Before the rush on the supermarkets got really bad, my family bought me some groceries that included a large bag of oranges. I knew I could not eat them all before they started to go bad, so I wanted to preserve some of them.
The only way I know to preserve oranges is in marmalade and, since I have made jams and jellies in the far distant past, I thought I could probably do so again. I no longer have my canning supplies, but I do have a large pot and could borrow another.
So, when my son asked me if I needed anything from the store I asked for, among other things, canning jars, sugar, and lemons. I had already preordered the jars, some pectin, and a canning rack from the hardware store, so he only had to pick them up from the front desk.
At the grocery store, the smaller bags of sugar were all gone, and my son texted me to ask if I wanted 4 kg. I said I didn’t think I could use that much, so he bought sugar cubes instead. There were no lemons, but he bought concentrated frozen lemonade in hopes that would suffice.
The canning rack turned out to be too big for my pot (despite my carefully pre-measuring before ordering it) so I had to improvise because it is necessary to put something at the bottom of the pot to stop the glass jars from clonking and breaking. I found a nifty suggestion online to join together several jar rings, and it worked really well as an alternative rack. I actually replaced the centre ring with a can of condensed soup because I needed that ring to close my sixth jar of marmalade.
The other major improvisation was using the concentrated lemonade instead of lemons, and I had my fingers crossed that this would not irretrievably spoil the recipe.
This morning I was a bit nervous about trying out the marmalade, but since I had already passed on a couple of jars to my family I thought I should at least test it to see if it was edible. I am happy to report that this morning’s toast and marmalade tasted pretty darned good if I do say so myself.
So, if you find yourself with oranges and time, make marmalade! And, improvise as needed. Recipes are really only suggestions, after all.