NZ Forest Native Birds

Pressure Cooker Marmalade

This recipe makes about 2.3 kg (5 lb) so make sure you have an appropriate number of jam jars.

700 g (1.5 lb) citrus fruit
900 ml (30 fl.oz) water
1.4 kg (3 lb) sugar
1 teaspoon citric acid (optional)

I like to use mostly grapefruit and at least 1 lemon but a lot depends on how much you favour the bitter quality that is so much a characteristic of marmalade. Seville oranges (or any bitter type of orange) are also very good.

Wash fruit, cut in half and squeeze out the juice. Also scoop out the white centre from the grapefruit. Put this, with the pips from all the fruit, in a muslin bag. Cut all the skins into thin slices or, if you are using your food processor, cut them into quarters before inserting in the machine’s funnel. If you don’t have a muslin bag you can use a little square of mutton cloth (also called cheese cloth) tied up with a small piece of string.

Put the sliced fruit, the muslin bag of pips, the juice and water into a pressure cooker. Bring up to high pressure and cook for 20 minutes. If you don’t have a pressure cooker it might take about an hour and you will certainly need more water, but I’ve no idea how much. Reduce pressure (you’re supposed to do this slowly but I’m afraid I put the cooker under a running tap until it makes a noise like a huge sigh) allow the fruit to cool a little, then make sure the peel is really soft by squeezing it between the thumb and forefinger. Remove the muslin bag and squeeze the juice from it back into the cooker. Discard the bag’s contents and wash the bag for future use. Add the sugar to the pressure cooker and stir until it is dissolved. Return the uncovered cooker to the heat and boil rapidly, stirring all the time until the setting point is reached. I found with fruit from friends this took 15-20 minutes for each of three lots of marmalade, whereas with fruit on special at the supermarket it took over half-an-hour. The citric acid can be added almost any time during cooking.

To test the mixture, pour a little onto the inside of the pressure cooker lid (stainless steel is colder than a china saucer). It is ready when, on cooling, it forms a skin and wrinkles like folded leather. Allow the cooker to cool for about 10 minutes before stirring the marmalade and potting it. I use jam jars with those lids that pop in the centre as the jam cools.

Your jars and lids can be sterilised while you are waiting for the mixture to cool. When I made this jam I still had my microwave so I half filled the jars with hot water and put them in the microwave on high until the water bubbled. Let it boil for at least 30 seconds before removing the jars. I don’t bother to dry them inside. A little water doesn’ seem to affect the marmalade and drying them would undo the sterilisation. To sterilise the lids put them in a heat-proof bowl and pour boiling water over them.

Here’s a photograph of some of the last lot of marmalade I made, from grapefruit on special at the supermarket.

Laraine's home-made marmalade

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