The cold plate test is a way for the home cook to check the consistency of jellied preserves during the cooking process.
My next recipe is going to be how to make a gorgeous strawberry lemon marmalade. I had never made a marmalade; and never made a jellied preserve without powdered pectin. All the recipes I came across were incomplete for a first time maker. I did quite a bit of research to make sure I knew what I was doing.
There were between 6-10 browser tabs open as I waded through each step. In hopes of saving future makers all that work I am writing up very detailed steps, so if this is also your first time making marmalade or non-powdered pectin recipe, you'll have a clearer path. Anyone can do it, if they have all the information!
The marmalade recipe is coming up later this week. First, here is how to do the cold plate test.
To make sure the marmalade had jelled properly I used the Cold Plate Test - a way to test the texture of a preserve while it is cooking before it is cooled and jarred.
To do the cold plate test:
- Place four clean china or Pyrex type plates in your freezer when you start cooking the preserve.
- As your preserve darkens and the bubbles get gloppy, or it reaches 222-223 degrees F, take a plate out of the freezer and drop a teaspoon of the hot marmalade on to the cold plate held flat.
- Let it set 30 seconds then tip the plate. The marmalade should run just bit and if you push your finger through it, it should wrinkle. Hooray! It's cooked perfectly and it's time to pour it into jars and process.If it is Runny: If the marmalade runs off the plate there is still too much water in your mixture. Let it cook for another 2-3 minutes then repeat step 3.
If it Doesn't Move: If the marmalade sets up hard, gets super tough and won't move at all, too much water has evaporated. Add a quarter cup of water to your mixture and then repeat step 3.
I documented what my marmalade looked like as I cooked it and the cold plate tests I did. It took me three tests before my marmalade was ready to bottle.
And I did indeed get a lovely spreadable texture for my marmalade.
I love it when my recipes turn out just the way I was hoping.