last weekend i made marmalade. i've made it a few times now. its one of those things that before you give try it for the first time you think its going to be really tricky, that maybe you need to be some kind of masterchef food genius to be able to give it a go, but that's not really true, its actually quite simple.

i won't give a recipe because i don't really use one - i did start with one, but now i just make it up. if you google it, or pinch one of your nana's recipe books you'll find a recipe to give you the proportions and technique, but its just basically fruit, sugar and water. i don't use pectin, as i find the pectin in the fruit is enough. for this batch, i used 3 oranges from a friend's neighbour's back yard, a lime that i grew, a grapefruit stolen from over a fence, and about 30 cumquats from my mum's house. i don't think you should buy fruit for marmalade, it just doesn't seem right! i've always gone to lengths to gather fruit from friends, or use excess from what i've grown (or, yes, nicked it).

its quite time consuming and fiddly, and if you don't like sugary-sticky types of messes then this is not for you. there's so much cutting up to do, and the removing of labels and sterilizing of jars etc... its really not to be undertaken if you are in a bad mood, hungover, or in any other sub-optimal state of mind.

the best bit is adding the sugar and watching what was just boiling fruit and water turn into a different substance. it makes this scary noise as it boils, and changes colour, then you do the plate test (to see if its going to set) and you feel like you've really made something.

give it a go this winter!

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