Wednesday, 24 June 2015

St Clements Jelly

Our first oranges, the tree were planted a year ago and has produced a small crop of twelve good sized oranges. Hopefully, there will be a much more bountiful crop in the years to come.

We have watched them change from green to orange and the anticipation has grown.

Oranges, like most citrus are best left on the tree to develop a sweeter flavour. We decided it was time to try one,still a little on the tart side so will leave the others for a few more weeks.

Recently, I was given a big bag of oranges and then a small box of lemons. It is not often that I have so much citrus piled up in a basket on the bench and of course that childhood rhyme - Oranges and Lemons go the Bells of St Clements popped into my mind. This preserve uses both oranges and lemons.

It is a little like marmalade but not quite as bitter. The fruit is strained and the finished preserve is much like quince jelly in texture and made the same way. Citrus fruits are high in both acid and pectin which makes it very easy to get a good gel.

It is an excellent spread on toast. A tablespoon or two makes good base for a sauce or glaze for roast duck and pork belly.

How to make the jelly

Wash fruit. Cut into halves and juice. Save the juice. I used 8 oranges and 6 lemons. Place in a  large pot.

Cover with water and simmer for an hour or two. The liquid will evaporate a little and the fruit will become soft and mushy.

For a less bitter jelly
Blanch the fruit two or three times before cooking as this will reduce the bitter flavour.

Strain fruit and liquid through muslin and allow the mixture to drip through undisturbed.

Add the reserved juice to the strained liquid and measure the liquid. For each cup of liquid add 1 cup of sugar.

Bring mixture to the boil, stir and simmer until mixture forms a gel when tested on a cold plate, approximately 20 minutes.

Place in sterilised jars, seal and label.

Sometimes I  put some finely shredded orange zest into the jelly. Use a zester to make the peel and blanch it before placing it in the preserve for the last ten minutes of the cooking process.

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