Category Archives: Jam

Dark Whisky Marmalade



It has been all about Glasgow in our household for the last 11 day as our athletes have fought their way on to the medal table at the Commonwealth Games. For anyone who isn’t aware the Commonwealth Games is like the Olympics for the countries of the British Commonwealth. Countries that range from the Pacific Islands to as far away as Kenya and Jamaica. As armchair cheerleaders it is tough to pick a side as we both have vested interests in the Kiwis, the Scots and of course our adopted homeland Australia. Luckily all teams have performed well and it is fun to be able to cheer on three countries as they swim, run and cycle their way to Commonwealth glory and of course what’s not to love about stadiums of enthusiastic Scots singing “500 Miles“; the unofficial anthem of the games.

It should be no surprise then that this week’s blog post is inspired by the flavours of Scotland or one flavour in particular; whisky. Now for anyone who thinks I can’t spell, whisky from Scotland does not contain an “e”. The word whisky in Scottish Gaelic is “uisge beather” which translated means ‘lively water’ or ‘water of life’. So does that mean this whisky marmalade is the marmalade of life?….hmmm food for thought. I have carried the small bottle of whisky, pictured above, around with me for years. It was given to me by a friend when I travelled around Scotland and as luck would have it I may be married to the only Scot in the world who doesn’t like whisky with or without an “e” ….oh wait that is definitely a really bad stereotype :).

Moving right along, the orange and lemon trees are positively groaning with fruit so now is the perfect time to make jam or marmalade. It wasn’t until I was halfway through the process that I remembered why I hate making marmalade (chopping up peel is no fun) I just have to remind myself that the end product is worth all the effort and fuss. As per the name this is a dark marmalade due to the dark brown sugar and the treacle that has been added.

Dark Whisky Marmalade


Adapted from The Australian Womens Weekly Preserves.


  • 6 medium oranges approx. 1.2 – 1.3kgm
  • 2 medium lemons
  • 1.5 Litres water
  • 440gm white sugar
  • 440gm dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons treacle
  • 2 tablespoons whisky.


Peel oranges and lemons and slice the peel thinly. Chop off any hard pith from the edges of the segments and remove seeds. Chop the orange and lemon segments into chunks.

Place the chopped peel, chopped segments and water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Cover saucepan with lid, reduce heat and simmer for approx. one hour or until peel is soft.

Measure the peel mix and then add 1/2 cup of each sugar to every cup of mixture.

Add both sugars return to the heat and stir until dissolved. Bring to the boil then boil uncovered for 40 minutes. Test using the gel method as described below.

Gel Method:  To check if the jam is set, place a small dish into the freezer. Once the dish is cold pour a small teaspoon of jam onto the dish. Place the dish back into the freezer to cool. Remove from freezer and run your finger through the jam, if the line sets then the jam is ready to pour into jars.

Stir in the whisky. Pour immediately into HOT sterilised jars. Seal immediately. I use transparent preserve covers to seal my jams.

Once opened, keep jam refrigerated.


Strawberry and Vanilla Jam

Strawberry season is one of my favourite times of the year. Growing up in New Zealand strawberry season heralded the start of summer holidays, no more school and endless sun soaked days spent running wild at my grandparents’ farm. As kids we would roam all over the farm creating adventures out of nothing: a secret fort underneath a pile of tree branches, spies, pirates, detectives; we were only limited by our imagination. One of the highlights of this time was Christmas, not just because of all the food and presents, but because mum would always make a pavlova topped with luscious red strawberries!

Now that I live in sub tropical Queensland I have to get used to strawberries being in season during the winter/spring months (which means now). But no matter what the time of year I am always happy when these luscious red berries start making an appearance and today I am going to use them to make one of my favourite jams.

There is something comforting about making jam, every time I make it I am reminded of generations of women before me who have done exactly the same thing. Admittedly, they were  doing it to save money and use up copious amounts of fruit while I do it for the pleasure and because it tastes so good.


Makes 2 jars.

  • 1kg Strawberries
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1kg Sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice.


Hull and halve the strawberries.

Place strawberries and water in a large heavy based saucepan. Cook strawberries and water, stirring occasionally, on a medium heat for 15 minutes or until fruit has broken down.

Add the vanilla bean and seeds, sugar and lemon juice stir until sugar has been completely combined.

Bring strawberry mixture to the boil then turn down to a simmer.

Simmer fruit mix until temperature reaches 105°C then test if jam is ready as per instructions below. If not ready keep cooking jam and then retest until ready. I took my jam temperature to 108°C, patience is the key here.

