When the year gets old and the weather gets cold the produce departments are full of citrus fruits. I love the look of a bowl of oranges on a winter table, and fresh orange juice and eating an orange with supper.
Unfortunately we don't always eat all those juicy delights. They shrink and lose color and become fairly unappetizing. Neither the dog nor the chickens seem interested in old oranges, and they don't compost well.
But, after some research and a few failed attempts I have devised a method to make those tired, dried up globes into excellent marmalade using just the oranges and sugar, and a lemon, or not.
Step 1: What You Need
8-12 quart saucepan
canning pot and jars
5-6 oranges (about 2 1/2 pounds)
4 pounds of sugar
I am not convinced that a lemon is necessary. My most recent batch included some tangerines, so use what you have! You could blend some awesome flavor that would just blow people away. Whole lifestyles might evolve around the unique taste and color. Maybe, your finicky family would praise your skills... Well, onwards!
Step 2: Preparing the Oranges
Start by washing your fruit and slicing off the ends to remove any little pieces of stem. You'll want the finished product to look beautifully clean and without discolored pieces, so trim any dark spots, too. This is where most recipes call for you to slice those oranges impossibly thin, without cutting any fingers. I cannot slice them thin enough no matter how careful I am. That's what inspired me to try the food processor.
Cut your oranges into chunks and remove the seeds. Put them into the food processor. Process until the pieces of peel are small as you desire. I usually try to get them smaller then my smallest fingernail, but it's up to you
Step 3: Cooking, Part One
Put the orange pulp and the six cups of water into an eight quart stainless steel or enameled sauce pan.
Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer strongly about 45 minutes. This boiling helps to soften the bits of peel and extract the oils. If your oranges were especially dry and tough simmer for an hour.
Step 4: in the Meantime
Meanwhile, fill your canner about 1/2 way with water and start heating it.
Clean six pint jars, lids and rings.
Get your canning funnel out, clear the decks and prepare to can.
You do not need to pressure can this marmalade. In fact, you can keep it in the refrigerator for a few weeks if you just don't want to do the whole "canning" thing, it's fine.
Step 5: Jamming. Well "Marmalading" Just Looks So Wierd.
Turn up the heat and bring the pulp to a boil.
Add the sugar.
Stir, stir, stir.
Continue to boil, stirring frequently until the mixture reaches 224 degrees on a candy thermometer.
This took 45 minutes for me today, so it won't be quick.
Step 6: Interlude -If You Don't Have a Candy Thermometer
Having no candy thermometer makes the timing trickier. Start by putting two steel spoons in the freezer. The idea is that you put a small bit of the boiling marmalade on a cold spoon and it cools quickly so that you can tell if it will be a good consistency. If it is too runny, cook and stir another five minutes, check it on the other spoon which will b e nice and cold, right?
The mixture will also take on a different character as it gets near the correct temperature. It will become somewhat glossy, the boiling will splatter and send up drops. It will become slightly darker.
Monitor the consistency, take your time.
Step 7: Canning and All That Jazz
OK, you have your marmalade at the right temperature, now ladle it into jars to within 1/2 inch of the rim, wipe, cap and tighten the rings.
Place in boiling water, covering the jars.
Boil ten minutes.
Remove from water and admire while the caps snap tight.
Let cool overnight before you panic about consistency.
Step 8: Marmalade on What?!
Try some when you are grilling. It is awesome on salmon as well as pork chops. If you have a batch that didn't set it works well as sauce on ice cream, also on sweet potatoes.
Marmalade and peanut butter sandwiches cannot be beat.