..and it is too far gone to fix. It is so sad to see it thrown away (and it was quite a large batch, too).
Now, I know it is hard to troubleshoot from afar, but this has really been bothering me all night because I just don't quite know what went wrong. I would really love to hear your hypothoses.
We had a special order of sour oranges that one of the line cooks was going to make into marmalade and he asked me for help. I said "sure, marmalade is easy, I have made it many times" (wait, did I just jinx myself?).
So, into a huge pot goes about 6 quarts of sour orange juice, zest and a lot of sugar. It cooks on low heat for a while, but it is still quite thin and is taking a while to cook down. It is getting stirred and checked on regularly, but it does seem that all at once it burns. It has turned quite brown and bitter, yet the consistency is still thinner than honey. This is what puzzles me - to my knowledge, the sugar won't burn (or even caramelize) until the water has evaporated. The mixture did not scorch or stick to the bottom in any way. So, that leaves the zest - could this overcook before the orange juice was reduced? I haven't had that happen before, but I am not sure what else it could be.
I had the other chefs all look at it to see if anyone knew what went wrong, but it remains a mystery.