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Holiday Jams and Marmalade

by Tom Fleming

Listen to the Podcast

Apple Butter

Yield: About 3 pints

2 dozen medium apples (about 6 lbs.) Quartered

2 cups apple cider

3 cups sugar

1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp. cloves

Cook apples in cider until tender. Press through a sieve or food mill. Measure 3 quarts apple pulp. Cook apple pulp until thick enough to round up a spoon. As it thickens, stir often, to keep it from sticking. Add sugar and spices. Cook slowly, stirring frequently, until very thick. Ladle into hot, sterilized jars. Replace lids on jars. Cook for 10 minutes in a hot water bath, remove from water carefully and allow to cool on counter.

Tighten seal and store in cool dry place.

Strawberry Jam

Yields: 3 pints

4 pints strawberries, washed and stemmed

1 (2-ounce) pkg low-sugar pectin (such as slim set)

3 cups honey

In a large saucepan, gently mash berries. Add pectin to mashed berries. Bring to a vigorous boil, stirring frequently; boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in honey. Quickly and carefully ladle jam into 3 hot sterilized pint jars, filling to 1/4 inch from tops. Wipe rims of jars; top with lids. Screw on bands. Place jars on rack in canning kettle of hot water, adding water if necessary to bring water level to 1 inch above tops of jars. Bring water to a rolling boil; boil for 10 minutes. Remove jars carefully and cool on a wire rack.

Orange Marmalade

1 3/4 pounds oranges, 4 to 5 medium

1 lemon, zest finely grated and juiced

6 cups water

3 pounds plus 12 ounces sugar

Wash the oranges and lemon thoroughly.  Cut the oranges into 1/8-inch slices using a mandoline, removing the seeds as you go. Stack the orange slices and cut them into quarters. Place the oranges into an 8-quart stainless steel pot. Add the lemon zest and juice and the water to the pot, set over high heat and bring to a boil, approximately 10 minutes. Once boiling, reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for 40 minutes or until the fruit is very soft.

While the fruit is cooking, fill a large pot (at least 12-quart) 3/4 full with water. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Place 10 (8-ounce) jars and rings, canning funnel, ladle, and tongs into the boiling water and make sure the water covers the jars by at least an inch. Boil for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the lids and leave everything in the pot until the marmalade is ready. Increase the heat under the orange mixture to return to full boil. Add the sugar and stir the mixture continually, until it reaches 222 to 223 degrees f on a deep-fry or candy thermometer, and darkens in color, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

You may need to adjust the heat in order to prevent boil over. The mixture should be a soft gel that moves slightly.  Remove jars from the water and drain on a clean towel. Place a canning funnel onto the top of 1 of the jars and ladle in the marmalade just to below the bottom of the threads of the jar. Repeat until all of the mixture has been used.  The amount of marmalade may vary by 1 to 2 jars. Wipe the rims and threads of the jars with a moist paper towel and top each with a lid.  Place a ring on each jar and tighten. Return the jars to the pot with boiling water, being certain that they don’t touch the bottom of the pot or each other.  (If you don’t have a jar rack, try a round cake rack, or metal mesh basket. Even a folded kitchen towel on the pot bottom will do in a pinch.) Add additional water if necessary to cover the jars by at least an inch. Boil for 10 minutes.  Using canning tongs, carefully remove the jars from the water, place in a cool dry place and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours before opening. Once open, store in the refrigerator. Unopened marmalade will last for up to 6 months.

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