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is there any advantage to using Nigella's marmalade recipe?

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In her "Domestic Goddess" cookbook, she begins her grapefruit marmalade recipe by simmering the grapefruits, whole, for two hours. Then she chops them up and cooks them with sugar until it sets. What might be the benefit to this technique? I guess it combines the steps of blenching the bitterness out of the pith and cooking it until soft. But I imagine the pulp would be quite a mess to slice up after this process.

Anybody want to weigh in on this one?

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  1. her clementine cake recipe begins the same way. you can whizz the fruits in a processor with little mess or mush them in a bowl too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      Yeah, I've made the clementine cake. I've made marmalade too, just not by this method.

    2. Actually, this is the classic method for making marmalade from Seville oranges - I have it in a couple of different cookbooks, plus it was taught me by a Brit expat who introduced me to making marmalade at home. The main advantage is actually for non-juicy fruit like Seville (sour) oranges, where it's not really practical to do as advised in many modern recipes - squeeze the juice/scrape any remaining pulp and set aside, remove, shred and blanch the peel, then recombine the parts with sugar and cook. I make a 3-citrus marmalade by the second method because I can't get sour oranges easily, and can't imagine using Nigella's technique, but it does work well for what it was designed for.

      3 Replies
      1. re: hymncat

        hymncat, would you mind sharing your recipes for marmalade, please.

        1. re: Wtg2Retire

          Sorry I'm so far behind on this - have been dealing with sick cats and crazy schedules.

          The recipe I use for 3-fruit marmalade comes from Harrod's Book of Jams, Jellies and Chutneys (single best source I've found for traditional and creative recipes out of the English tradition). With my modifications, it's as follows:

          6 small oranges (Valencia, Pineapple or other juice oranges)
          2 [small] red grapefruit [I use peel of only 1]
          juice of 1 large lime
          5 pints water
          sugar

          Wash fruit and cut in half; squeeze the juice (including any pulp) into a bowl or glass measure, and reserve the seeds separately. I then cut the rinds in half again for convenience, pull out the membranes, and if the peels have a lot of white pith, remove some of it. My preference is to leave the pith no more than 1/8" thick. (Save the membranes and the pith.) If you want fancy marmalade, slice the orange and grapefruit rinds into strips as thin as you can manage. If you want quick marmalade, toss the rinds in the food processor, I guess, but I don't have one. I also prefer shred to chunky.
          Put the seeds, pith and membranes in a pan with water to barely cover. Simmer for maybe 15 minutes, then strain into a glass measure. [Squeeze hard - this is a good bit of your pectin!]
          Put the shredded peel into a large pot and, including the liquid from simmering the seeds etc, add a total of 5 pints of water/cooking liquid.Simmer the peel partially covered until very tender, 1 hour or more. [recipe adds baking soda and cooks 1 1/2 hours]
          Measure the juice and pulp, measure the peel, and for every 2 1/2 cups of that mixture, add 2 2/3 cups of granulated sugar. [I like to heat the sugar in a 350 oven first, until hot but not changing color.] Stir until sugar is dissolved, then bring to boil and simmer about 10 minutes, stirring as needed, until setting point is reached. Pack and seal.

          1. re: hymncat

            Thank you so very much. I love marmalade and am always on the lookout for T&T recipes. This one sounds excellent. Hope your cats are okay now. And believe me, I know all about schedules.

      2. Just made this recipe about a month ago. Surprisingly the fruit wasn't any messier to deal with than if it were fresh. The upside with boiling is after a bit, a bunch of the wax boiled off the skin and clumped together - I just wiped it off with some paper towel and continued boiling for the remaining two hours. Also, the skin peeled off the fruit very easily - I chopped them up separately, which may have helped keep things from getting messy. But even with the boiling the recipe is still rather bitter but I guess that's marmalade for you, lol! I made meyer lemon marmalade the month before and it's just faintly bitter, so the grapefruit recipe was quite a contrast. If I were to make it again, I might not include as much of the pith - or maybe none at all. Then I guess it'd just be jam at that point...