IF YOU have a lot of mandarin oranges left over from Chinese New Year, it’s time to make marmalade instead of letting them go to waste.
Marmalade is a jam or preserve made with citrus fruit, although historically the term was used for non-citrus preserves, specifically quince.
In one of the last recordings of Queen Elizabeth II, she revealed to Paddington Bear that she, too, always kept a marmalade sandwich in her handbag.
As such, mourners left stuffed bears and marmalade sandwiches at various memorial sites after her death.
Marmalade may be made with any citrus fruit such as orange, mandarins, lemon, lime, grapefruit or a combination, and it usually includes the pulp and rind.
Unlike a jam, a lot of water is boiled with the fruit to make marmalade, and the extra liquid is set by the high pectin content in citrus fruits, particularly in the seeds.
Rather than picking out the seeds after the marmalade has set, it is easier to deseed the segments beforehand.
I used a metal tea infuser to contain the seeds, but you may tie up the seeds in muslin cloth or a tea sachet.
If you like more rind in your marmalade, you may add more than the rind of two oranges. Do note that rind imparts a bitter taste, so the extra rind will add more bitterness to the marmalade.
If you have made jam or preserves before, then you would be familiar with the “jell point” test.
Just be sure to have the dish properly chilled so that you can see clearly the parting of the jelly. Chill more than one dish in the freezer so that you have another dish to use in the event the first test shows the marmalade hasn’t set.
When the marmalade has sufficiently jelled, transfer it immediately into sterilised glass jars and twist on the caps while they are still piping hot.
If properly made, marmalade can be stored in a cool dry place for about a year or in the refrigerator for about three years.
Mandarin orange marmalade
2kg mandarin oranges, about 15 fruits
A pinch of salt
2 cups hot water
750g granulated sugar
3 cups cold water
Juice from 1 lemon, about 5 tbsp
About 5-6 glass jars, sterilised in boiling water for 30 minutes.
Scrub the oranges well under running water and peel the rind. Save the rind of two oranges and finely julienne. Soak the rind with a pinch of salt in hot water for 10 minutes and drain well.
Separate each segment of the oranges, then remove the seeds with a skewer. Place the seeds, which are full of pectin, into a tea infuser or muslin cloth, to use as a jelling agent.
Place the orange segments, water, lemon juice, sugar, rind and seeds into a large pot and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium low and let it simmer for about 90 minutes to 2 hours uncovered, stirring occasionally until the liquid is reduced to half and reaches jell point.
To test for jell point, chill a small dish in the freezer for about an hour. Place a small dollop of jam on the chilled dish and run a finger across the middle of the puddle. When the jam has reached jell point, the two separated pools should remain parted.
Ladle the hot jam into sterilised jars, leaving a 1cm gap from the top and twist on the caps while the jam is still hot. Allow to cool completely before serving.
Spread on bread or with chilled butter on toast.