I still had sour oranges left from Padi’s pickings so when, after a light lunch of wet sabji and pooris, my husband took the goslings to the splash park, I headed upstairs for some citrus squeezing. To give the jam some texture, I zested the peel, making my creation a very easy marmalade.
By using the zest I quickened the marmalade process and also ensured that my end result would not be bitter–something I am happy about. Since the oranges were oh so sour and since they only produced a quart of juice, I used a full sugar recipe (55%).
I am sure marmalade purists would disapprove. When making a traditional marmalade, the peel is carefully cut away from the orange and julienned, with only a thin part of the white stuff on the underside. This is the bitter part. Also, water is added to the juice. Preferring a more concentrated and intense flavor, I went full juice, adding no water. Of course, this gave me a smaller yield but I don’t mind.
After pouring the jars I set them on the countertop. It was around 2 pm and the winter sun was low in the sky. Light beamed in through the old window behind the jars and lit up the marmalade like molten sunshine.
Unlike cooking a meal, which is quickly eaten and forgotten (what to speak of digested and excreted), jam making brings a satisfaction that is less ephemeral. After the pot boils and the jam is packed, the satisfaction of jam making lingers long past morning breakfast of toast and the latest jam. Months, even years later, a jar of jam may hang around, waiting for the lid to be twisted, the seal to pop. In this way, the moment of enjoyment expands beyond the normal limits of time and expiration and anticipation. Jam is a tasty delight that need not be savored right away. Jam can be cooked and canned and forgotten. And remembered at just the right moment, some time in the future, when faced with a naked cheesecake, a bare croissant or a burning curiosity to travel back in time and taste a season.
I’m hiding these jars until all the citrus in the shops is, once again, California fresh.