Not for the first time this winter, the South has been hit by a blast of arctic weather. The temperature is well below freezing so the snow is not going to disappear any time soon, and with the roads slick with ice most of the city is hunkered down at home.
It’s the perfect day to retire to the kitchen and cook something cosy and warming to fill the house with delicious aromas. A perfect marmalade day.
Back home in Britain it is the middle of the short lived Seville orange season and marmalade making will be in full swing. As Seville oranges are hard to come by in my neck of the woods, I opted for a lemon and ginger marmalade, with a splash of locally distilled lemon and ginger liqueur to dial the flavour up a notch.
The result is a delicious golden coloured marmalade with a great balance of sweetness and bitterness and the ginger and the liqueur providing some gentle warmth. The perfect way to bring a ray of golden sunshine into a dull winter day.
The recipe is loosely based on this one from Vivian Lloyd.
Lemon Ginger Marmalade with Ginger/Lemon Liqueur
0.75oz peeled fresh ginger
2oz finely sliced crystallised ginger
30 fl.oz. water
1.5lb granulated sugar
2 tbs lemon ginger liqueur (I used “Lawn Dart” from Atlanta’s Old 4th Distillery)
Yield: about 36oz
Scrub the lemons, and then juice them, adding the juice to a large pan along with the water.
With a sharp knife, separate the lemon peel from the the membranes and pips inside the lemon. Put those to one side.
Slice the peel into thin strips and add them to the pan.
Finely chop the membranes from the lemons. Bruise the fresh ginger, then securely tie it in a piece of muslin along with the chopped membranes and the pips from the lemons. Add this little package to the pan.
Leave the fruit to soak for a few hours or even overnight to help extract the pectin. The following day, bring it to the boil and then turn down, partially cover and simmer for two hours until the peel is tender and the marmalade has reduced by about a third.
Whilst it is cooking, place a couple of saucers or small plates in your freezer to enable you to test later for when the marmalade has set.
Remove the muslin bag and add the slices crystallised ginger to the pan.
Add the sugar to the pan and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Bring to a rolling boil for 8-10 minutes. Towards the end of the cooking time add the liqueur. Test for a set by putting a small spoonful of the marmalade onto one of the frozen plates. Return it to the freezer for a couple of minutes then test by pushing your finger through it. If it is thickening and the surface “crinkles” when you push it, it is set. If the consistency is still liquid carry on cooking for a little longer.
Once the marmalade has reached its setting point, remove the pan from the heat.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes, removing any scum that has formed on the surface.
Pour the marmalade into sterilised jars. Apply lids and then process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. If you need to know more about water bath canning there is a good introductory guide on the Ball canning website.