Thank you dear friends for all your e-mails, letters, and gifts. Your words and appreciation are what keep me writing. You know who you are. Bonnie Jenuine, I love the petit point "tis a gift to be simple." That has always been one of my favorite Shaker sayings. Abel and Toni, thanks so much for the lighthouse book and all the information. Margie and Keri, your support is amazing. I appreciate you traveling to my book signings. Aunt Jenny, Jude, Nancy, Debra, Linda Finley, Sherry and Phil, Elizabeth, Marilyn, and so many more, you've enriched my life beyond words.
Step Into My Kitchen
My family recipes, lost for over 50 years, now reign over our kitchen. I mentioned a few months ago that we uncovered over 100 years of these treasures in a box in my mom's garage. Between the book, the supply of iron pans, and the charming green enamel coffee pot that once perced on my Grandmother Lovejoy's old Magic Chef–who could ask for more?
When I went on garden patrol yesterday morning, I stopped to talk to our navel orange. My conversation with this magnificent tree was one-sided, but it made up for its silence by sharing its cargo of indescribably delicious fruits.
I thumbed through the pages of our family recipes and found my Great Grandmother Abby Baker's secrets to the best marmalade. She developed this in Pasadena when she and other members of the Quaker faith moved from Chester Country, Pennsylvania, and settled into a colony of "friends."
According to her letters, the sight of oranges glowing against the dark foliage of the trees was "breathtaking"for someone used to the gray winters in Pennsylvania. But then, the sight is breathtaking for me too, and I grew up here.
Her recipe takes 3 days to prepare, but don't stop reading. They're 3 easy days with lots of resting in between the making of the jam and the final canning process.
Here is Great Gran's recipe as she wrote it. You won't find exact measurements, but I've never had a problem with the lack of them.
Three Day Marmalade
Gather 6 large navel oranges and 3 large lemons (ok, so buy them at the market)
Slice them fine, peels and all
Put them in a big pot and cover them with 6 quarts of water
Let stand for 24 hours
Bring to a boil and boil gently until peel is tender
Let stand for 24 hours (cover pot with a dish towel)
Measure out no more than 3 cups of pulp and juice into the kettle per batch (this is easiest way to do it)
Add an equal amount of sugar
Boil hard and cook until it jells
Must come to a full rolling boil and must be able to drop off spoon
Pour into clean, sterilized jars and seal. Place upside down in hot water (I've never done this step)
Some people tell me that marmalade is an acquired taste. Well, luckily I acquired it when I was young, and I've never lost it. Is there anything better than popping open your own jar of marmalade and spreading it onto warm toast or a muffin? Sunshine captured in a jar. What could taste better?
Sending you all joys and PLEASE visit my new Lowe's garden blog and leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you here and there.