Posts Tagged jam canning preserving

Bergamot Orange Marmalade

Bergamot orange marmalade

Id never tried bergamot oranges before, to be honest I hadn’t ever seen them for sale. I do enjoy a new discovery, so when I saw them I had to get some! Its marmalade time so that was what my bergamot oranges were destined for. Once Id tasted one, however, it was apparent that was all I could use them for!  They look pretty unremarkable, like unripe oranges, although any similarity to oranges ends there,  I was taken aback at how bitter they are! I can be found nibbling at the lemon in my drink but the bitterness of bergamots was something else! They have a just shy of harsh floral smell, apparently bergamots are what gives Earl Grey tea its distinctive aroma.

Coincidentally the day I bought my oranges someone tweeted this video about making marmalade by Jane Hassell-McCosh, the founder of the Worlds Original Marmalade awards. (Don’t you just love twitter!) It’s a lovely video, shot in Jane’s kitchen where she talks you through making marmalade in a way that I hadn’t tried before. I have never found a recipe for marmalade that I’ve stuck with. Unlike making jam, marmalade requires a bit more preparation, some recipes have you starting 2-3 days before! Well that doesn’t suit my impatient nature! Jane’s method was quicker and avoided using muslin to tie up pips and pith. Her easy guidance persuaded me to try making marmalade her way.

In the video Jane uses a mix of oranges, lemons and grapefruit.  She has an easy method of measuring the cooked fruit to sugar at a rate of 1 pint of fruit to 1 lb of sugar. This suited me as I was making a very small batch. Making marmalade this way was really easy and very successful! It set really easily, always a worry when making marmalade! That sour, bitter flavour accompanied by the heavy floral  fragrance made me worry what the marmalade would taste like so at the last moment I threw a regular orange in with it! I also added some extra sugar. I was glad I added that orange in with my bergamots, it added a familiar taste to an otherwise very different tasting marmalade. When trying this marmalade the first taste is just like marmalade made with Seville oranges then you bite into a piece of bergamot peel and you get a flowery, almost soapy hit (but not in a horrible way!)  my description may sound unfavourable but that is not the case, the combination of sweet, sour, and floral all work well together to make a very different marmalade. I really like it and wish Id been brave enough to make a larger batch. I got a jar and a half with my small batch, this recipe could easily be doubled.

I am linking this up with the One Ingredient challenge held by Laura at How to cook Good food and Nazima at Franglaise Kitchen as the theme for this month is Oranges.

Bergamot Orange Marmalade (adapted from Jane’s marmalade recipe)

  • 2 bergamot oranges
  • 1 medium-sized orange
  • Approx 1/2 lb 225 grams granulated cane sugar (I used unrefined sugar) plus another 2 oz/50 grams sugar

The sugar needed may vary according to how much fruit pulp you measure.

  1. Cut each orange in half and place in a large pan. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 hours, keep checking and add more water if necessary to avoid boiling dry.
  2. Remove the oranges from the water and when cool enough to handle remove all the pips.  Reserve 100 mls/3 oz of the boiling liquid for later.
  3. Chop the softened peel to the thickness you prefer, as the peel is so strongly flavoured I would recommend thin cut. Put all of  the peel, juice and fruit into a measuring jug. For each 1 pint of fruit you have measure out the same amount of sugar. So for each 1 pint of fruit you need 1 lb of sugar. The 3 oranges in my recipe gave me 1/2 pint of fruit so I needed 1/2 lb of sugar
  4. Put the sugar into an oven tray and warm in the oven for 10 minutes at 170 c, 325 f. gas 3. (You can add your clean jars to the oven at the same time to sterilise.)
  5. Tip the fruit, warmed sugar and  100 ml/ 3 oz reserved boiling liquid into your jam pan, stir well  and bring to a rolling boil for 10 minutes.
  6. After 10 minutes test for setting. See here for setting tips if unsure. My marmalade was ready at this stage.
  7. If set pour the marmalade into your prepared sterilised jars and seal.

As I messed with the sugar ratio and the recipe resulted in such a small amount I do not recommend this for canning.



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Strawberry Jam

Summer is imminent in the UK when locally grown strawberries start to appear in the stores, (despite all the bad weather jokes!). We do live in an age where strawberries are available all year round but it’s not the same. I do not associate strawberries with Winter, I’ve moved on to the clementine then! Besides, when grown in a Spanish polytunnel, strawberries (in my opinion)  do not taste very strawberryish.

I have been making strawberry jam for years, mostly the only ingredients I used were strawberries and sugar but since tweeting &  blogging Ive come across jam with all sorts of other ingredients added (alcohol, vinegar, spices).  I realised what a sheltered kitchen I lived in!! So this year I was a little more adventurous and included some black pepper which is supposed to bring out the strawberry in the strawberry! I also added vanilla, well just because! I was probably a little conservative in my pepper and vanilla additions as I didn’t follow a recipe.

Despite my general conservatism, when making jam I rarely follow a recipe. After years of looking through jam recipes that were all so confusingly similar I gave up and now my starting point tends to be weighing the  fruit, then adding slightly less in weight of sugar. I’ve made really small batches before resulting in only one and a bit jars because that’s all the fruit I happened to have! In the UK we have “jam sugar” which has added  pectin for setting purposes, I havent come across a reason not to use this but I prefer to use regular sugar (I like unrefined). As a result this strawberry jam is quite a soft set, more of a conserve.

Water bath canning is not a common process in the UK but now I’ve tried it I like it. I don’t have a canner but successfully use my largest stock pot filled with water.


  • 1.4 kilos of strawberries, rinsed, hulled, large ones cut into halves
  • 1 kilo sugar granulated or jam sugar
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  1. Begin by putting up to 3 saucers into the freezer to use to check for the setting point later.
  2. Add the strawberries to a large pan or if you have one a jam pan.
  3. Add the sugar and lemon juice.
  4. Scrape the vanilla seeds out of the pod into the pan then throw in the pod.
  5. Dissolve the sugar slowly over a low heat, until  there are no visible  sugar grains on the back of a wooden spoon.
  6. Add the pepper.
  7. Boil rapidly for 15 minutes
  8. Take off of the heat and test for setting by putting a teaspoon of jam onto one of the frozen saucers. Leave to cool for a minute and test for setting by pushing your finger through the jam. If the jam doesn’t immediately fall back into place or wrinkles and even better a skin has formed, it is set.
  9.  If  not, return to the heat for 2 minutes and repeat number 8.  Usually 1 or 2 repeats are all that’s necessary. Of course the opposite to under setting is over setting which results in jam that is unusable so better for a slightly runny jam that can be used  in other ways such as a sauce for ice cream.
  10. When setting point is reached, fish out the vanilla pod and put into sterilised jars.
  11. Put on lids, wipe jars clean
  12. Simmer jars for 10 minutes in a water bath.


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