Monday, 22 July 2013

A glut of citrus

As Usual at this time of year we have a glut of citrus. I gave  a lot of citrus  away as I just didn't have the time or the need to preserve  it this year as I already had a wonderful supply of marmalade from last year.
So this year I only kept  the tangerines and ruby grapefruit and I only had a few lemons and limes as the trees are only new.
I decided to attempt jelly which I have never made before, My Mum( and after speaking to my cousin this morning,) my Aunty Belle  used to make quince jelly when I was very young, but I barely remember.
I borrowed my sons big Breville  juicer which he has in storage at our house and took it up to the farm with me.This sure saved me a heck of a lot of time.
I had two  shopping bags of tangerines to juice , and i ended up with 9 litres of tangerine juice,and one litre of ruby grapefruit juice,and a cup full of lemon juice and a small amount of lime juice.

I kept four litres aside to make four batches of jelly and decided to attempt to can the remainder of the juice to use at a later date. I have never canned any juice before so this was a real trial for me..will let you know how it goes.We simmered the juice for 10 minutes,then strained through several layers of muslin,placed back into pot,added the pectin and reboiled for 1 minute, then added the sugar and reboiled for another 1 minute.
I made four individual batches as I wanted to try a variety of  additives, in one batch I did I added lemon juice and the 4 1/2 cups of sugar and the pectin another I added no lemon juice and less sugar and pectin and the grapefruit I added lime juice. This was purely all experimental for future use.
We prepared our jars, rings lids ect according to instruction filled to within a quarter inch, removed any bubbles and sealed. We then processed them in a double layer in my trusty old Fowlers Vacola water bath preserver for 20 minutes. We decided to set it up outside this time  so that we could run a lead to the generator to run it.
As our property is off grid,  we only have limited amounts of electricity, and on a fine sunny day we would have been ok to run it off our batteries, but we had had several overcast days and so we didn't want to add the extra drain onto the batteries on top of regular household use.
We removed the jars after processing and left on the towel covered table overnight to cool completely and seal which they did.
I then removed the rings, and washed the jars. I had already pre-labeled the jars  as they had been different things and needed to know which was which.
The colour was quite good, though  the jelly not quite as clear as I had thought it would be, maybe the straining process needs to be more thorough. The taste of the tangerine jelly was good, although quite tart, but that suits me. the ruby grapefruit jelly was quite bitter, we think because the lime juice we added was from Kafir limes and not the sweeter  tahitian limes, and I think that may have affected it.I would use the ruby grapefruit again  but omit the limes...the colour of it was beautiful.
So my next attempt at jelly making  will be with a sweeter fruit, either pomegranates or grapes or mulberries,or what ever I happen to come across. I have been contemplating purchasing a steam juicer for this purpose.
The canned juice colour seemed to keep good, although the juice has appeared to have separated slightly.Whether this  all comes together again on re-opening the jars remains to be seen. Will  keep you informed when the time comes.
While we were up at the farm this time I went around and took a few house photos for record keeping and history purposes as we are planning quite a few changes over the next year or so as we make more serious  progress towards living on the farm full time.
So I thought below I would pop in a couple of pictures of my old workhorse of a kitchen. Nothing glamorous but it has been fairly practical.

We arn't sure what we will do exactly but that big brick chimney that leaks water everywhere every time it rains will go and be replaced with big glass sliding doors out to our later to be covered entertaining area,It has created a huge chain of events, each relying on another job to be done before it can be...I am sure we will be living in chaos for a while but it will eventually all be worth it.
So until next time,
Regards to everyone,


  1. Hi Jane, thanks for your comment on my blog, I see that you do a lot of preserving! I'm glad we found each other :) Cheers, Liz

  2. Thanks for visiting !!!