DIY for the Holidays: Marmalade

Who wouldn't like the gift of sunshine in a jar?
SFoodie's weekly guide to food-crafting gifts for the holidays.

If there's one thing we do well in California, it's citrus. Practically every kind of lemon, orange, lime, grapefruit, clementine, and kumquat can be found here, and they're in full fruit right now. So what better gift to give, especially to those in less sunny climes, than sunshine in a jar?

Marmalades as a category are fruit preserves using citrus, rind and all. The rind is full of pectin, which gives a good set, but also makes for a bitter, astringent note. This is typically offset with mountains of sugar. Diet food it's not, but delicious it is.

Orange marmalade is the classic, made with extra-bitter Seville oranges ― but these are perhaps the only kind not in abundance here. So, grab an orange of choice and mix it up with some quince and cardamom, why not? Or how about blood oranges and port?

Marisa McClellan/Food in Jars
Cranberry marmalade.
​Confession: I have a strange peccadillo. I hate oranges. Just do. But all other citrus enchant me. Even clementines, so a marmalade from those would suit me fine. Or perhaps with lemons, married with honey, or better yet rum. And grapefruit, my beloved grapefruit, in a Persian marmalade would be to die for.

Sidebar: Not all marmalades are citrus. Sometimes combining things like cranberries and dried apricots can yield the same sweet-tart-bitter bite.

Once you know how to cut your fruit appropriately, the sky's the limit. Kaffir lime? Yuzu? Kalamansi? The siren song of marmalade is strong stuff indeed.

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Sean Timberlake is the founder of Punk Domestics, a content and community site for DIY food enthusiasts.
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