Strawberry Shortcake with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream
The ultimate spring dessert. Or breakfast. Or snack.
Ah, the last throes of winter. It’s too early for strawberries. It’s too late for anything but oranges. It’s not a great time to run out of homemade jam. Unless you should decide that maybe it’s time to make marmalade.
I made a small batch of this in the hopes that I would soon be able to both make some strawberry jam soon and then trade for a large variety of jams at one of our upcoming Portland food swaps. It is just the best to be able to open a totally different flavor every month. By the way, if you are in the Portland area and are interested in food swaps, they are on Facebook as PDX Swappers.
And in the meantime, I’ll savor this departure from the norm. I’m so glad I learned about marmalade. I could buy other fruit at the store, but this is actually in season. And that feels pretty good.
I just love photographing produce. Nature is beautiful. And delicious.
This blood orange was having a stunningly beautiful identity crisis. The rest were ruby red all throughout.
The oranges will need to do an overnight soak, so plan on getting started the night before you make jam. Here’s what you need:
– About six blood oranges
– 3 cups water
– 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
Start by slicing the oranges as thinly as you can. Cut out the seeds and white pith from the middle (as shown in the further-away orange in my hand above), but leave the rinds ON. What I didn’t know about marmalade before is that it is supposed to be a balance of sweet and bitter. Hence the rinds. Use the sharpest knife you own – blunt knives are much more dangerous than sharp ones, because they slip more easily. If you have no idea when the last time your knife was sharpened, many kitchen supply stores like Williams Sonoma will sharpen them for free or at a very low cost (it’s worth it for the extended life of your knife AND for the lack of you injuring yourself when a particularly tough squash comes along).
Put the orange slices in a large bowl with 3 cups of water. Cover and soak overnight in the fridge (this is the part where the rind becomes more edible).
Next, add the entire bowl to a large stock pot or Dutch oven, along with the sugar. Bring to a simmer and reduce by more than half. The jam will be ready when it reaches 220 degrees Fahrenheit (it won’t look gelled, but it will gel as it cools). This makes about 1 1/2 pints of marmalade. You could “can” it, as in preserving it, but at this small of a batch it will be just fine in the fridge.
Adapted from Food In Jars.