Living & Eating on Long Island's East End 

                   Making Marmalade on the North Fork

My name is Monique.
I'm a 2-time Emmy Award winning TV Producer.
Having been in the business for over 20 years,
I always wanted a website where I could share my thoughts and interesting information, so 
here goes.

Last year when I got married, I moved out of New York City to the East End of Long Island, to ...wait for it...The Hamptons.

Now before you roll your eyes, there's more to the Hamptons than mansions and celebrities.

The Hamptons have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, miles of productive farmland, plus a rich clamming history that continues to this day.

When I moved out east and realized I was surrounded, not just by the bounty of the sea, but also local farms and vineyards, I couldn't wait to explore and sample my new environment.

That's what this blog is about.  Living, exploring, discovering, news, food, history and sharing those experiences.

You'll notice that my blog is a little of this and a little of that, kind of like a potluck meal.


It's 9:00AM Saturday morning, early for a cooking class. I ignore the grumbling in my stomach, justifying to myself that skipping breakfast for the extra hour sleep was worth it , plus hopefully I'll be doing some sampling in class today.

I'm at the headquarters of Taste of the North Fork to learn how to make marmalade. Our instructor is Jeri Woodhouse. Woodhouse is the owner and founder of TOTNF, as well as a certified organic farmer and food specialist.  

Taste of the North Fork is a food production facility located in Cutchogue on the North Fork of Long Island. Along with operating a professional kitchen, TOTNF also has their own product line of locally made foods including jams, jellies, teas, salad dressings and spice blends. 

As we seat ourselves at large stainless steel tables, the first thing Jeri does is give us some historic perspective, explaining that marmalades and jams originated in Europe, quince being the first popularly used fruit. 

Jeri then reads an excerpt from the book "Well Preserved: A Jam Making Hymnal" by Joan Hassol.  The passage describes the author's correlation between the process of jam making and renewal after death.  Deep stuff for a Saturday morning cooking class, as my stomach groans. 

Today we're making citrus marmalade and onion marmalade. Handing out knives and cutting boards, Jeri explains that along with making our own creations, we will also make several types of marmalade as a group, including lemon, blood orange and the onion.

"Vegetables are the hot new marmalades", Jeri tells us. Chefs and cooks today are mixing and matching many unusual produce concoctions together.

Gigantic white porcelein bowls sit on each of our tables. All are full of equally gigantic oranges, lemons or onions. Soon we're instructed to begin peeling and chopping them. 

Once the lemons, oranges and onions are sliced, diced and ready, Jeri produces plastic containers full of frozen bits of other fruits, including limes, grapefruits and the blood oranges. She instructs us to include some of the frozen fruits along with the fresh fruit into our own creations, because they're a great source of pectin.

Pectin is a natural ingrediant found in most plants, mainly citrus fruits. It is produced commercially and used as a gelling agent in jams and jellies. It can be bought in powdered form or made naturally.

Jeri prefers natural pectin to the store-bought kind. She explains how you can make your own by freezing slices of lemons, oranges, limes and grapefruits to use in recipes at a later date. First slice the rind into a plastic container, then slice the fruit into another container, then storing them in the freezer. Remember to first remove the in-between white lining that can be so bitter. When you're ready to make jam or marmalade just bring out the frozen fruit and rind particles and cook them down along with sugar and water, thus making pectin.

Our next step is cooking and rendering the fruits and vegetables down. I decide to go for it and make an "Everything" marmalade. I throw a good amount of orange, lemon, lime and grapefruit into a large iron pot. We also add the rind from the frozen fruits. Other students choose to make simple orange marmalade or combinations like orange-lemon. Then we add the sugar and water and begin cooking the fruit down. This is the time consuming part of the class, because it takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to render the fruit down.

As our marmalades cook, Jeri is supervising the onion marmalade, following a similar recipe that includes sugar, but also uses wine and balsamic vinegar.

Jeri also feeds us samples of some of the new foods that Taste of the North Fork is working on, asking for our input. We feast on rose hip jam and a roasted red pepper spread on crackers.

About an hour later the fruits and sugars have cooked and are beginning to thicken. The onion cooks down to just about two cups. They've caramelized to a rich brown gooey texture. Sweet and savory at the same time, the onion marmalade is like a warm, thick, very sweet relish that we sample on crackers. 

One by one our pots finish cooking and are removed from the stove. My Everything marmalade has taken on a very dark copper-like color as Jeri removes it from the heat.  We transfer the hot, sticky goo to a large measuring cup, from there she pours the thick liquid into individually sterilized jam jars. 

Impatiently we wait as the jars cool til we can finally sample our marmalades. The lemon marmalade is a lemony sweet explosion in my mouth. The freshness of the lemon flavor explodes on your tongue, but just when you think your mouth will curdle from the bitterness, a sugary sweetness envelopes it. 

The blood-red orange marmalade has a very strong orange flavor, very bitter-sweet. I'm not quite sure if I like it. I think I'll stick with traditional orange marmalade.

Finally I try my "Everything" marmalade. It's hard to decipher because there are so many flavors mixed in, orange being the most dominant. Thankfully the addition of the lime and grapefruit has saved it from being too sweet. Similar to a British marmalade, sweet and bitter at the same time.

Leaving class is a little like Christmas as we exit with several jars of marmalade creations, including lemon, blood orange and my everything marmalade. I can't wait to get home to try them on toast for tomorrow's breakfast.


8 Lemons, washed and sliced
10 cups of water
6 cups of sugar

Wash and slice the lemons.
Put into a bowl and cover with warm water.
Refrigerate overnight.
The next day cook the lemon/water mixture on medium high heat until the amount of water has been reduced by half.
Add the sugar and cook until the marmalade is at the "soft ball" stage*
Pour marmalade into clean, sterile jars and seal.

*When you drop a spoonful of marmalade into a jar of cold water the marmalade looks like a soft candy ball.

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