Paying It Back

Today is Keith Richards’ birthday, which reminded me that i’m three years older than that wizened geezer.


Well, yes, there’s great joy in paying it back and no, i’m not talking about savoring revenge cold, as enjoyable as that is.  No indeed, i mean doing something nice for someone who’s been nice to you.

Folks here in my senior apartment complex have been warm and friendly to me, so this morning in the community room kitchen i demoed making marmalade.  Several people came to watch since by now i’m widely known in the building as a maker of sweet preserves and i’d mentioned in the bulletin board announcement that attendees would get a jar of the finished product.

To start with, i got Erik Olsen to pick ten pounds of his blood oranges well before they ripened and bring them to the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market last Saturday.  Erik is the grandson of Ken Olsen and is now bringing the family products to market on Saturdays and Sundays.  I got started with them many years ago when i discovered that Ken grew the most delicious mandarins i had ever eaten.  Still does.

Then last night i sliced up five pounds of the blood oranges and started them cooking down.  Turned off the fire and let ’em rest overnight.

Then this morning i ferried them, the other five pounds of oranges, another cooking pot, my chopping block and a knife, a measuring cup, and a big bag of sugar down to the community room.

First, i started last night’s batch of marmalade cooking on the stove.

unripe blood orange marmalade


Then i set everything up and started slicing oranges in anticipation of the arrival of the first audience members. Here’s a shot of one of the sliced oranges.  Note that since these blood oranges are unripe, the flesh has not turned dark red yet.

sliced unripe blood oranges


As the guests drifted in, i finished slicing the oranges and got them all to taste a slice to see that it hadn’t turned sweet yet.  Then i added the sugar and water, and set that pot going on the stove.

By that time, the first pot of marmalade was nearly ready to jar, so i tossed the empty jars into the oven and set it going at 225 F.  After the jars had sat there for ten minutes, i snatched them out onto the chopping block, jarred the first batch of marmalade, and passed out jars to the audience.  There’s already talk about my doing this again in the spring for a jelly, and if there’s enough demand i’ll certainly do it because i sure did enjoy this morning’s effort.

The second pot i brought back to my apartment to finish this afternoon.

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  1. David Queen
    Posted 19 December 2017 at 16:13 | Permalink

    Wait’ll they get a load of your chocolate sauce.

    • Posted 20 December 2017 at 15:00 | Permalink

      Ha! There’s talk of doing another demo in the spring.

    • Posted 7 January 2018 at 12:01 | Permalink

      I put off replying to your comment for two weeks in hopes that i’d understand the significance of the link. Still don’t, but thanks for the review of my chocolate sauce. I just bought a 5 kg. bag of Callebaut cocoa powder so the chocolate sauce should be better for the next year or so.

  2. Erik de Gelder
    Posted 19 December 2017 at 17:19 | Permalink

    Goed gedaan Matte!

    Leuk om te lezen dat het goed met je gaat en dat je nog steeds kilo’s fruit kunt verwerken.

    Groetjes, Erik en Barbara

    • Posted 20 December 2017 at 15:14 | Permalink

      Oh, how absolutely wonderful it is to get my very first comment in a foreign language. Better yet, in a foreign language i can read fairly well. It’s from my Dutch friends, Erik and Barbara, about whom i’ve written extensively in my Amsterdam Tales. They’re saying that it was nice to read that i can still sling kilos of fruit around. Thanks, Erik and Barbara, you made my day. See, they write me in Dutch and i write them in English.

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