Marmasun for 2020
Jerusalem artichokes are infuriating, frustrating, effortless and wonderful vegetables to grow and eat. Growing them is no problem at all, you can pretty much leave them to their own devices and they will pop up every year producing an abundance of strange lumpy roots.
Not so convenient is their unendearing habit of total garden invasion, they get everywhere. Then there is the sometimes explosive effects of the inulin, a soluble fibre that passes through the human digestive system until bacteria in the colon get to work on it thus creating gases.
But the flavour is wonderful, nutty, sweet, creamy, a pleasant crunch and a soft, light puree and soup, worth any potential discomfort in my opinion.
Ideally a tasty recipe which has no after effects would be a winner and so far this one seems to be without post enjoyment discomfort.
3 pounds ripe oranges
3 pounds washed and peeler jerusalem artichokes
4 cups water
6 cups sugar
3 pint jars with sealable lids
Wash and dry the oranges. Use a sharp vegetable peeler or paring knife, remove the brightly coloured zest—and only the brightly coloured zest—from the oranges. Be sure to leave behind any and all of the white pith directly underneath, it is very bitter.
Chop the resulting zest: bigger pieces for chunkier marmalade, ribbon-like strips for a more spreadable result. Set zest aside.
Cut the ends off the zested oranges and then, working with one orange at a time, cut off the thick white pith from around each orange. Working over a bowl to catch the juices, hold a fully peeled orange and use a sharp knife to cut out each section from the membrane holding the sections together. See how to section oranges for pictures if you've never done this before. Discard the ends and white pith.
Squeeze any juice out of the membrane once you've cut out all the fruit. Set the membrane aside, along with any seeds—the pectin in these will help "set" the marmalade later.
Combine the zest, fruit, juice, 4 cups of water, and sugar in a large heavy pot and bring to a boil.
Dice the artichokes to around half a centimetre and add to the pot with the oranges.
Meanwhile, lay a double layer of cheesecloth in a medium bowl and put membranes and seeds in the bowl. Lift up the corners and tie the cheesecloth into a bag to hold the membranes and seeds. Add this "pectin bag" to the pot.
While the mixture comes to a boil, put a canning kettle full of water on to boil if you're planning to can the marmalade. When canning kettle water reaches a simmer, use it to simmer the jars and lids for 5 minutes to sterilize them. Turn it up to a boil and follow the sterilization process.
Put a few small plates in the freezer to chill them
Meanwhile, bring marmalade to 220 F and hold it there for 5 minutes. Be patient, this can take quite a while.
Put a dollop of the mixture on a chilled plate, swirl the plate to spread the mixture a bit, and drag a spoon through the mixture. If your marmalade is set, your spoon will leave a trail, and you'll still be able to see the plate where you dragged the spoon.
Remove pectin bag, squeezing any marmalade in it out and back into the pot before discarding the bag. Take marmalade off the heat and let sit 5 minutes. Set up clean jars next to the pot.
Stir marmalade to distribute the zest evenly in the mixture. Use a ladle to transfer the marmalade into the jars while they are still hot, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace at the top of each jar. Put lids on the jars.