Homemade Christmas marmalade with whiskyPosted by Fiona Nevile in Christmas, Jam Jelly and Preserves | 8 comments
Last year I happened to meet someone who supplies citrus fruits to one of the largest supermarket chains in the UK.
“How come their fruit and vegetables don’t last as long as those from Waitrose and M&S?”
“Ah,” he said, “it’s all a matter of storage temperature. They keep the produce in vast stores with the temperature set very, very low. This means that they can store perishables for a considerable time. Once they come to room temperature they will fade far more quickly.”
The temperature in our barn is very low in the winter. I hang bags of vegetables on the insides of the doors and they keep for weeks. Once the general air temperature starts to warm up towards the end of April they need to be used up quickly before they go to the great compost heap in the sky.
As an experiment this year I decided to store some organic Seville oranges on the barn door. We are planning to give whisky enriched marmalade for Christmas presents this year and I wanted them to have a longer shelf life whilst giving them a decent amount of time to mature. The oranges had survived well on the barn door but I had to move quickly or risk the possibility of losing them.
I know that most people freeze their Seville oranges to use later in the year but our freezers always seem to be jam packed with *CFC bargains.
So this week I started off a huge batch of our easy Seville marmalade http://www.cottagesmallholder.com/easy-seville-orange-marmalade-recipe-6464. It was really strange to smell wafts of that glorious deep, sweet fruitiness in late April. After the poaching stage, I was also able to do a lot of the preparation sitting at the kitchen table with the sunshine pouring through the open back door.
Now everything is waiting in the fridge for the boiling up stage. The great thing about our recipe is that it can be tackled in stages over two or three days – so is far less tiring that a more conventional recipe. I’m going to invest in some good malt or Irish whiskey and if it’s the latter any left over will be squirreled away for our Christmas cake http://www.cottagesmallholder.com/best-quick-last-minute-christmas-cake-recipe-152 and pudding http://www.cottagesmallholder.com/christmas-pudding-recipe-115.
The marmalade will have eight months to develop its flavours and mature. This is the first time ever that I’ve started preparing for Christmas before October!
*CFC – condemned food counter (our fun name for supermarket discounted bargain shelves)
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