Finger Limes with All Their Variety of Flavours Make Great Marmalade
If you enjoy marmalade as much as me then you might find the following information of interest. I first started making marmalades from our lesser grade fruit that was not of a suitable quality to sell. I soon discovered that this native Australian fruit is well suited to join the long tradition of marmalade making around the world. The fruit has the natural levels of pectin needed to set any marmalade. This means that you don't need to add anything other than fruit, sugar and water to make a successful preserve. The range of flavours amongst the fruit that we grow carry forward into the finished product. The resulting range has something to suit all tastes.
In making our marmalades we use only our organically grown fruit. We include just enough sugar to set the jam but no more. The natural fruit flavour is the star rather than the sugar. The only other ingredient we use is filtered rainwater.
The History and Tradition of Marmalade Making
The tradition of marmalade making is deeply rooted in the British life and culture. You only need to observe the recent reference to it by none other than Queen Elizabeth before her recent death. She and Paddington Bear apparently both shared a love of a marmalade sandwich. This was followed by many members of the public offering up a marmalade sandwich as a sign of respect at her recent funeral. Other notables include Samuel Pepys, James Bond, Captain Scott who took some to the Antarctic and Sir Edmund Hilary included a jar when climbing Everest.
James Keiller and his wife Janet in Scotland are also tied up in the history. The story that they invented the recipe fortuitously when a cargo of Seville oranges was landed in Dundee is apocryphal. Their production of marmalade from 1797 onwards however undoubtedly popularized the Seville orange version.
The word marmalade has an interesting history as well. There is a story involving Mary Queen of Scots who was said to regularly request it when she was unwell. Her French maids would say Marm est Malade (meaning madam is sick) and this morphed into the word marmalade. In truth it had found its way into the English language earlier than this from the Portuguese word marmelada. It means a preserve made from quinces. The traditional British meaning though is one referencing a jam made with citrus peel. In many other cultures it refers more generically to a preserve of any pulpy fruit.
An Odd Thing but I Like Making Marmalade
There are a few reasons I enjoy making marmalade:
I enjoy eating them! I make them to suit my taste i.e. I like the fruit to talk and not the sugar
It appeals to my sense of not wasting food. You can preserve the fruit for later consumption.
The creative aspect in the kitchen is one I like.
No two batches are the same even within a season. I have heard it romantically described as bottling sunshine which captures a season or a moment in time.
The technical side always requires attention as the occasional failure will keep you concentrating.
There is always room for some variation within a recipe based on the fruit you have available. A little more water or sugar to get the right balance of flavour and consistency on the day can make all the difference.
How to Make Marmalade with Finger Limes
You can adapt any marmalade recipe using citrus. They are freely available online or from other sources. The basics of marmalade production are just the same when using finger limes. The following steps are the same with minor variations needed depending on the particular variety I am using:
Wash the fruit and remove any that isn't up to standard before processing.
Slice the fruit as thinly as you have the patience for. I use a commercial grade food processor called a Robot Coupe. The cutting blade I use has a 1-2mm slice. Since I have been using this device, the quality is much improved.
Add the cut fruit to water (use the amount of water indicated in your recipe and the weight of fruit you have). Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for 40 minutes or until the skin is soft.
Stir in an equivalent amount of sugar as water then mix it well to dissolve all of the sugar e.g 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of water. I like to taste it at this stage to adjust the sugar to my preference. I may also add a little water at this stage if I think the mix is too thick with peel. Take care to not overfill your saucepan as it can easily boil over in the next step.
Boil the mixture of fruit, sugar and water vigorously on a high setting for 30 to 70 minutes. The time needed will vary with each fruit and batch.
Judge when it is ready by using the wrinkle test (described well on the internet if you search the term)
Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a short time before pouring the hot jam into previously sterilized jars. I find I need around 10 to 12 270ml jars per kilogram of fruit.
Seal them by screwing the lids on tightly while they are still hot and allow to cool. Don't handle them much until fully cooled to allow them to set properly.
Unsure What to Choose from Our Range?
The following guide will help you choose the right marmalade to suit your taste.
The first question to ask yourself is do you really like a marmalade or do you prefer a jam. If you are not sure about marmalades it would be best to choose from our milder ones. Sunrise Lime would be good choice for someone who prefers a jam.
Second question is how full a flavour you like. This involves a balance between sweetness, tartness and bitterness.
If you prefer sweetness, then I would recommend Sunrise Lime or Tahitian Lime.
For those who like something balanced and no bitterness then Blood Lime or Finger Lime made with our Byron Sunrise or Wauchope variety is recommended. These ones have a character I think of as elegant.
If a little tartness is your preference, then Finger Lime made with the WG variety has an appealing freshness.
For those who like a fuller flavour and enjoy some bitter notes then try Finger Lime made with our Mary fruit. It has a broad flavour of limes including some mild bitter notes along with a floral character.
Rangpur lime also has a full flavour. It would be a good choice if you like a bitter orange marmalade. This fruit is a cross between a mandarin and a lemon. It combines the juiciness of a mandarin with the tartness of a lemon along with some bitter notes.
I hope you may have found this blog interesting. If you have read this far you may be a fellow marmalade tragic. Welcome to the club!
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