About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013


Two years ago I made far too much marmalade so last year I didn't make any. Last year was generally rubbish. This year I have made marmalade, even though I still have a few jars left of the two-year old batch.

2lb seville oranges, 2 lemons, one rather ancient sweet orange and one almost-as-ancient clementine from the fruit bowl, skin of one pink grapefruit left over from two breakfasts (2 2/3 lb in total) and 8 pints of water

I picked a day when Ian was out so I could use the dining table (his desk) to chop all the fruit, then left it and the pips to soak overnight, separately. This morning I boiled the fruit for a couple of hours then realised I'd forgotten to boil the pips. Oops! I tied the pips up in muslin and put this parcel with some of the liquid from the fruit, plus a bit more water, in a small pan and boiled vigorously for about twenty minutes in the hope of releasing the pectin that way. Once the package was just about cool enough to handle, I squeezed much slimy gloop from it into the big pan. Extracting pectin is not the most pleasant of tasks.

I then had the usual problem guessing how much sugar to put in. Grandma's recipe requires weighing the boiled fruit and water mixture, which isn't very practical. Modern recipes tend to include lemon juice but not the rind, which skews the calculations a bit. I ended up consulting my blog entry of two years ago, and guessing a bit, to end up with 5 1/2 lb sugar.

That boiled fairly rapidly (large burner on full whack) for about an hour, tested at intervals with the chilled plate, as per grandma's instructions. In the meantime I rounded up some jam jars, cleaned them and put them in the oven on its lowest setting to dry and warm. Once the drips on the cold plate showed some sign of wrinkling when poked, I ladled all the marmalade into the warmed jars and screwed on the lids.

Thirteen jars of marmalade

This smells divine during the preparation and I like the fact that Grandma's method stretches this out over two days. January just isn't right without marmalade-making.

1 comment:

  1. Looks yummy! Almost good enough to make me want to start eating marmalade!

    You know, I can't even say that word without thinking of this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4LWIP7SAjY



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