Clear honey usually recrystallises during storage if it’s not sold, given away or scoffed in time. Although you can remelt it again you can easily convert this – perfectly delicious but a bit unsightly – honey into honey marmalade. Rather than peel loads of oranges or lemons you can use the ready-prepared washed, peeled, sliced and diced stuff available from Lakeland. I doubt anyone trying it would be able to tell the difference (and, if it was a gift, they should be too grateful and polite to mention it even if they could) and it takes a fraction of the time to make.
The instructions* are on the side of the prepared tinned oranges or lemons. The water content of honey is about 20% (not a good enough answer for the BBKA module examinations, but good enough for our purposes). Therefore 5 lb of honey is effectively 4 lb of sugar plus 1 lb of water. The Lakeland HomeCook prepared fruit specifies adding 4 lb of sugar plus 425 ml (3/4 pint) of water … that means you can simply replace the entire sugar and water content of the recipe with 5 lb of honey. What could be easier? Any sort of honey will do, but something with a distinctive flavour is better than a bland OSR mix from early in the season. Heather honey makes very fine marmalade if you’ve got any spare though it’s a bit too overpowering for my taste. I’ve used both the orange and the lemon prepared fruit, both are delicious.
Honey marmalade keeps well, so it can be prepared now for Christmas gifts. The addition of a splash (or two) of good whisky – or, for Irish readers, whiskey – makes it particularly good. This should be added right at the end. Take the pan off the hob, allow to cool for about 10 minutes, stir in about 50 ml of your chosen tipple and then dispense into pre-warmed jars. To avoid the fruit settling unevenly, give each jar a gentle stir with a teaspoon 15-20 minutes later. A single tin of prepared fruit together with 5 lb of honey and a splash of whisky makes six full 1 lb jars plus enough left over to have on your toast for a week 😉
* almost every batch I have prepared has needed a few minutes over the 15 minutes recommended for the ‘rolling boil’ to ensure it sets properly. Ensure that it readily forms a skin when you put a teaspoon onto a chilled plate before bottling the marmalade.