As everyone keeps reminding me, it’s not long until Christmas. If, like me, you also have several family birthdays to buy for between now and the big day, you’ll know that gift buying on a budget can be hard work.
For the last few years, I’ve made Christmas hampers for gifts instead of buying things. It does take quite a bit of work planning themes, getting your supplies together and then preparing, cooking and packaging everything, but the end result is worth it!
One of the recipes that usually goes down well is Cranberry and Clementine Marmalade – it’s quite sweet so you can use it as a jam as well as a marmalade and it looks very pretty in jars. It takes a while to make, but it’s not as fiddly as a lot of regular marmalade recipes.
Cranberry & Clementine Marmalade (Makes 5lb/2.5kg)
1.6kg preserving sugar (I just use normal, but preserving will make it clearer)
1/4pt/150ml whisky (optional)
A square of muslin or a popsock*
- Halve the clementines and lemons. Squeeze out the juice, but reserve the pips.
- Tie the lemon halves and the pips of both lemon & clementine in a small muslin bag or a popsock.
- Slice the clementine, removing pith and put in pan. Add the juices, muslin bag/popsock and 2 pints of water. Bring to the boil then simmer for an hour.
- Remove the muslin/popsock from the pan. Add the cranberries and cook for 2 minutes longer.
- Add the sugar, then stir til dissolved. Stir in whisky if using.
- Bring to the boil again and boil steadily for 20-35 minutes until setting point* is reached.
- Leave to stand for 15 minutes before spooning into jars
* A popsock works just as well as a muslin square, but I prefer them as if you have any of the longer ones lying around you can tie an end to the handle of the saucepan which makes fishing it out at the end a lot easier!
* Setting point for jam is when you put a tsp of the mixture onto a coldish saucer, leave it a minute so you don’t burn your finger, but then if you push against it, it will feel a bit jellyish and the top should wrinkle up, like skin on hot milk. It won’t be as thick and set as cold jam at this point though. What you want is something more than syrupy but not solid. ‘Gloopy’ is probably the best description!
* The wider the pan, the quicker you’ll reach setting point. If using a deep, narrow one it might take longer than 35 mins to get setting point.
* This is sweeter than normal marmalade, with a bit of a dry tang from the cranberries. A little of this goes a long way, so I’d use a mint sauce sized jar rather than a big one, unless you’re sure the recipient eats a lot of marmalade!