So maybe I’m showing my age here, but I love the movie The Witches of Eastwick. There’s one line of that movie that has always tickled my curiosity, though.
As Michelle Pfeiffer was ushering her kids off to school, she reminded them to take their lunch, and upon being asked what it was, she responded that it was peanut butter and jelly.
The child suspiciously asked her, “What kind of jelly?” and she responded that it was zucchini jelly. The child was not happy about it, but it made me giggle. Ever since seeing that, I have been on the lookout for a recipe for zucchini jelly.
Now mind you, I wasn’t expecting it to be particularly good, but I was intensely curious. Curious enough that when I finally found a recipe for it recently, I became very excited to make it. And here’s the kicker…
It is absolutely delicious! Seriously, my husband tasted it first (he’s such a good guinea pig, LOL!). His response? “Oh, this is just… terrible. I think I might have to eat all 9 jars just to save you from it.”
A few minutes later, on his second slice of bread slathered with it, he commented, “You could get money for this stuff!”
A few days later, a friend was having an open house for her new business and I grabbed a jar to take as an office warming gift. He didn’t say anything, but definitely gave me the stink eye. (Once I’d reassured him that I’d make more he was okay with it, though.)
I found the original recipe in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I made 2 versions- 1 was according to the recipe, almost exactly. The other, which is the recipe I’ll be sharing today, was made using honey instead of sugar, and had a few other small tweaks to it.
PLEASE NOTE This is NOT a tested recipe for canning. Although it is based on a tested recipe, it has undergone sufficient changes to make me feel that I should warn you, if you choose to can this, you are doing so at your own risk. I will include the canning procedure that I followed if you should choose to be adventurous.
So, without further ado…
Gingered Squash Marmalade
What you’ll need:
5 c peeled, grated summer squash
(I used a mix of zucchini & yellow summer squash that I previously
peeled, grated & stored in the freezer.)
3 c good honey
(I used bamboo honey from a local apiary)
2 organic oranges
2 organic lemons
(organic is important for the citrus, since you’ll be using the peels
instead of throwing them away or composting them!)
3 tbs chopped or grated ginger root (I used my handy dandy Garlic Grater Plate)
1 tbs sugar-free jam pectin
You’ll also need:
-Cheesecloth- a good sized square to make a ‘spice bag’
-A non reactive pot (stainless steel is good, aluminum is not), preferably with a heavy bottom that will handle potential scorched jelly being scrubbed off of it.
-A good sharp knife & cutting board, for slicing up the orange peels
-A hand juicer would be really helpful for this, too. (I don’t have one, but it would’ve made life a lot easier!)
-A sharp vegetable peeler
-About (4) 8-ounce jars with lids (I made a double batch of both kinds, so used 16 jars)
What to do:
I put my jars on to sterilize as my first step. This is a good idea whether you’re planning to can it or not.
Using the vegetable peeler, peel the colored skin off of the oranges, trying to keep the peels in long strips. Getting some of the white pith with the orange zest is okay, but you don’t want too much of it on there. Slice the skin into strips and put it in the pot.
Peel the pith from the oranges, and the pith & skin from the lemons.
RESERVE THE PITH & SKINS!
Take your square of cheesecloth and lay it of the work surface. Take all of the peels plus the ginger root and put it in the center of the square. Tie the corners together to create a bundle that contains the ginger and peels. Add your spice bag to the pot.
Working over a bowl or your pot to catch and juice drips, cut the citrus fruit in half and squeeze the halves to get as much of the juice and fruit pulp off of the membrane as possible (this is where the hand juicer would come in handy), being careful not to get any seeds in the pot.
Discard the membrane & seeds.
Add squash (and any liquid from it) to the pot and cook over medium heat. Bring it to a simmer and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until squash is translucent.
Add pectin while stirring briskly. Continue stirring until pectin is completely dissolved. Increase heat and bring to a rolling boil, stirring frequently.
Quickly stir in honey and bring back to a boil, continuing to stir frequently. Allow to cook another minute.
Turn off heat and ladle into hot jars.
I filled the jars, leaving about 1/4-inch of headspace, wiped the rims, applied lids and bands, and processed in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Then I turned the heat off, waited about 10 minutes and removed the jars from the water. Remember, if you choose to can this UNTESTED recipe, you are doing so at your own risk! Please, please, please do not get sick from my recipe!
If you are smart and safe, instead of canning it, you’ll allow the jars to cool completely and then stick 3 of them in the freezer to use later.
My favorite way to eat this is on a chewy but light flavored bread, over a thin layer of neufchatel cheese (it’s similar to cream cheese, but has a lighter flavor and has about 1/2 of the fat).
As always, if you make it, please let me know what you think!