Skim white foamy scum from the top of the jam when it is finished cooking. A lot of people will skim as the jam is cooking, but I find it works just to do it at the end – there is less wastage that way.

Pour hot jam directly into hot sterilised jars and seal immediately.


  1. Pectin is the gelling agent in fruit, but not all fruits are equal when it comes to pectin. The lower the pectin the harder it will be to get the jam to set. Strawberries, for example, are low in pectin so I add lemon juice to my jam to increase the pectin and the acidity
  2. I don’t use special jam setting sugar or powdered pectin, I just use normal sugar. Jam setting sugar does contain extra pectin, but I haven’t used it before so you are on your own with that one
  3. Note that sugar acts as a preservative and also helps the jam set so you will need to consider this if you want to reduce the amount of sugar you use in your jam
  4. The magic number to set jam is 105°C, although for strawberry jam I usually go up to 108°C
  5. Always sterilise your jars before pouring your jam.  Wash and rinse jars, line the bottom of a baking dish with a clean tea towel then place the clean jars upside down on the tea towel. Place the tray of jars in the oven at 100°C (I use 150°C as that is as low as my oven will go) for approx. 15 minutes or until the jars are dry. You want to do this approx. 15 minutes before jam is ready, which brings me to my next point
  6. Don’t pour jam into cold jars or the jars will crack
  7. To check if the jam is set, place a small dish into the freezer. Once the dish is cold pour a small teaspoon of jam onto the dish. Place the dish back in to the freezer to cool. Remove from freezer and run your finger through the jam, if the line sets then jam is ready to pour into jars.

Mandarin and Cinnamon Marmalade

Last year I purchased a new coat for winter, it was a lovely caramel coloured duffel coat which I got for a bargain price – score! Once I got home with my new purchase I proudly did a fashion show for Mr LG who promptly said if I put on a hat and wellies I would look like Paddington Bear. Hmmm I’m not sure that was a compliment, but it was better than a story a friend told me of how she had been out shopping and when she did a fashion show for her husband for the first outfit his comment was she looked like Lulu, feeling somewhat deflated, but determined that the next outfit would have a much better reception, she tried again only to be met with a horrified look and the comment that, this time, she looked like RuPaul!!

Well I loved my coat just like Paddington loved his marmalade sandwiches….and there’s the segue into this week’s post for mandarin and cinnamon marmalade :)

Unlike Paddington I have never been a fan of marmalade, but I found this recipe in the BBC Australian Good Food magazine (no longer in print) and it seemed like a good way to use up part of this seasons mandarin harvest from my very productive mandarin tree. Surprisingly (after much prodding by Mr LG) I tried this version and I really liked it, teamed up with The Little Loaf’s Bircher Muesli toast it is just plain delicious.

Mandarin and Cinnamon Marmalade

(Adapted from BBC Australian Good Food Magazine).


Makes 3 Jars.

  • 1.5kg mandarins
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cinnamon quills
  • 1.1kg white sugar (or 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup jam)
  • pinch saffron threads.


Peel mandarins and cut the peel into thin strips – place in a large mixing bowl.

Remove the white pith from the mandarins. Keep half of the pith for later use.

Cut the mandarin segments and remove the seeds. Put the mandarin segments in a bowl with the peel. Keep the seeds separate.

Place the seeds and pith into a square piece of clean muslin and tie the ends of the muslin together. Place into bowl with peel and segments

Cover the peel, segments and muslin bag with 4 cups of water. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to soak at room temperature overnight.

Place the mandarin mixture, including the muslin bag and the cinnamon, in a large saucepan.

Bring to the boil on a high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for 35 minutes or until the peel is soft.  Remove from heat and discard the muslin bag and cinnamon.

Measure the mandarin mixture in a jug: you need one cup of sugar per one cup of mandarin mixture.

Place mandarin mixture and sugar back into large saucepan. Add saffron and stir on a low heat until sugar dissolves.

Increase heat to high and boil mixture uncovered for 40-45 minutes. In the mean time place a small dish into the freezer – this is used to test the readiness of the jam.

I test my jam at the 40 minute mark by using a small amount of jam placed in the small dish, allowing it to cool and then running my finger through it. If the line stays then the jam is ready. If the jam runs together keep boiling and then test again until the jam is ready.

Pour jam into hot sterilised jars and seal immediately.

Recipes using mandarin marmalade: Chocolate and Mandarin Tarts.