I always get very anxious before teaching--whether it's the first day of a new semester at the college, or a new month and a new canning workshop. For some reason, I was more nervous about this marmalade class than any before--maybe it was because the first batch of marmalade I ever made was a failure; maybe it was because marmalade is finicky and sometimes, no matter what the measures, still doesn't set just right. I was so nervous, right up until the moment when I saw the group that had signed up for the workshop--they were excited to be there, excited to be doing this, and so I forgot about the nervousness, and told them everything I know about marmalade.
We had Cara Cara oranges, mango blood oranges, grapefruit, and minneolas at our disposal for the workshop. Because of this great variety of citrus, the marmalade had a good depth of flavor. I had also run into the co-op on my way to the Birdhouse, and got some vanilla beans, which added nice undertones to our marmalade.
By the end of the workshop, I had just about lost my voice (still getting over being sick), but was very happy with the enthusiasm of the canning group. Canning alone, as I often do, or even canning with one other person is one thing--canning in a kitchen with twelve other people is a different type of excitement yet: people who've come to a couple canning classes were filling in those who had never canned before; and canning veterans were still learning some new techniques. It just feels so good to share about canning--it's such a tangible way of teaching about food democracy, about eating in-season (and local, when possible), and about the flavors that surpass anything that is available in stores. I look forward to the next canning workshop already.
Half the class processes the citrus, half the class looks on--the Birdhouse kitchen has limited space, so people trade off working on the project.
You can see how careful everyone is with the peels;
in the pictures up top, you can also see the wonderful Heart of Fruit and the citrus bits in the preserving pan.