Sunday, April 03, 2005
copper preserving pan with marmelade
A parishioner's knock at the door brought a small basketful of scraggly carrots, some of the last from her cellar. After thanking her for her contribution, I set them on the table, wondering what to do with them, as several other baskets had arrived in a similar manner recently. I now had plenty for soups and stews and an occasional pie. Aha! I had an orange and a lemon--I would make marmelade.
I scrubbed and peeled the carrots, removing any core, and then finely grated them into my large copper preserving pan. I sliced the orange and lemon into very fine slices and then cut the slices into eighths, adding them and their juice to the carrots, along with some sugar. A quick stir to help in dissolving the sugar and then I set the pan on the trivet in the fireplace, adding coals underneath to start the pan simmering. After the carrots began to soften, I checked the set of my preserves by dropping a bit of the syrup onto a cold plate. When I counted to 25, I tilted the plate and since the syrup stayed where it was and didn't run, I took the pan off the heat and immediately ladled the marmelade into pots, set them to cool, then sealed them with circles of white paper dipped in brandy. A square of cloth tied over the rim of the pot and into the jam cupboard they went, ready to use for breakfast, dessert or to cheer someone on my next visiting round.