Oh, homemade jams and jellies, how I enjoy them and how I have destroyed some. In my earlier cooking days, I would try shortcuts. You know, because I knew more than the old masters.
One fateful day I decided that I would make marmalade. In a stroke of genius, I thought, “Why would I strap myself to the stove when I had a handy dandy pressure cooker at my disposal?” I’d seen all the ladies in my life make many version of jams and marmalades. It’s easy, right? You know what they didn’t use? A pressure cooker.
Kumquats grow abundantly in Louisiana, and since I was making marmalade, they were a perfect choice. You cut them into the most precious little wheels, hundreds and hundreds of these tiny wheels. Following what I had learned from watching my MawMaw in her canning kitchen I grabbed a whole bag of sugar and dumped right into the pressure cooker. Topped that with my insane amount of sliced kumquats. In my divine wisdom and youthful impatience, I decided that I would make it all fit. Just crammed them in till there was not a space left in that pot. Now the challenge, getting the water in there. Slowly I poured water in, a little at a time, and magically it fit. Considering myself a genius, I closed that lid and sealed it. Then I headed to my room to read a book and pat myself on the back for inventing 20-Minute Marmalade.
10 minutes later, it happened. An explosion that shook my bed for a minute I thought a bomb had gone off. Running towards the kitchen, I could smell the catastrophe. Nothing could have prepared me for the citrus carnage. Walls and ceiling covered with tiny shriveled wheels of fruit. The now hardened, the candy-like marmalade keeping them properly glued to all surfaces. It was so bad that I considered for a second telling people it was a new fancy wall finish. After hours of scraping, pulling off chunks of paint and drywall, I realized I should have gone with my first plan.
So if you want a slightly brown polka dot kitchen that smells of burnt citrus and crushed dreams try my method. If you prefer marmalade in a relatively unscathed kitchen, I would stick to the old-fashioned way. This Tomato jam involves no fancy equipment or gelatin, simple and if you mess it up you will only end up with one destroyed pot as opposed to an entire kitchen.