red & yellow

top tips for marmalade making:

1. choose your fruit depending on your level of patience. thick skinned fruit like grapefruit and oranges take longer to cut up. thin skinned ones like cumquats are quicker to cut up, and i think its easier to cut them neatly. this is important! you don't want a jar of raggedy hacked up fruit do you? well, i don't anyway. i like all the bits to be the same size and to be very small, but that's just me. maybe that's why it takes me so long...? oh well.

2. with fruit that doesn't have large pips, i save all the insides, put them through the blender and add it to the pot. with fruit that has large pips you can still strain the insides and add the juice. it doesn't say to do this in the recipes but i have just always done it, it seems such a waste to throw out the insides. i imagine our nanas were clever enough to do something else with the insides, make some awesome cake at the same time as making marmalade.

3. soak and scrub the labels off the jars before you start. while the fruit is boiling you will be sterilizing the jars, you'll run out of time if they have labels on them that need to be soaked.

4. i bought a very clever thing that is an enamel pouring jug on a long stick. i think its for making coffee. its very useful for pouring the marmalade from the pot to the jars. put newspaper or a tea towel down, this is the messiest bit. it takes forever to get rid of marmalade that has cooled and set on your bench. if you don't have a coffee pot thingy you'll need a ladle or something.

5. if you like marmalade that is solid you'll need to boil the sugar for longer or at a higher temperature. when you do the plate test you'll want it to be very resistant. i like it quite liquid-y. did you see the recent masterchef episode (no. 63) where they were judged by the country womens' association, and one of them was berated for having runny jam...? well i'm afraid i would fail the cwa jam test, but it doesn't really matter does it? make it however you like it.

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