John 15:1 I am the true vine and my Father is the husbandman.
John 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Spain land of sunshine and oranges; fiestas and celebrations, paella and patatas, who of us can resist a smile when we look at those bright orange orbs of absolute deliciousness.
Moving here in 2012 I was excited to see the oranges growing, maturing and finally ready to harvest, say no more, time to make marmarlade! Recipe at the end of this blog:
Jesus has something to say about gardening, actually he likens himself to a vine or tree and he tells us that his father (God) is the gardener.
Living in Spain for the last 6 months I was amazed to see how incredibly hard all the vines trees and shrubs were ‘cut back’ after the harvest. To my untrained mind the orange and Jacaranda trees were utterly destroyed pruned within an inch of their lives, (my interpretation) every shrub was brought down to ground level, beautiful flowering vines on the walls were cut to the ground!! This pruning process continued as the gardeners dug deep into the soil extracting heaps and heaps of tubers, the deepest roots had to be extracted.
Sometimes in our lives we may feel that deep cut of the pruners knife; maybe after producing a wonderful harvest of fruit for the Kingdom of God we face our winter; a time for us to be ‘cut back’
Jesus tells us quite clearly that any branch that does not bear fruit will be ‘cut off’ and any branch that does bear fruit will be Pruned, (so that it can bear ….even more fruit)
And so it is with our lives, if we are living for ourselves and not bearing fruit we will be cut off; let’s take a moment to step back and examine our hearts asking ourselves, ‘is my life bearing fruit for the kingdom’ We can be brutally honest because we know that God is love and we can have confidence that if we confess our sins God will forgive us. John 3: 17 …For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. Take heart from that; God wants to do amazing things through your surrendered life.
If we can honestly say, ‘yes my life has borne some fruit’ then let us face the pruning knife with joy, next year we will be able to bear even more fruit, and yes maybe we will be able to make even more marmarlade!!
1 Orange: 1 Lemon: 500g Sugar: Cointreau: Water
• With the groove on the side of a kitchen zester tool peel thin strips from the orange and lemon.
• Place rind in a container and cover with cointreau / or any alcohol you like or have in your cupboard, if you don’t use alcohol cover rind with hot water (it is best to do this a day in advance to allow rind to absorb flavour)
• With a Sharpe knife cut off the top and bottom from the fruit, then slice off the remaining peel and pith, place these in a large saucepan. If you have kitchen skills you can cut into each orange segment by placing your knife between the fine membranes. This is a cheffy Skill but if you have that skill you can place the separated orange segments in a bowl (to eat in a fruit salad later)
• Completely cover the fruit with water and bring to boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer and simmer until fruit is soft, turn off heat and leave until the mixture has cooled considerably, then blitz the mixture with a food blender until smooth.
• Measure the pulp then return to saucepan and add exactly the same amount of sugar (500 g of pulp / 500g sugar) on a low heat simmer until all the sugar has dissolved.
• Add the shredded rind and liquid (if you didn’t eat the orange segments in a salad you can add these also) and bring everything to the boil; continue to cook until setting point is reached (place a teaspoon of mixture on cold plate, mixture should begin to ‘clump together’) for the marmalade to set takes ‘about’ 30 minutes.
• When you are happy with consistency turn off heat and leave to cool down.
• Put your Marmalade into the container of your choice, (I always use small plastic tubs with lids, but you can use clean glass jars)
• This recipe will make one or two pots depending on size of your container.
• Always keep the Marmalade in the Fridge.
• Finally if you like to spice things up!! Add a pinch of crushed dried chillies! ‘Enjoy’