Clementines are really cheap in the shops at the moment so I ended up buying two and a half kilograms of them; I've been eating several of them a day but wanted to make something to use a few of them up.
I really enjoy preserving, particularly when it is cold and dark outside; there is something comforting about the process and winter just makes me want to hole up at home and stockpile homemade foods so I chose to make marmalade with them.
The wonderful smell of it simmering away on the stove will also make your house smell like an orange grove, which is enough to brighten up even the most miserable and wet of days.
You can make marmalade with pretty much any citrus fruit, no need to stick to oranges; and this clementine marmalade is really delicious; it is slightly less bitter than regular marmalade, but still not cloyingly sweet.
It is also a great way to use them up if like me you've ended up with a few too many, and it makes a lovely homemade gift (particularly if you are making it before Christmas).
I'm not going to lie, it does take a while to make, but apart from slicing up the clementines it is mostly hands-off work and none of it is particularly difficult; the satisfaction of making your own delicious marmalade is more than reward enough for the work.
I made six jars worth (in a range of sizes so I can't give an exact amount), but it is simple enough to halve the recipe to just make a couple of jars; or to double it if you want to make a large batch to give away (provided you've got a big enough pan!).
There are a couple of simple flavour variations that you can try as well - add about five split cardamom pods to the bag of pips for clementine cardamom flavour; or mix in a dash of whisky or Cointreau once the marmalade has reached setting point for a grown-up twist.
I was sent a ThermoPop thermometer to review, which is a new thermometer from the makers of Thermapen. The Thermapen is basically the top dog of thermometers, boasting a large, easy-to-read rotating display, simple button-free operation, impressive accuracy and precision, a slim probe, a huge range, the ability to switch between Centigrade and Fahrenheit, and temperature read times of under three seconds.
It is pretty much unbeatable, and mine is an utterly indispensable tool for cooking meat, making jams/preserves, confectionery, deep frying and bread baking. However, retailing from £48 it isn't exactly cheap and that is where the ThermoPop comes in.
The ThermoPop retails at an affordable £19.80 and boasts many of the same features as the Thermapen. It is a more compact size with a slim probe and it comes with a cover that can clip onto a pocket so that the thermometer is easy to have to hand.
The screen is relatively large and easy to read and has a backlit display for when you have to reach into the oven or are cooking in low light; it also has an auto power off function to save battery.
A click of a small button rotates the display 90 degrees, so that it can be read from any angle, including upside down. It can be switched between Centigrade and Fahrenheit, is waterproof and is currently available in a choice of red, white or blue colours.
With the massive drop in price between the Thermapen and the ThermoPop you've got to lose something, but fortunately it isn't much. There is a minor drop in temperature read time - from 3 seconds down to 5 or 6; and there is a small downgrade in accuracy and precision - the Thermapen is accurate to ±0.4°C and the ThermoPop to ±1°C, but for most household cooking this shouldn't present a problem at all.
I've been using my ThermoPop loads over the Christmas period (including to check for the setting point of this clementine marmalade) and it has been incredibly useful and accurate.
I think that for an inexpensive thermometer it is probably the best on the market and is absolutely worth buying if you don't want to shell out for the Thermapen.
It is incredibly versatile and I think that a thermometer is a pretty essential kitchen tool that makes cooking so much easier and takes out the guesswork; I would recommend that everyone who cooks or bakes regularly should own one and the ThermoPop is definitely a safe bet.
- 1 kg clementines
- 3 large lemons, juice and pips
- 2 litres water
- 1 kg granulated sugar
- Scrub the clementines clean, remove the stalks and use a sharp knife to chop them into thin slices, no more than a couple of mm thick; then cut the slices into small pieces - the size of the pieces of zest will be the size of the pieces of shred in the marmalade so you can slice them really finely if you like small bits, or thicker if you prefer a chunkier marmalade. Reserve the pips then tip the sliced clementines and any juice into a large, heavy bottomed saucepan.
- Juice the lemons into the pan, reserving the pips; then place the reserved lemon and clementine pips into a piece of muslin cloth, tie it tightly and place in the pan. Alternatively you can use a tea infuser.
- Add the water to the pan then bring to the boil. Turn down to a gentle simmer and cook for 2 hours, until the peel is tender. At this point you can remove the pan from the heat, cover, and set aside overnight before proceeding; or you can proceed straight away.
- Remove the bag of pips from the pan and allow to cool until you can safely handle it. Squeeze the bag over the pan making sure that you extract as much juice as possible.
- Sterilise about 6 jam jars and lids by washing them in hot soapy water, rinsing well, then placing in a low oven until dry. I just leave them in the oven until needed. Place a couple of saucers in the freezer.
- Add the sugar to the pan and place over a gentle heat. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved then turn up the heat. Cook at a rapid boil until the marmalade reaches 105C/221F, about 10-15 minutes.
- To check if the marmalade has reached setting point, remove the pan from the heat and place a teaspoonful on one of the frozen saucers, place in the fridge for a minute then push at it with a fingertip; if the surface wrinkles when pushed then it is ready. If not, bring it back up to a rapid boil for another five minutes then test for a set again.
- Once the marmalade has reached setting point, remove from the heat and leave to settle for 15 minutes before ladling it into the warm sterilised jars (never pour hot jam into cold jars). Place the lids on and set aside until cool. Store in a cool, dry place.
This post is sponsored by ThermoPop, opinions are as always my own; thank you for supporting the brands that keep Domestic Gothess running.