This is my first successful batch of orange marmalade utilizing the oranges from our backyard. I tried using a recipe from Tyler Florence once upon a time and it failed miserably. Finally, success!
The recipe makes 6 half-pint jars, however I ended up with 7 plus a little extra that I put in the fridge. I’m actually not a huge fan of marmalade, but this is pretty tasty — sweet, bursting with fresh orange flavor, and not bitter at all.
Growing up we canned everything from the garden — green beans, tomatoes, dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, salsa, chili sauce, pickled beets, concord grape juice, raspberry jam, strawberry jam, peaches … the list goes on. In today’s world, canning just doesn’t make sense and a trip to the grocery store is more convenient. I miss that connection to the creation and preservation of food. Ahh well, I’m blabbing on. I’ll keep my philosophy to myself for now (or spill it out in a cookbook someday!) :-).
Back to the marmalade. Disappointed that Tyler did me wrong last time, I searched around again this year for a new marmalade recipe. I came across a PDF file from the University of California @ Davis which provides detailed guidelines for how to preserve oranges (PDF). It’s an amazing document. I also want to try raw packing the oranges for canning, but that’s for another day.
The recipe and canning instructions are contained within the file I referenced so I won’t repeat them here. The process took me about 1 to 1.5 hours to complete which isn’t too bad. The key is prep everything and have it ready to go, since the last 30 minutes is when all the action happens.
I used a combination of navel oranges and meyer lemons. I didn’t want to end up with a bitter mess, so I took time to remove as much pith as possible from both the peels and flesh. For the peels, I used a teaspoon and ran it on the inside of each peel and the pith came right out. I should note that my oranges were fresh picked and they seem to be more tender and easy to work with than store bought (which have likely been sitting around awhile).
The cooking process is simple and if you set a timer, all will go well. You cook the peels for 20 minutes, then add the cut up flesh and cook another 10 minutes. You measure out 4 cups and add the pectin, followed by the sugar. If all goes well, you end up with a big pot or dark orange gunk. Here is a pic of the pot just after I removed it from the stove and prepared to place it into the jars. It’ll be fairly runny at this point, but don’t worry. It will thicken as it sets.
I mentioned the other day that we’re having dinner on Saturday with a couple friends. The marmalade is one of the door prizes (and also my attempt and using our citrus before it falls off the tree). On Friday, I’m going to make small orange cakes to send home with them too. Unless I get another burst of energy, the gift baskets will include fresh oranges/lemons, a small orange cake, a jar of marmalade, and a bag of citrus peel candy. Fingers crossed that my friend’s like oranges :-)
Regardless, I fell in love with the little half-pint jars. They’re so squatty, aren’t they kinda cool?