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Marmalade 2016

January 23rd 2016


The Crinkle Test

This year heralded my first ever foray into the delights of marmalade making and, although I would not presume at this early stage of my education to contribute, I now listen with great interest to the coffee table debates that occur at this time of year about the finer details of the art.  Overheard words and terms including: pith and pips; pectin; peel; preserving versus granulated sugar; shredding; thick/thin cut; Seville oranges; muslin; and the all-important crinkle test; will stop me mid-conversation and I will strain to hear what is being said.  My ears used to prick up at the word ‘stockings’ for entirely different reasons but I am now much more interested to hear about the benefits or limitations of their use, instead of muslin, in marmalade production and whether denier grade has any effect on the quality of pectin that can be strained into the bubbling confectionary.

I am sure that there are huge debates over the crinkle test.  Mary had to explain exactly what I was on the lookout for as I spooned a small amount of the brew onto a side plate that had been placed in the freezer, returned it briefly to the fridge, and then pushed the cooling fluid across the plate with my finger.  ‘It crinkled!’, she exclaimed with delight as several ridges formed over the top of the liquid.  After holding it up so that it could be viewed tangentially we decided that the peaks and troughs of the crinkle pattern were not of quite sufficient height and depth respectively, so several minutes later the process was repeated.  Whether by luck or judgement the end result is perfect – I would say that of course – with a beautifully set marmalade through which there is equal separation of deliciously thin shreds of peel without a hint of settling towards the bottom of each jar.


  © Copyright Thomas Jackson 2010