We belong to a CSA for the summer. For those of you not familiar with what a CSA is, basically its a program where you pay into, and they give you weekly rations of fruits, vegetables, bread and even eggs that are locally and organically grown. I opted to buy it this summer for two reasons: one I wanted to challenge my cooking creativity (I’ve now become acquainted with three types of chard and have discovered garlic scapes) and two, I wouldn’t buy vegetables even if you paid me. So this was a nice way to incorporate some green.
To make it less boring for me (Alan loves anything green), I also bought the fruit, egg and bread share. I love fruit, and usually love to make smoothies, but this summer I had a mission – I wanted to bake my first pie. But wait, doesn’t the title say mermelada? Yes it does, I haven’t gotten enough fruit to make the pie yet.
Last week we got blueberries and raspberries. I stared at them for a while, and looked at Alan and said “How about we make some mermelada?” His eyes lit up like a kid. Bam! Mermelada it is I told myself. I know mermelada takes fruit and sugar, so I set around the Internet to find a recipe for Blueberry-Raspberry Marmalade (or Jam as everyone wants to call it). During my search I learned about the process of canning, sterilizing, and this thing called pectin.
“Pecto-what?” said Alan. P-E-C-T-I-N.
Went to Wegman’s for my jars and the Pectin. No luck. No jars; no pectin. Really? Isn’t the summer when everybody makes and can jams? Hello? Middle of fruit season?
On a whim decided to go to Target. SUCCESS! Jars in all sizes, and some sort of Pectin that I wasn’t sure about.
Alan stared at me and said “That pectin thing is a gringada. In Chile we use just the fruit and the sugar”. And really I thought, people have been making jams since before this pectin probably existed. So, no pectin it is! Now to find a damn recipe (for the rations) that uses no pectin. Alas! within five minutes I had one. Today, I’m taking the day off my research duties and decided Today was THE day I was going to make marmalade.
So here goes my foray into the American (and probably other countries) tradition of making your own marmalade. Since we had small amount of fruit there is no canning involved. I guarantee you this will last us only a couple of days.
What you will need:
- 1.5 Cups Fresh Blueberries
- 1.5 Cups Fresh Red Raspberries
- 2 Cups granulated white sugar
- 2 small or one large Ball Jar
- 2 decent size saucepan
- 1 very good spoon
- Pair of tongs
Place your jars and lids (yes I know I placed the bands instead; amateur I am) on a saucepan with enough water and simmer on medium for the duration of the process.
Rinse the blueberries (I opted not to rinse the raspberries as they were very soft). Place blueberries and raspberries in a large enough saucepan. So it doesn’t boil over, rub butter on the top inside of the saucepan.
Add the 2 cups of sugar and mix well. Set the temperature of the stove for medium low for the first 5 minutes and stir a couple of times. Then set to medium, where you will stir occasionally until you bring to a boil.
Once you bring to a boil, keep at medium heat, and stir CONSTANTLY for about ten minutes making sure nothing is sticking at the bottom. The idea is to prevent any foaming while it boils; otherwise you will need to skim the foam at the end. The mixture will turn from its initial reddish to a more deeper magenta color. I also crushed with the stirring spoon some of the blueberries.
After the 10 minutes, turn heat up to medium-high, and keep stirring CONSTANTLY. This will help accelerate the “jellying” process so you don’t have to stand there for a long time. Keep stirring for about 5-7 minutes and then turn the heat off. Keep stirring until it no longer boils. If you want to make sure the marmalade is at the jellying state you prefer, spoon out a bit to a plate and leave it at room temp (you can also pop in the fridge for a minute or so). However it sets, is how it will set after you jar it.
With tongs pick out the jars from the saucepan and drain. Pick out the lids too. Set aside. If there is any water left in the jar, turn it upside down with the tongs so it drains. Because the jars are hot, I placed them on a folded kitchen towel. Grab your marmalade mix and pour it into the jar (or jars) making sure you are scraping every little last bit. Once done wipe outside of jar with paper towel.
Once you’ve poured the mermelada in the jars, leave about a quarter inch to the top, lid and band them. Let them cool outside, until they are room temperature. Then you can store in the fridge if like me you like the mermelada cold and set. Then go to the supermarket and get some bread and follow these simple steps: