French phrase Bonne Maman means ‘good mother’ – and also applies to a range of tasty conserves and desserts in distinctive glass jars. However shop bought jams can never be as delicious as home-made preserves, so stock up with a selection of Bonne Maman glass jars and fill them with your own, delicious recipes.
Be a Bonne Maman
Citrus fruits are in season now, making it a great time to experiment with marmalade making – the quantities given make about two litres.
Add eight Seville oranges to a maslin pan, after washing and removing the ‘button’. If you don’t have a maslin conserving pan, any large, heavy-bottomed pan will do. Add 2.5 litres of cold water and bring to the boil, then simmer for about an hour. The oranges should be soft enough to insert a wooden skewer easily. Remove the oranges from the pan and reserve the liquid, leaving both to cool.
Once the oranges are cool enough to handle, halve them and scoop out all the flesh, including the pips. Return the orange flesh to the pan and reserve the skins until later. Return the pan to the heat and boil for about 15 minutes. This releases the pectin from the pips. Strain the contents of the pan through a sieve. Return the resultant liquid to the pan and add 2 kilos of sugar, then stir until it is dissolved.
Take the orange skins that were reserved earlier and slice into small pieces. If you like a sweeter marmalade, remove the pith. Add the pieces of peel to the pan and return to the heat, bringing to a rolling boil. Keep the mixture at a boil for about 20 minutes or until it reaches just over 100ºC.
To check if the marmalade is ready, drop a teaspoon of the liquid onto a cold plate and refrigerate for a couple of minutes. Prod the drop of marmalade gently with a finger. If it has formed a light skin that wrinkles when you touch it, the marmalade is ready and can be removed from the heat. Otherwise keep boiling and repeat the test every five minutes until the drop tested has reached setting point. Leave the pan to cool for about 40 minutes.
Decant into Bonne Maman Jars
Sterilise the glass jars by pouring boiling water over them or leaving for 10 minutes in an oven on a low heat. Pour the marmalade into the jars, add a wax sealing disc to the top, screw on the lid and leave the Bonne Maman jars to cool completely overnight. Store in the refrigerator.