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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Marmalade Emergency!

Mildly funny story.

I decided to make my dad some homemade marmalade for Father's Day this year, seeing as it's a favorite thing of his. Canning is not my forte, let me preface with. I've done a recipe or three of the famous Loibner salsa and that's about it. Maybe an unsuccessful batch of Ina Garten's strawberry jam a year ago as well.

So Anna Pump's Orange Marmalade was entirely new territory.

Most of my ten half pint mason jars were already tied up with the formerly mentioned salsa, but I was betting that the two I had remaining and several other small ones would be enough for the 3 pint recipe.


Making this marmalade is a two day process, and the second day requires about 3 hours of watching, stirring and skimming to make sure that all goes well. After finally coming to the end of the recipe and pouring it into my two jars, I still had a least half the pan left.

Of course. Because I am an idiot about math and have been since we hit long division in fourth grade. (Ironically I was bond trader, but I always told people that I only work with numbers in the "millions.")

So what to do, what to do with the quickly cooling jam in my pot?? I threw a protesting Sam in the carseat, jumped in my car and drove to our nearest Williams-Sonoma in hopes that the utterly fabulous and infamous Dana Williams (no relation to Chuck, at least I don't think so...) would be working and be able to direct me to some new jars within the hour. (I was lucky enough to get to know her during our wedding registry process...five full pages long and I got every item on it. Knew and loved almost everyone in the store by the end of that year.)

Walking into the store, I announce "Marmalade emergency Dana!" and she runs me over to the wall with the plethora of gourmet jams. I proceeded to explain that I was attempting to make it on my own and had run out of jars.

Her face fell, eyes flickering behind her funky black glasses as she thought out loud rapidly, "Nope, not a jar in sight. We carried canning items about five years ago or so, there was a huge display right there." She glanced over towards the checkout and then looked back at me, a smile coming to her face.

"ACTUALLY", (her voice rising and words coming quickly as she became more excited). "I bought a bunch of canning equipment when it went on clearance way back then and I think IT'S STILL IN THE BAG IN MY BASEMENT!!!"

She raced over to the phone behind the desk and says, "Stay right there, can you wait two minutes while my son Max checks to see if it's still down there?"

Sure enough, Max dug around their basement, by the "Fourth of July chairs, over in the corner" and there it was.

Two gorgeous Williams-Sonoma bags, full of $100 worth of beautiful german canning jars and canning equipment that she bought for something like $9 five years ago.

Thanks to the adorable Max, and a quick trip to their house, all the marmalade is now in it's new home and I am utterly grateful for my friend's generosity.

It is now 8:48pm and the 2 hr 30 min (yeah right Ina,) project is finally at a close.

Dana, check your mailbox tomorrow. It'd be really good on your homemade french bread. Love you.

Anna Pump's Orange Marmalade (totally worth the hassle)
4 large seedless oranges
2 lemons
8 cups sugar
8 cups water

Cut the oranges and lemons in half crosswise, then into very thin half-moon slices. (You can use a mandoline if you wish.) Discard any seeds. Place the sliced fruit and their juices into a stainless-steel pot. Add 8 cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Cover and allow to stand overnight at room temperature.

The next day, bring the mixture back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 2 hours. Turn the heat up to medium and boil gently, stirring often, for another 30 minutes. Skim off any foam that forms on the top. Cook the marmalade until it reaches 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer. (Unfortunately very necessary for this recipe, but only a $5-$10 purchase.) If you want to be doubly sure it's ready, place a small amount on a plate and refrigerate it until it's cool but not cold. If it's firm, neither runny nor too hard, it's done. It will be a golden orange color. If the marmalade is runny, continue cooking it and if it's too hard, add more water.

Pour the marmalade into clean, hot Mason jars; wipe the rims throughly with a clean damp paper towel and seal with the lids. Store in the pantry for up to a year. (Ina didn't call for you to boil the jars in order to create the vacuum, but I did anyways, just to be safe.)

Yield: 3-4 pints (hint, you will need MORE then 2 half pint jars. Ahem.)


Anna said...

The hardware store, Jenni. Or Wal-Mart. That's where you'll find mason jars for your next emergency!

Anonymous said...

I was just going to say what Anna said....Ace Hardware! I hope your dad enjoys all your effort!

Jen said...

Yeah, yeah, Ace was next on my list. Dana is a draw though, knowing I might get to visit with her and end up with some gorgeous german glass jars is quite the temptation. :)

Anonymous said...

that story cracks me up! I love imagining you going through that hour. And I love that you are BFFs with the girl at Williams and Sonoma. Only you. :)

I'm glad you included the recipe in your post. After the preceeding story, I'll bet everyone is lined up ready to try making it themselves!

love you, kristin

Jen said...

I am laughing so hard now Kristin, you kill me. Can we talk soon? I am dying to catch up after your trip!!!!