Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Best Thing I've Ever Made! - Konatsu Marmalade -

My Home-mde Konatsu Marmalade

Although I had made up my mind so easily to make marmalade out of the konatsu oranges from my dad’s orchard, I was very ambivalent before starting it. First of all, I liked marmalade alright, but never really loved it. If I saw several kinds of jellies including marmalade at a breakfast buffet, marmalade wouldn’t be my first choice. Second, I knew how bitter konatsu rind is. Of course there’s a way to remove bitterness from orange rinds, but I wasn’t sure if it can work perfectly for konatsu. Nevertheless, I decided to give it a try, mainly from a curiosity. If you want to know what konatsu marmalade would taste like, there’s only one way to find out, right? Good thing that my dad uses absolutely no post-harvest agrichemicals… it’s nice not having to worry about that when using orange peels for cooking.

When I made konatsu awayuki-kan for my virtual quasi-kaiseki, I had plenty of konatsu peels left. Then I googled for konatsu marmalade recipe, not regular marmalade, because I thought that a special preparation might be necessary for the konatsu rind with extra bitterness. I found a recipe on a local farmars network's website. OK, they must know the best about the konatsu produced in this prefecture… I downsized the recipe to suit the amount of peels I had, and started the experiment (?)

I sliced konatsu peels thinly as mentioned in the recipe. The trick was rubbing the sliced konatsu peels with some salt until the white pulp turned transparent, then rinsing them 4 to 5 times. After that, the konatsu peels had to be placed in water for 3 hours to remove the bitterness.

The rest of the procedure was pretty straightforward. The sliced konatsu peels were cooked with konatsu juice, water and sugar for about an hour, then pectin and lemon juice were added. Meanwhile, in another big pot, I was boiling water to scald some empty jars and lids. Yes, I was ready to try my first canning, too.

The marmalade was too sweet when I first tasted it, so I added some more konatsu juice and lemon juice. When I finally thought it was done, believe it or not, I LOVED it, not just liked, but LOVED! The konatsu peels in the marmalade kept their refreshing flavor so well and even a little crispiness, too, but without annoying bitterness --- there was only a subtle hint of bitterness, which was just perfect to me! :D For the first time, I really enjoyed chewing on the orange peels in marmalade.

Some more googling was necessary before I decided how to do the canning. There were several different methods introduced on the net and I was so scared that the jars might explode and marmalade be scattered all over my kitchen if I did it wrong. Too much information just confused me. Should I close the lids really tight or should I make it loose? Should I keep the marmalade-filled jars completely under the surface of the boiling water or should the water be only up to the neck of the jars??? How long should I boil? Five? Ten? Or thirty-minutes? Should I set the jars upright or upside down to cool after processing?

Finally I made up my mind: I screwed the lids on very tight once and then loosened it just a little bit. My pot wasn’t deep enough to have the jars be completely covered by the water so this was the only way I could do. I heard the air coming out from the jars while processing. After 20 minutes, I took out the jars from the boiling water and placed them upside down to cool. When cooled, I saw the lids curved downward, so I knew I didn’t make a terrible mistake. (I should have removed all those bubbles, though …)

This morning I made some biscuits (thanks to santos for the quick and easy recipe ;)) using the heavy cream that I had left from making the panna cotta yesterday, and ate the biscuits with the konatsu marmalade. It was wonderful!
I also tried some marmalade with yogurt, and absolutely LOVED it, too.

Just once in a while (though not very often), I experience a great success like this. That's why I love cooking/baking ;) Oh, I’m so happy!!


Anonymous said...

Congratulations!!!! LOoks wonderful 

Posted by keona

Anonymous said...

The marmalade looks fantastic!!!! I've only really begun to appreciate marmalade as I have gotten older. Hmmmmm...I wonder what that means... But, yours looks great... would be good on an english muffin, too.. 

Posted by carlyn

Anonymous said...

I grew up with the choice of " marmalade OR marmalade" so I never really had other jams till I was much older. but I still love marmalade. 

Posted by keona

Anonymous said...

found it really Oiiishiiii ne!
Once when i searched for Omelet's pictures, i drop in this kitchen and thought of another early warm morning with tender sun shining and a cup of tee.
Just like the feeling i saw the Marmalade......
Yeap, yeap....... 

Posted by Isa

Anonymous said...

The marmalade in their little jars look so cute! =3 Your marmalade sounds and looks better than the ones I had before. Great job Obachan! ^^ 

Posted by Tea

Anonymous said...

omg... i just fall in love with your marmalade.

Posted by pJ

Anonymous said...

hi hi obachan
wow. you are such a good cook. If only I was in Japan, I could have learnt so much from you!!! The konatsu marmalade looks so yummy with your biscuit!!! *clap clap clap* 

Posted by pinkcocoa

Anonymous said...

It looks wonderful and the pictures are so pretty, it really sounds delicious as well.

I made marmalade yesterday but I'm not so sure if I really liked the taste... To much citrus peels... I'm glad that yours turned out really well though :-) 

Posted by Dagmar

Anonymous said...

> keona --- Thanks :D

> carlyn --- I, too, didn’t like marmalade so much when I was small. English muffin with marmalade sounds pretty tempting : )

> keona --- Oh, you grew up in such a nice marmalade-loving family : )

> Isa --- Welcome and thanks for your comment :D The morning sunshine in the kitchen always brightens up my day.

> Tea --- Thanks!

> pJ --- Wow! My marmalade jars are blushing now ;)

> pinkcocoa --- If I was in Australia, I would live definitely close to you and hope to be invited at teatime and/or meal time. I’d wash dishes afterwards, of course ;)

> Dagmar --- Oh what a coincidence! You made marmalade, too? Too bad it didn’t turn out the way you liked. Better luck next time : ) 

Posted by obachan

Anonymous said...

hi hi obachan
I was hoping I would be invited to tea (in South Australia, they call dinner "tea". But it's not the case in Sydney :p) at your place!! hehe then I can learn all the wonderful Japanese dishes from you :) 

Posted by pinkcocoa