Our friend Chris joins my hunting partners and me at the cabin every deer season. He doesn’t hunt himself but he has chased a few deer past our stands and he is always ready to help drag one back to the cabin. He also happens to be the camp cook who makes a mean chili and great buttermilk corn bread.
A few years ago, as we were on our way to the cabin, Chris told me about the ginger marmalade his parents used to buy. I had never even heard of ginger marmalade, but Chris said it was a popular jam in Massachusetts where he grew up. He also told me that it was one of his favorites.
This year I decided to try making some. It turns out that there are a lot of ginger marmalade recipes on the web. Several looked interesting, but none seemed likely to make the kind of ginger marmalade Chris remembered.. Since Jerri and I began making jellies and jams shortly after we were married, and I have been making orange marmalade for four years, I decided to try creating a recipe for ginger marmalade that would approximate the marmalade Chris described to me.
It turned out to be remarkably easy. I started with online recipes that ranged from orange marmalade flavored with powdered ginger to some that were simply shredded ginger with a little sugar and pectin. The recipe I created uses lemon and orange juice along with quite a lot of ginger. The result is a marmalade that has a warm ginger flavor with just a hint of citrus.
Here is how to make it.
3 cups diced/shredded ginger
3 cups water
1/8 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup orange juice
8 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. butter
2 pouches (6 oz.) Certo liquid pectin
Peel about a pound of fresh ginger root. Chop about half of it into a quarter inch dice. You should have about one and one-half cups of chopped ginger. Using a box grater, shred the remainder. Discard any fibrous material generated during shredding.
Put the ginger into a saucepan with three cups of water, add a dash of salt and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer for one and a half to two hours, stirring occasionally. Add water if necessary to keep the ginger covered with liquid.
Drain the ginger in a fine mesh colander and reserve a cup of the ginger water. Put the ginger and the cup of water into a bowl and set it aside to cool.
After about four hours, when it is completely cool, put the ginger, lemon juice, and orange juice into a Dutch oven or soup pot. Measure eight cups of sugar into a bowl. Stir in the sugar, another dash of salt and the butter. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil. A rolling boil is one that can not be stopped by stirring.
Add the Certo and stir while the marmalade comes back to a boil. When it reaches a rolling boil, boil for sixty seconds, then remove the pan from the heat. Stir every half minute or so while the marmalade cools slightly for two or three minutes.
Ladle the marmalade into jars and seal them with paraffin or lids and rings and process in a hot bath.
NOTES: The younger roots are pinkish and work better. Older roots have a fibrous inner core. When you begin dicing the roots, if the root feels tough, cut off and dice the outer layer. Grate the inner part but discard the stringy fibers. Some of the lobes on large tough roots will be tender, so pay attention while you prepare the roots.
If you find young, pink ginger, purchase a generous pound of the roots. If what you find is the older roots, buy about one and a half pounds. You can simply scrape the skin off the young ginger, but a potato peeler works best with the older roots.
If you want a more delicate ginger flavor in your marmalade, you can replace some of the ginger water with orange juice.