Christmas is one week away, and whether you are the type who has all your presents sorted weeks ahead or the one who goes into panic mode at the very last minute, Christmas is expensive. Especially on a student budget. If, like singer Paolo Nutini you are ‘short on money but long on time’ here is an alternative that will instantly get you into the Christmas cheer.
Earlier this year I discovered just how easy it is to make your own jam. As I cannot think of a single person among my family and friends who does not like jam/marmelade, the idea of taking a day out to produce an industrial amount of marmelade to then give away as presents was irresistable. Instead of faffing about in the shops seeking out expensive and impersonal items (it should be noted I have absolutely no talent for buying presents) – I would be in the calm of my kitchen making something that people might actually enjoy. Hurrah! Christmas is saved.
As for the content of the jam, options are endless – what you can’t get fresh you can get frozen – leaving you with plenty of space to get creative. In the end I opted for a citrus variety with indulgent vanilla and Grand Marnier for a warming winter number. You want to aim for something that is to everyone’s taste but with a twist. How my gifts will be received I have little idea – I’ll have to be a patient girl and wait and wait until Christmas Eve.
Makes 4-6 jars:
1½ kg sugar
1½ kg citrus fruits (unwaxed), such as oranges, clementines, lemons and limes
1 tbsp Grand Marnier
1 vanilla pod, sliced open lengthways
pectin, optional (see step 5)
1. Put fruits in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about an hour.
2. Remove fruits from the saucepan and leave them to cool. Slice them into quarters and discard any seeds.
3. Put in a blender – blend until you have smooth paste with small bits of pulp and skin.
4. Put fruit and sugar in a large saucepan with a sliced vanilla pod and Grand Marnier. Bring to a rolling boil, then simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Test to see if the marmalade has set: spoon a little onto a cold plate, leave for a minute and then push the jam with your finger. If the marmalade crinkles and separates without flooding back, setting point has been reached. NB: If your marmalade doesn’t set at this point you may have to use a little pectin to help things along. (Although technically, if you use pectin you’re making jam not marmelade!)
- Leave for 15 minutes or until cool and pour into sterilised jars.
Tip: you can customise and print your own labels from this website (in Danish so you’ll learn a little, too…)