Jams and Marmalades (picture culled from 'Jams and Jellies by Elise feb '06)
I’m yet to find anyone near me who makes jam from scratch and I want to use this medium to encourage us all to tinker our adventurous sides by trying something new.
I’m talking about Marmalades and Jams, specifically marmalades, If like me you are a DIY buff, you might start considering creating food items from scratch.
I started baking bread for my household only about a year ago, it came as a surprise to many people that I didn’t really know how to bake bread for such a long time, I mean, they think it's a given that I should be able to bake bread since I make cakes. Any way, after mastering the techniques and skills for bread, I thought to myself what better way to enjoy this home-made bread than with some home-made marmalades and jams! I tell you, once you start on that path of making/growing your own food and enjoying it, you are hooked! I essentially grow my own veggies, plantains and bananas (which I inherited as we moved into our house).
Tell you what, baking bread requires yeasts (quick-breads require baking powder) while cakes need baking powder, however, baking with yeast and baking with baking powder are two different turfs entirely! With bread you are trying to work the flour's gluten to the utmost elasticity while with cakes your are trying to temper the gluten content of the flour to the bearest minimum to achieve a fluffy texture, so you really need to understand the dynamics of achieving these two very opposite objectives...
...back to my latest discovery - how to make marmalade from scratch; I'm only going to mention it and point you to the two websites that best describe the procedure in a very simplified way in my opinion.
I never used to like marmalades because of the bitter taste; however, I discovered a type of orange marmalade that's worth a million dollars if you get it right, it's called 'seville orange marmalade'! It’s made from 'bitter orange' a small species of orange with very little gastronomic use however, very prized for its excellent marmalades. If you live in Lagos, Nigeria, you can readily find bitter oranges in ‘Mile 12' or 'Oyingbo' Markets. I'm already making enquiries where I can find it in Ghana as well as other parts of West Africa.
I read the seeds are huge on pectin and it was a farmer's wife’s accidental discovery!
View this two websites on how to make the very best of serville marmalade (by the way, jams are just a sweet variation of marmalades): http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2007/02/seville_orange.html
Going back to the basics of home-making is fun, I tell people; it’s the next sexy thing after acquiring an education! It absolutely doesn’t diminish your sassiness or intelligence to be a domestic goddess! It worries me when people say 'I never knew you could pound yam! or 'you mean you actually own a farm?!' Like pounding yam and going to farm (or anything rustic and simply down-to-earth for that matter!) is relegated to low-brows, zombie-good-for-nothing house wives!
Thanks Esinam (I love your middle name!) for following this blog, let me know how far you've gone with baking and share any challenges you've encountered in the process, that is how to take it to the next level!
Ok peeps, tip for the week:
Know what you want to achieve with sugarcraft and understand what it takes to make it come true.