The market-price of our English pines is generally too high to permit their being very commonly used for preserve; and though some of those imported from the West Indies are sufficiently well-flavoured to make excellent jam, they must be selected with judgment for the purpose, or they will possibly not answer for it. They should be fully ripe, but perfectly sound: should the stalk end appear mouldy or discoloured, the fruit should be rejected. The degree of flavour which it possesses may be ascertained with tolerable accuracy by its odour; for if of good quality, and fit for use, it will be very fragrant. After the rinds have been pared off, and every dark speck taken from the flesh, the pines may be rasped on a fine and delicately clean grater, or sliced thin, cut up quickly into dice, and pounded in a stone or marble mortar; or a portion may be grated, and the remainder reduced to pulp in the mortar. Weigh, and then heat and boil it gently for ten minutes; draw it from the fire, and stir to it by degrees fourteen ounces of sugar to the pound of fruit; boil it until it thickens and becomes very transparent, which it will be in about fifteen minutes, should the quantity be small: it will require a rather longer time if it be large. The sugar ought to be of the best quality and beaten quite to powder; and for this, as well as for every other kind of preserve, it should be dry. A remarkably fine marmalade may be compounded of English pines only, or even with one English pine of superior growth, and two or three of the West Indian mixed with it; but all when used should be fully ripe, without at all verging on decay; for in no other state will their delicious flavour be in its perfection.
In making the jam always avoid placing the preserving-pan flat upon the fire, as this of itself will often convert what would otherwise be excellent preserve, into a strange sort of compound, for which it is difficult to find a name, and which results from the sugar being subjected—when in combination with the acid of the fruit—to a degree of heat which converts it into caramel or highly-boiled barley-sugar. When there is no regular preserving-stove, a flat trivet should be securely placed across the fire of the kitchen-range to raise the pan from immediate contact with the burning coals, or charcoal. It is better to grate down, than to pound the fruit for the present receipt should any parts of it be ever so slightly tough; and it should then be slowly stewed until quite tender before any sugar is added to it; or with only a very small quantity stirred in should it become too dry. A superior marmalade even to this, might probably be made by adding to the rasped pines