Monday, March 18, 2013

Homemade Cranberry Marmalade

Remember those yummie cookies  I picked up in Dusseldorf a while ago? Well, I was contemplating making them myself but I couldn't decide what type of marmalade to use. They had cranberry marmalade in them, but I didn't think I would find any marmalade here that would do. I considered using raspberry jam, because I really really like raspberries and it's always a good combo with chocolate and sweets. However faith had other plans for me, my favorite fruit and veggie stall on the market had an awesome deal on cranberries. Just €1 for a whole bag! So of course I bought them and tried my hand at making my own marmalade.

Now, please don't try to be smart and preach to me about the difference between jam and marmalade. I'm aware there's a difference (no citrus rinds vs. citrus rinds) but it's not really significant and I just prefer saying marmalade. I think it sounds a bit fancier or at leased less ordinary :)

Niws making marmalade is easy breezy. You just put all your ingredients in a pan and heat it up. Yes, that's all there is to it! However there are some things to consider:
  • firm or liquid texture?
  • apple cider vinegar or water?
  • pectin or citrus rind/juice?
  • regular sugar or jam sugar?
Choices, choices, choices. Here's a helpful article to read through  before you make any major decisions... hahaha. I'ts not rocket science people. Just have some fun with it!

Ok so why I chose what: I chose to make a little firmer type of marmalade cause I'me going to use it in cookies and I don't want it adding extra moisture to my dough. Cranberries don't have a lot of juice to them, so I used a combo of hot water and some unpasteurized biological apple cider vinegar to help it cook. The apple cider vinegar also has some pectin in it, so there's no need to add more pectin to my mix. This also meant I didn't need to use jam sugar which actually is sugar with pectin added to it.
FYI, apparently pectin is this substance in plant cells that works as a gelling agent. What else... Oh yes, the citrus rind. I don't like it, so I didn't use it hahaha.

Now about the sterilizing of your jars. There are many ways to go about doing this. Some easy, some hard. As you might have noticed, I like nice and easy recipes. So here's what I did: I washed my jar very very thoroughly. Then while it was still a bit wet I poured some vodka in and turned and swooshed it so the vodka had covered every corner. I then poured out the excess vodka and put the jar in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. The lid I used is metal, so not exactly microwave proof. I washed it thoroughly and just left it to dry. Then just before using, I poured piping hot water on it, then some vodka. I simply threw out the excess and popped it on my jar.

All and all I think I was finished in 10-15 minutes. It's really not hard at all. The trickiest part is taking notice of all the things that might give you bad marmalade. Like fruit that isn't cooked through properly, mold or rotten fruit etc. The rest just comes down to using common sense and following your taste buds.
One last tip: If you might have spilled some marmalade on the neck of your jar, just use a vodka infused cotton ball to wipe it clean. Wiping it wit anything else will just increase your chances of getting molded or putrid marmalade.
Now on to the cookies!

  • 200 gr fresh cranberries (that is after sorting the bad berries out)
  • 100 gr sugar
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar (unpasteurized)
  • 5 tbsp hot water
  • lemon juice (I didn't use any)

  1. Wash the cranberries thoroughly. Pick out any bad ones and leave to drain a little.
  2. wash cranberries pick out bad ones
  3. Place cranberries in a sauce pan and mush them a bit. Add sugar and apple cider and cook on medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir frequently. 
  4. Press down on the berries with your spoon to make them cook faster. Continue cooking until all your fruits are cooked completely. Continue to stir frequently.
  5. add to pan cook through
  6. Check how it tastes and add more sugar or some lemon juice if necessary.
  7. Now increase the heat and bring to a boil. Stir frequently.
  8. Once your marmalade has reached the desired consistency turn of the heat.
  9. cranberry marmalade jar it up
  10. Heat up your sterilized jar in the microwave for 1 minute and pour marmalade in (DO NOT ADD HOT FOOD TO COLD JARS!). Place the lid on immediately and turn jar upside down. Supposedly this turning upside down helps preserve the jam better. I don't know whether it's true, but it at leased takes care of any unwanted condensation forming on top :) 
  11. Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes and then return it to normal upright position. Leave it to cool completely before storing it in your refrigerator.
  12. upside down right side up

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