Mermelada

7My father loves marmalade and jams. He will always say that strawberry jam is his favourite; but to be honest, after all these years observing his obsession, i have to question this as I have concluded that my dad has many favourites.

When I was a child, during our summer holidays, mom used to make both peach and blackberry jam. They were amazing. She used to buy boxes of peaches in La Rioja’s town of Haro and bring them to my grandma’s village, Abalos, where we used to spend every summer. We would all make jam and preserved peach for the whole year. I will, one day, tell you how. The kitchen quite literally became a factory.

The blackberries were a more laborious task and involved army-like strategies to make sure we foraged enough berries in order to produce enough jars of the best jam I have ever tasted.

Going back to the marmalade, the first time i ever tasted it was, of course, when my dad came home with an amazingly one made of bitter Seville Oranges. On first taste, admittedly, i was not so keen, but since that day I have tried various citrus versions which I have loved.

The tastiest one i have tasted was using Yuzu, a Japanese Citrus which I am absolutely in love with.

Cooking time: 15 minutes + overnight + 90 minutes
Quantity: This mix makes around 450ml

Tips:

1. I used mandarins because they are fresh but their flavour has something that, to me, makes them special.

2. Get a good sharp knife in order to make sure that you cut the slices as thin as you can. But please, be very careful when cutting and be even more careful with vulnerable people around you. (Not only children)
3. The citrus seeds have pectin which helps naturally the thickening of the marmalade, therefore, do not throw them, just use them!

4. Make sure that you weight the bowl where you will leave the mandarins and the water overnight on its own first. You can then add the mandarins and water, subtracting the weight of the bowl until you reach the kilogram.

Ingredients:
Day 1:
8 mandarins, very finely sliced
Mandarin peeps, save them
Cheesecloth sachet
*Water*
Day 2:
450 gr of sugar
30 leaves of basil
The juice of one lemon

Cooking Instructions:

Place the thinly sliced mandarins in a bowl and cover them with *water* until the weight reaches 1kgr. Leave them covered, overnight.

Wrap the mandarin peeps on a cheesecloth sachet and place in a small glass of water, with enough water to cover it. Leave them overnight. The pectin will transfer to the water and make an excellent thickening agent.

Next day, place the mandarins/water mix and the thickening liquid of the peeps on a pan. Squeeze the lemon on to the mix. Add the sugar and the basil and cook in a low heat for around one hour and a half.

You may want to be adventurous and spice up the mix by adding a wintery touch with two spoons of brandy and a sachet containing 3 cloves and a cinnamon stick to the citrus mix. If you think about it, it could be a great little gift.

Photograph by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate
Recipe by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate

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