Wednesday, 6 September 2017

How to make marmalade in the slow cooker!

A friend gave me a bunch (a bushel? a peck? a lot, anyway) of Pomellos that he had growing on his tree. Pomellos are a bit like a really big grapefruit. Its a citrus at any rate! Since I had a ton of lemons and a couple of oranges already, I decided to make a tri-citrus marmalade!

I wasn't in the mood to stand at the stove all day since it was so glorious outside, and when I was washing up the dishes (yes, from last night) I looked at the slow cooker and wondered... "can you make marmalade (or jam) in a slow cooker?"

It turns out the answer is yes!

Here's what I did...

I had made some straight Pomello marmalade when the Pomellos first arrived at home. I googled it and found a "boil and blend" recipe that sounded different and a bit more interesting than others. It worked really well and so I decided to use that recipe but use the slow cooker instead of the stove to do the actual cooking - that way I could multi task, make marmalade and do some gardening both at the same time!

First peel your citrus.
It doesn't matter how many you are going to use as the recipe says about two cups of sugar to each pomello - and you can taste and adjust later on!

Cut as much of the white pith of as possible unless you like really bitter marmalade.

Then cut the pomello/orange/lemon/lime into segments leaving out the tough membrane in between. This bit doesn't break down blend in well, so its best not to have in there then you wont have to fish it all out later!

 This bit is fiddly. Not so bad with the huge pomellos but not so great with the smaller fiddly citrus. I can tell you its worth it though - and it gets better from here on in!

Pop all the skins into a pot of water and boil them for about 5 minutes. Then empty the water out and do it again, And then again. Three times is usually enough to take out a lot of the bitterness in the skins. Then either cut the skins into skinny slices... or pop them in the blender!

Put all the fruit pulp that you painstakingly cut out of the membrane into the blender and then add the skins and hit the high button!

The result is this creamy mixture that when added to sugar and heat will make a really yummy thick, creamy marmalade, even if the photos are upside down and wont rotate no matter what I do!
 What I did next was measured a cup of sugar for each rough cup of pulp and popped it all in the slow cooker on high for about four or five hours. I checked it from time to time and added a bit more sugar towards the end but let it cook until the sugar had dissolved.
Once I was happy with the way the marmalade had cooked in the slow cooker, I popped a few clean jars with an inch or so of water in them into the microwave on high and boiled the water in them for a few minutes. Then I spooned the hot jam into the hot jars (after emptying the water out!) and sealed them with clean lids that had been put in boiling water as well.
I left them to cool until the lids popped down, labelled them and put them in the pantry. Job done! Yum!
This was a great way to make marmalade and I'll definitely do it again the next time I have a bunch of citrus sitting on the bench.
If you find the marmalade to bitter, decrease the amount of skins you put in (maybe half not all) or get rid of as much of the white part as possible. The pith is what's making it creamy... and bitter.
I made sure I labelled it bitter marmalade so no one gets a fright expecting sweet marmalade.
I really liked the slow cooker as I had heaps of time to do other things and didn't need to check on it every few minutes in case the marmalade got burnt or stuck or over cooked. The slow cooker was - well - slower, and I found it really worked for me. It was much easier to taste and check the consistency as it wasn't at a boil or simmer, and spitting at me.
Have you made marmalade or jam in the slow cooker before? Let me know how you went and what you thought in the comments section below!

Score card:
Green-ness: 5/5 for using fruit that was in season and falling off the trees! 
Frugal-ness: 5/5 for getting six jars of almost free marmalade ( I had to pay for the sugar!)
Time cost: About 5 hours - but there's at least four hours worth of gardening in there as well!
Skill level: pretty basic cooking and cutting skills!
Fun-ness: Great fun to have marmalade and be able to play in the garden!

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