Question: When a recipe calls for brown sugar, is it always packed into the measuring cup or spoon?
Answer: Yes, brown sugar should be packed into measuring cups and spoons with your fingers until even with the rim. The packing should be firm enough so when the measuring tool is inverted, the brown sugar is released and holds its shape.
Q: After using liquid pectin successfully for many years, I decided to try the powdered kind after a relative told me she preferred it. The results for me were more like a disaster. I have several jars of orange marmalade that would have to be eaten with a spoon.
Is there any way I can salvage this, such as cooking it slowly for a long time or adding more pectin? I hate to throw away this good fruit and sugar and would appreciate any help you can give me.
A: According to the University of California Agricultural Extension Service pamphlet "Making Jellies, Jams and Preserves," too-soft jellies sometimes can be improved by recooking. You might have success with orange marmalade using their method, recooking only four to six cups at a time.
Measure the jelly to be recooked. For each quart of jelly, measure one-quarter cup sugar, one-quarter cup water and four teaspoons powdered pectin. Combine pectin and water. Boil, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Add jelly and sugar. Stir thoroughly. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Boil mixture hard for one-half minute. Remove from heat, skim, pour into hot containers, and seal.
Keep in mind that powdered pectin should not be substituted in recipes developed for liquid pectin and vice versa. This may have been the cause of your original problem.
Address questions on food preparation to You Asked About . . ., Food Section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053. Personal replies cannot be given.