The stage was set. I had mixing bowls, fruit, bags of sugar, a perfectly vintage Foley Mill, my HUGE canning pot, sterilized jars and all of the small, fun supplies necessary for a beautiful batch of marmalade. Hours passed by as I skillfully mixed the ingredients, keeping a close eye not to let the sugary mess boil over and in the end, I was proud of my 10 beautiful jars of sweet, orange marmalade when all was said and done.
While gazing lovingly at the jars, in my head danced visions of lazy mornings spent enjoying homemade english muffins dappled with spoonfuls of sweet, orange goodness. Those mornings were perfect. Happy news articles would be read aloud. The Schmoo Cat would be perfectly curled up on my lap. No politics would create arguments amongst those in the room. It would be perfect harmony and the marmalade would be fantabulous.
And maybe the iced coffee would be fantabulous as well.
That all came to a screeching halt this morning. I skipped down the stairs this morning fully intending on popping open one of those sweet jars of perfectly crafted marmalade only to discover the sugar had not set. What I poured into the jars the night before looked nothing like what I discovered in my kitchen this morning. I was horrified, I couldn’t even look at the sad excuse for marmalade that occupied 10 of the cutest little jelly jars.
Disgusted, I ate the best homemade caramel apple butter that has ever sat upon my tongue instead.
It’s all about compromise in my life.
I learned a long time ago that you have to leave room for fantastic failures every now and then. I can try my hand at marmalade again, it won’t be the end of the world. What fantastic failures have you experienced lately? Did you learn anything from them?
3 thoughts on “When I Fail, I Go All Out”
Oh noes!!! Did you use something extra for pectin? Oranges usually have plenty, but with most jams I add a cut-up apple or two. What gel-test did you use? Are you going to re-cook it?
The reason I’m asking is that I, too, had an epic fail in the jamming department last month. But I decided to use a thermometer instead of my usual gel-test. Bad idea (wide pan = inaccurate reading). The fig preserves came out to be very stiff. Too stiff to spread. But I use ’em now for homemade poptart filling. It’s actually better because it’s stiff.
The other thing I have learned in the last couple of years is to make small batches and not process the jars. I just put ’em in the back of the ‘fridge and eat ’em from there. It saves a lot of time, electricity, and getting the kitchen hot.
I didn’t use anything other than sugar, oranges and water. I’m going to recook and try again. Since the jars have been process, I’m sure whatever is in them is just fine to break open and give it another go.
And I can’t think of doing this without processing – that’s half of the fun! Plus, I’m stocking up for Christmas presents 😉
I have always used the saucer-in-the-freezer gel test, and usually my jams and marmalades set up okay.
Mmmm… lucky Christmas for your friends and family!