Etrog Jam

1 citron (etrog or esrog)
6 cups water
1 cup sugar
orange marmalade (or pectin)

Created by Rivka Dushoff-Tobin

Directions:

  1. 1 etrog yields 10 ounces marmalade. Chopped etrog should equal about 1 cup for the amount of sugar shown above. For larger recipes, you will need 1 cup of sugar for each etrog.
  2. The whole preparation process takes most of a week. The last step takes 2 hours. Do not be in a hurry.
  3. ONE MONTH AHEAD: Start saving glass jars with metal lids. Jelly and spaghetti sauce come in this kind of jar. You need the clean jar and lid, or else you have to buy special jars and they are only sold by the dozen. BUY A CANDY OR JELLY THERMOMETER. It costs a lot less than you spent on your etrog. Also find TONGS to get the jars out of the hot water.
  4. This recipe is officially “jam.” To make “jelly”, you would have to strain all of the bits of fruit out. Keeping bits of peel is “marmalade,” and shows that it really is from an etrog! If you do not want bits of peel in your jam, simply do not peel the etrog before slicing it up.
  5. ABOUT SEEDS: Most recipes say to take out the seeds, but this is very time consuming. Also, another etrog jelly cook said the seeds contribute pectin to help it thicken.
  6. PROCEDURE: Wash etrog and trim off the ends. Optional: Peel the etrog – only the yellow part, no white pith – and cut the peel into thin strips about ½” long. NOTE: The peel will keep its color – if part is green, or another unattractive color, put those bits in the bag with the fruit and seeds. Don’t just throw them away because you need their flavor.
  7. Slice etrog thinly, or chop into very small pieces (food processor). Put the slices and the seeds into a muslin or cheesecloth bag. (If you want pieces of peel in your jam/jelly, do not put the pieces in the bag.)
  8. GET RID OF BITTERNESS: Cover everything with water and let stand at least 12 hours. Bring everything to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Drain fruit. Follow this same procedure a second time. (Some recipes say repeat the soak/drain step every night for 6 days, don’t bother simmering; let me know if you try and it works OK.).
  9. With fresh water, simmer uncovered 1 hour. Take out the bag of fruit and seeds. Let it cool down, then squeeze every drop into the pot (you need the pectin) and throw out the mush.
  10. Now add sugar and continue to simmer about ½ hour. To become jelly, there has to be the right concentration of sugar, so if you put in more water or less sugar it will just take longer to boil down. It will probably reach 200º quickly, but then it takes up to an hour to get up to “jelly” temperature (220º–222º). After it gets to 215º stir constantly and DO NOT WALK AWAY – it burns easily after this point. If it does burn, do not stir up the burned parts – dump the jelly into a clean bowl, wash out your pot, put the jelly back in and continue.
  11. Put a saucer in the freezer to check for when your jelly/jam is done. It should gel when you pour a little on your very cold saucer. If it still won’t gel after getting to 220º, add packaged pectin or ¼ cup of orange marmalade (½ cup for large recipes), and cook 15-20 minutes more! If you overshoot the “gel” point, you will end up with more of a candy than a jelly, still yummy.
  12. How to put in jars: Put your clean jars and lids in a pot, fill the pot and jars with cold water. Bring to a gentle boil. No your jars will not melt – this is the same way they were treated when filled with their original contents. Drain out a hot jar, fill with hot jelly/jam, put on the hot top tight. As it cools, the little button on the top that popped up when you first opened it will pop down again. This is what keeps out the bacteria that would spoil the jelly. It should keep well on a shelf now, but I keep mine in the fridge anyway – kept 2 years even after I opened it.

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