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Marmalade advice needed fast: cooking in the oven?

TheSnowpea Mar 1, 2009 08:36 AM

Hi folks,

I got it in my head to make Seville orange marmalade, and got everything ready... but my ceramic topped stove cannot seem to bring the boiling mixture above 212F, and I need to reach 220F for the pectin to gel (note to self: NEVER purchase a ceramic top again).

I'm heating the oven now, in hopes that at least this will get the marmalade at 220F. Maybe the convection setting will also accelerate the heating.

Has anybody tried this approach?

  1. greygarious Mar 1, 2009 08:45 AM

    I have no experience with using an oven for this purpose. In your position, I would use the microwave, or the heaviest non-reactive pot I have (enameled cast iron), and/or reduce the volume and cook it in batches, any of which should enable you to reach a higher temp. I have a 30-yr old electric cooktop so I'm all-too-familiar with the limited BTU-ability. Make sure your pot is absolutely flat-bottomed (hold it against a straight edge; there should be no daylight visible) since only the areas that touch the ceramic get full heat.

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious
      TheSnowpea Mar 1, 2009 09:44 AM

      The pot is fine; it's the cooktop that's too weak. Thanks for the microwave idea. It's a hassle: I'm microwaving this gigantic batch in 2 cup batches and jarring them one by one. Egads.

      This thread helped: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/475758

    2. r
      rememberme Mar 1, 2009 10:22 AM

      I made marmalade recently, also couldn't reach 220 (hung at 212 for FOREVER!) I got bored, added store-bought pectin, brought it back to a ferocious boil for 1 minutes, then jarred it and did a 10-minute water bath. And it's great. In a moment of forgetting that I'm not a purist, I had decided to rely only on the pectin in the seeds. I'm glad I had powdered pectin around.

      11 Replies
      1. re: rememberme
        TheSnowpea Mar 1, 2009 11:15 AM

        what sort of cooktop do you have? I'm wondering if the problem is there, or if there is a 212F plateau that must be overcome with long cooking.

        1. re: TheSnowpea
          MikeG Mar 1, 2009 03:39 PM

          "or if there is a 212F plateau that must be overcome with long cooking."

          Yes, there is, just as there would be making "cooked sugar" - ie, hard candy, fudge, etc. It's a PITA process where it sits at each plateau then when the temp starts to move again, it moves pretty quickly.

          1. re: MikeG
            TheSnowpea Mar 1, 2009 04:45 PM

            Ah! So I guess I panicked and jumped the gun.

            In any case, of the nine 250 mL jars produced, three failed to set. I plan on unsealing those and microwaving them individually again. Sticky business. Tasty too. LOL

            (In case someone wonders, the recipe was from David Lebovitz's website. His instructions were clear and the results are delicious... I'm just not very good with jam making!)

            1. re: TheSnowpea
              rememberme Mar 2, 2009 07:20 AM

              Is there are reason why you aren't adding pectin and just doing it that way?

              1. re: rememberme
                TheSnowpea Mar 2, 2009 08:10 PM

                Pride, dammit, vainglorious PRIDE! LOL

                And also the fact that oranges and their seeds, which I had carefully double wrapped in cheesecloth, are "jam-packed" (yes, I pun, me bad) with pectin, so I felt I didn't need the pectin.

                1. re: TheSnowpea
                  cayjohan Mar 2, 2009 08:47 PM

                  Sally forth TheSnowpea! Jams don't neeeeeed to be so dense! (Sez who?) A nice loose marmalade is, to me, preferable than some over-pectined jelly. Very spreadable, and hence more delectable on toast. Cay

                  1. re: TheSnowpea
                    rememberme Mar 4, 2009 03:34 AM

                    Ah, yes. I'm only able to sustain my pride for an hour or two, and then I remember that I'm not a purist and I give in the easiest way, in this case, pectin. Interestingly, though, I made two batches. The first cooked and cooked and cooked, and finally I added the pectin. It's quite stiff. The second batch cooked for a shorter time and started to burn, after which I added the pectin, and it's much looser.

                    1. re: rememberme
                      TheSnowpea Mar 8, 2009 08:02 PM

                      Interestingly, the looser marmalade jars had set nicely the next day. It's firm, and we've gone through two jars already. And I purchased more Sevilles today. I must be a masochist.

                      Y'see, I remembered we've got a camp stove, and *that* might do the trick.

                2. re: TheSnowpea
                  mwright Mar 3, 2009 06:07 AM

                  I've been making marmalade for years and have never even wondered about the temperature. I cook by time and by the "cold plate jelling" method and I never have problems. (of course, i usually use limes or grapefruit, which probably have more natural pectin).

                3. re: MikeG
                  karykat Mar 3, 2009 08:04 AM

                  I have often wondered about these plateaus, for example in making cooked sugar. It seems like sometimes the temp stays at the plateau forever and sometimes moves through it more quickly. What is the variable (amount of heat?) and is it better to stay at the plateau longer or to push it?


                4. re: TheSnowpea
                  rememberme Mar 4, 2009 03:31 AM

                  Gas. BUt not much of it -- it's an inexpensive stove. I would love more BTUs.

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