin and will set your marmalade, so you don’t want to be in a rush and enjoy the experience fully. Your hands will be covered with the stuff and you might even have to wash them in the liquid not to waste anything. Add the sugar and the chopped fruits and turn the heat on to maximum. Mix well to start with to dissolve the sugar properly, then let it boil until it reaches 105C. From that point, keep in boiling for 15 minutes. Have a wooden spoon ready in the freezer and spoon a little of the liquid on it to test the setting point. This marmalade was done after 15 minutes. It’s fast and efficient when you add a little more pectin and it means that the marmalade won’t loose its colour too much. Leave the marmalade to rest for a few minutes while you prepare your jars.
Fill clean jars up to the top, add the lid on tightly and invert on a heatproof surface. The second best part of this is to label the jars and stack them up into the pantry!