Very seldom does the bro put in a special request for me to make something, but last week when a 5kg box of the most gorgeous brown navel, a new variety orange arrived from my Instagram pal Rina, he asked ‘Will you make me some of that Marmalade jam we had as kids?’. How could I refuse?
As Great Grans Marmalade Jam bubbled away on the stove top, the homely citrus smells filled me with nostalgic memories of my childhood and growing up in the 1980’s.
Did you grow up in the 80’s? If you did, happy adventuring down memory lane.
When was the last time you said ‘What you talkin bout Willis? Were you a Care Bear kid? Remember their awesome belly magic that could defeat enemies and heal people with light that radiated from their tummy symbols. And what about ol mate Big Bird being the only one who could see Snuffleupagus?
Remember jumping on your bike (Melvern Star with plastic handle bar streamers and spokey-dokes) and disappearing for the entire day without a care in the world, a phone in your pockets, helmet on your heads or shoes on your feet. Fearlessly riding uncharted single tracks through forests, scaling fences, and climbing trees with no way of the parentals contacting or even knowing where you were (and that was totally OK).
What about sitting on your dad’s lap and manning the steering wheel or riding home on the back of the ute/pickup truck with the dogs, wind whistling through your mullet style locks, remember when mullets were cool? Dressed to impress in fluro, your heat sensitive hypercolour T-Shirt and Hammer Pants. Ahhhh, it really was a wondrous time to grow up.
As for the jam, the bro said it put all those store-bought marmalades to shame. It tasted like sunshine in my mouth, it was so fresh, and the flavour was out of this world. It was delicious, and tasted just like the one Gran used to make.
I’d love to know, do smells trigger fond memories for you? What do you remember most from the 80’s? And, did you own a heat sensitive hypercolour T-Shirt and Hammer Pants?
Preparation time: 8 hours 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 45 minutes
8 large oranges
1kg white sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
2.5lt cold water
Step1: Use a sharp knife to remove ends from oranges (leave the skin on). Cut in half lengthways, then thinly slice crossways. Place into a large heavy-based saucepan, and submerge in 2.5lt of cold water. Allow to stand overnight to infuse
Step 2: Simmer fruit until soft – Around 1hour
Step 3: Stir in the sugar and lemon juice
Step 4: Boil rapidly until setting point (To test if mixture is at setting point, place a saucer in the freezer for 5 minutes to chill. Spoon a little marmalade onto the saucer. Return saucer to the freezer for 2 minutes or until marmalade is cold. Touch with your finger to see if it is set and gel-like. If not, continue cooking, testing every 5 minutes.) Around 20 minutes, however I advise keeping an eye on the jam from 10 minutes as pectin can be tricky
Step 5: Remove marmalade from heat. Set aside for 5 minutes. Thoroughly wash preserving jars and lids in hot, soapy water and rinse. Drain upside down on a rack. Stir marmalade to evenly distribute fruit. Ladle into jars, seal and turn upside down for 2 minutes. Turn upright and set aside until cooled. Label, date and store in a cool, dark place.
The jam turned out a little darker due to the brown/green coloured skin of the oranges
It made 10 x 250g jars that are best refrigerated and eaten, not stored for the winter.