Marmalade Making: Pith or No Pith?
I've embarked on my first adventures in marmalade making. Well, it's also my first time making any sort of perserve on my own. (Helped Mom a few times as kid.) I cooked my first batch yesterday, which I burned ("remove from heat while conducting the jelly test") and threw away. Okay, so following the directions is important.
I wasn't too upset about losing the batch because I thought leaving the pith in had made it a little bitter. This was from taste tests before I burned it. The recipe said to use the pith, so I did. I haven't eaten much marmalade in my life - maybe it's supposed to be a little bitter? We just moved to a place w/ citrus trees on the property and I thought marmalade would be a great way to use the fruit.
I've been doing some further reading on marmalade making... Some recipes specifically say to include pith, some just call for "peel."
My questions to you guys are:
What is the importance of the pith?
Do I need to use it even if the recipe calls for it?
Does the term "peel" include both the rind and the pith?
Is marmalade supposed to taste a little bitter?
I always include at least some of the pith, depending on the fruit. With relatively thin-skinned fruits like most oranges, lemons and limes I use all the pith. Grapefruit can be overwhelmingly pithy so I trim some of it off. I like a distinctly bitter marmalade, that's what makes it different from regular preserves.
Definitely use the pith. The bitterness will mellow out after a while but not totally, that's the great thing about marmelade.
I believe the pith contains alot of pectin which helps the marmelade set.
I used seville oranges in January to make marmelade which I remember has a crazy thick pith and I trimmed it up to about 1/4 - 1/2 inch, including peel.
The one time I made marmalade, I left the pith on. It tasted bitter during cooking, but mellowed out in the jar after awhile because of all the sugar in marmalade. I like things that aren't too sweet, so the pith took away a little of the sweet edge without actually tasting bitter.