Happy May Day! We have SUN and beautiful blue skies and the weatherliarman said the mercury is going to hit at least 85 today! It was 89 here yesterday!!! I don't think anyone will be working today, because next week we'll be back in the 60's with rain, clouds and the famous Seattle gray skies. The mister is threatening to come home early - again - seriously, he's freaking me out! He showed up yesterday at 3:00, walked into the kitchen and scared the hell out of me - well almost - I seem to have a never ending supply of hell! And now today he's talking about leaving early again! He's even started to mention the "R" word - the most dreaded word in the world to me...retire. That word makes my blood run cold...the mister has no hobbies so that means IF he retires I would be his hobby...shudder! But let's not think about that today, no, why borrow trouble?!? It's beautiful outside and before I dive into my shoe pile in search of my flip-flops and head to the beach, I want to give you this wonderful marmalade recipe, so when Spring leaves you cold and wet, like it will for all of us in the Northwest next week, you can make this bright, fresh, tasty treat for your morning toast - it will remind you of happy times and let you think of those yet to come!
This marmalade is full of zesty flavor - not only does it have lemon in it but ginger and honey, too! Your taste buds will be on high alert with the first spoonful! This is an easy recipe, but it does take time to cook, a little over an hour start to finish and by the time you're done your kitchen will smell heavenly and you'll have a wonderful treat to eat and share with friends. Plus, this is excellent on chicken, fish or pork and it tastes amazing on a turkey and Swiss sandwich!
This recipe makes about five (8 oz.) jars of marmalade, and if you process them they will keep for up to six months. Without processing they will keep in the refrigerator for 3 weeks. I didn't bother to process my batch, I kept two jars for us, which we devoured almost immediately, and gave a jar to my sisters and my mom...next time I don't know that I'll be so generous because it's almost too good to give away! Pictured above on the right you can see a little cheesecloth bag. This bag holds the seeds from the lemons; seeds help the marmalade set, they have natural pectin in them. I purchased these little bags from Sur La Table, they come in a package of 4 for $3.95. They are so easy to use - when I make soup and don't want to fish out the bay leaves or rosemary stalks, I stuff them all into the bag and it makes removing them a cinch. They can be washed and reused but for the price I just toss them after one use. These bags are also available on-line, they're called "Bouquet Garni Bags" - but you don't need bags, just a piece of cheesecloth tied with string will do the trick!
The freezer plate method is my favorite way to test to see if jams, jellies and marmalades are done. You put a small plate in the freezer for about 20 minutes, when the marmalade is done, test to make sure by putting a small amount on the cold plate. Let it sit for about 20 seconds and then run your finger through the center; if it holds and doesn't run back into the center, it's done!
Lemon-Carrot Marmalade - Adapted From Epicurious, August 1962
3 large lemons, quartered and seeded, reserve seeds
2 lbs. carrots, trimmed, peeled and cut into 1" pieces (I used baby carrots for convenience, they come washed, trimmed, peeled and ready to go)
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon minced crystallized (candied) ginger
1 quart water
Put lemons in food processor and process until almost smooth. Remove and set aside. Process carrots until almost smooth, with only very small pieces showing.
Put processed carrots and lemons into a large pot. Add sugar, honey, ginger and water, stir to combine. Put reserved lemon seeds into a cheesecloth bag (or wrap in cheesecloth and tie with a string) and secure ends and put bag into pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce heat to medium-low and continue a slow boil for about an hour or until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture has thickened. Pour into sterilized jars. Keep in fridge for 3 weeks. (Jars from World Market.)