Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Just Another Lemon Tree....

European heritage breeds hairs on my chin, and I think too much about marmalade as I pluck them out with pointed tweezers.

Citrus fruit doesn't have enough pectin to produce a set jam on its own...
...But, if you soak the seeds overnight in the smallest bit of water, or slowly simmer them in a muslin cloth with your other ingredients, more than enough of this magic setting agent will be produced.

As I leave the bathroom with its perfect hair removal sun to observe the pot of bubbling syrup, I wonder at the simple ratios - 1:1:1 - liquid : fruit : sugar, coalescing in the pot - they say three is the magic number, after all.

Occasional stirring and lid adjusting, I wonder from where I garnered a love of these antiquated skills, tossing in cloves for hidden depth, I wonder who the role model for this was.... I own the 1970s staple Women's Weekly Cookbook, and little else of this nature, have no childhood memories of preserving, save peach dehydration in a particularly good season, I have not sought out these wifely skills, they have simply been absorbed, like the sugar and heat into the now translucent lemonade lemon rinds in the marmalade pot.

The jam thickens and I wonder that I don't eat jam, but make it still. The sugary condiment is simply not my childhood favourite - cinnamon and sugar on toast. Jam is for scones, and the family disagreement - aestheics vs. propriety reigns - jam then cream then scone or cream then jam then scone? Is butter not made from cream? Does he whip need to be preserved so much that it cannot support the weight of jam?

The ripples appear on the spoonful of mixture on the frozen saucer. Time to bottle. Then to sleep. 10pm is no time to begin making marmalade.