A trifecta of holiday confections and then some. Nothing goes to waste and you end up with three gifts in no time plus a couple of jars of amazingly flavored syrup. First there’s candied ginger, half of which goes into the jam and the other half is rolled in sugar and packaged as candy, or saved to incorporate into something else. Second is a delicious marmalade that includes the candied ginger and a combination of grapefruit, orange and lemon. The lemon is sliced thin, peel and all, but only the flesh of the orange and grapefruit is used. Instead of tossing the rind into the compost, I candied it. The resulting syrups used in the candying process are delicious and should be saved to add to seltzer or cocktails or iced tea.
Inspiration for the marmalade comes from Christine Ferber, French jam-maker extraordinaire. The rest is my waste-not-want-not approach to cooking. While I do toss citrus rinds into the compost when using only the flesh or the juice, I more typically peel them into long strips and hang them to dry, curling in lazy spirals, or I grate them. Candying is another option of course but except at holiday time, my lack of sweet tooth will send me in any other direction.
Candying ginger and peels and small fruits like kumquats is easy. Ginger is simply peeled and sliced. Fruits are scrubbed to remove any wax and dried (important) before removing the peels, any loose pith is removed and the peel sliced. The ginger or fruits are typically covered with cold water, brought to a simmer and cooked for a few minutes to tenderize them. The water is discarded and the process is repeated one or two more times. Once the fruit is tender, it is candied in simple syrup, that is, a combination of equal parts sugar and water. There are two ways to do this. One is to make the simple syrup in advance and poach the fruit in it. The other is to add all of the ingredients at once: the ginger or peel, the sugar and the water. I find the latter easier of course but less satisfactory since the syrup tends to crystallize more readily. Once you add crystallized syrup to liquid, it dissolves, but it’s not pretty as is. You can choose to add a tablespoon or so of corn syrup to coax the syrup to remain liquid but why?
You can store the peel in liquid or remove it from the hot syrup and let it drain and nearly dry before rolling it in sugar. I used a combination of granulated cane sugar and coarse Demerara or turbinado sugar. These sweet treats can also be dipped in chocolate.
Ginger Citrus Marmalade adapted from Christine Ferber, Mes Confitures
2 oranges (about 1 lb), preferably organic
1 grapefruit (about 1 lb), preferably organic
1 lemon, preferably organic
1¾ c sugar
5 oz candied ginger, diced small (see recipe below)
If the fruit has been waxed, scrub it gently under warm water, dry it and set it aside for a couple hours.
If using the orange and grapefruit rind for another purpose, slice the oranges and grapefruit pole to pole through the rind but not far into the flesh. Remove the rind carefully and set aside. Cut the orange into quarters and remove the seeds, reserving them if plentiful. Slice the quarters just under ¼ inch thick. Repeat with the grapefruit cutting it into sixths before slicing. Quarter the lemon pole to pole and slice it thinly crosswise, removing the seeds as you go. If you have quite a few seeds, place them in a little muslin bag and add them to the preserving pan, since they help create pectin for a good gel set.
Combine the citrus fruits, sugar and diced ginger (and bag of seeds if using) in wide-bottomed saucepan and bring them to a simmer. Pour the mixture into a bowl and let it cool, covered with a piece of crumpled parchment paper. Refrigerate overnight.
If you’re canning the marmalade, prepare the jars and keep them warm.
Place a saucer in the freezer for testing the gel.
Pour the citrus mixture into a wide saucepan and bring it to a boil, stirring. Skim and continue cooking on high heat until it gels, 5-10 minutes. Test the gel by placing a drop of the liquid on the frozen saucer. If it wrinkles to the touch, the gel is set.
Put the marmalade in jars and seal.
If canning them, process them for 10 minutes after the water has returned to a boil. Turn off the heat, remove the lid and let them sit for 5 minutes before removing to a counter to cool undisturbed.
Makes 5-6 four-ounce jars.
Candied Ginger adapted from David Lebovitz
12 oz ginger root (preferably with large uniform stalks)
3 c sugar
3 c water
Optional: granulated sugar for coating the slices
Trim the ginger root to cylindrical pieces, saving the small knobs and bits for another purpose. Peel the root and slice it slightly on the diagonal into thin slices (mine were about 1/16 inch. Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes to tenderize. Drain and discard the water. Cover the ginger with cold water and repeat the process. Drain the ginger.
Place 3 cups each of water and sugar in a saucepan along with the ginger and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cook until it is as thick as honey or measures 225 degrees on a candy thermometer, 15-20 minutes or so.
If you’re using the ginger for marmalade or baking, let it cool in the syrup before using. It can be stored in the syrup, refrigerated, for months. The syrup will probably crystallize.
If you plan on sugaring the ginger for candy, drain it from the syrup while hot. Let it cool completely and become slightly dry but still sticky to the touch. Roll in sugar, coating it completely and let dry on a rack overnight. Store in a tightly covered container.
Candied Citrus Peel
Peel from 2 grapefruits and 2 oranges
3 c sugar
3 c water
Optional: granulated sugar for coating the slices
To remove the peel gracefully from the fruit, slice through the peel pole to pole in quarters or sixths and gently remove each piece. With a spoon, scrape the loose pith from the back, and slice the peel vertically into ¼-inch strips.
Place the peel in a large saucepan and cover it with cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 7-8 minutes. Drain the water and repeat the process.
Meanwhile, bring 3 cups each of water and sugar to a boil in a large saucepan, stirrin to dissolve the sugar. Continue to cook until the temperature reads 225 on a candy thermometer (or until the mixture is as thick as honey).
Add the citrus peel and cook for 5 minutes.
If you’re using the peel for baking, let it cool in the syrup before using. It can be stored in the syrup, refrigerated, for months. The syrup will probably crystallize.
If you plan on sugaring the citrus peel for candy, drain it from the syrup while hot. Let it cool completely and become slightly dry but still sticky to the touch, several hours. Roll in sugar, coating it completely and let dry on a rack overnight. Store in a tightly covered container.