The old saying goes that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Well, this weekend life gave me oranges, so I made marmalade.
A few weeks ago I tried the Too Good To Go app, and have had nothing but good results saving food from being wasted since. Yesterday I noticed my local organic supermarket was listing fruit and veg on there, so I decided to try it and see what I got.
I’d noticed my kitchen cupboards were bursting, so I’d already decided to not buy any food this week and try and use what’s there: adding a surprise bag of fruit and vegetables to the mix was going to make me a bit more creative with this challenge.
I was amazed by the amount of stuff I got and was quite heartened to see that things were visibly past their best – this food would definitely be thrown away if I hadn’t bought it. Of course, this means that I had to act quickly to save it. The peppers and cauliflower we cut up and roasted to use for future dinners (I’ll turn the peppers into a pasta sauce later in the week), the lettuce we used with some bread and eggs, and the mango I passed on to a friend because I don’t like them.
With the oranges, I used the zest of one to make Nigella’s delicious orange and cumin cake from At My Table, and after becoming inspired after watching Paddington 2 the other night, I decided to try making marmalade with the other one.
I scaled down a recipe from The Guardian, but it was so hard chosing one as there were so many different varieties – it was quite overwhelming. After realising that the worst thing that could happen is that I end up with four jars of sweet, orange sauce, I forged ahead and commenced the long progress.
It seemed to take forever for the marmalade to reach the magic temperature of 104C, but the sugary mixture noticeably changed colour and looked thicker after half an hour of boiling. I did try the wrinkle test that various website recommended with no success, so I just relied on my eyes and the right temperature to judge when it was ready. Honestly, who knows how it’s going to turn out!
I sterilised four spare glass jars and managed to fill all of them without a drop to spare which was incredibly satisfying. Looking at them now, a day later, they look good but haven’t seemed to thicken up yet. I’ll wait another day before I try it, but honestly, unless the taste is out of the world, I don’t think I’ll be making it again. Although I’m happy I managed to save the oranges, it was quite a long and frustrating process that I didn’t enjoy that much.