Oh my. It’s been HOW long since I’ve paid attention to this blog? I have been so busy working on gluten free recipes, I really need to get all this info together in one place!
Never mind that, now it’s Marmalade season! While I’ve made a couple of marmalades already, Orange Lemon, Pink Grapefruit, and a Pink Grapefruit with Whiskey in it, my favorite is this one. Blood Orange Meyer Lemon.
I’m going to give you measurements and directions that can basically be swapped out with any citrus. Don’t have Meyer lemons? No problem, use regular. Want grapefruit.. go ahead. What you do need to follow are quantities of liquid to sugar. Marmalade is essentially chunks of fruit suspended in juice that when cooked down with sugar, forms a jelly (note below for those who can’t use sugar). It’s the best of two worlds, Jam and Jelly, only chunkier. With this in mind, marmalades do not have to be just citrus! Orange Strawberry, Grapefruit Pomegranate, It’s all a balance of jelly forming juice, sugar and chunks of fruit or peel. I always recommend organic fruit for preserves. With marmalade, since the peel is used, it’s imperative to use organic so you and your loved ones are not ingesting pesticides and herbicides that are routinely sprayed on orchards. I also recommend a good scrubbing in water the hot side of warm, not hot enough to start softening the peel, to help remove the food grade wax that all commercially available citrus have on them, the other way to rid them of wax is a pre-boil, we’ll get to that.
Consider how much rind you would like in your marmalade, kind of like orange juice choices in a way, some like a lot of pulp, some like none. I like some pulp. Marmalade needs some or a lot of rind. This will help you determine how many rinds you need to slice up to make up the chunky part of your preserve. The rinds you don’t use could be reserved for candied orange/lemon peel.
BLOOD ORANGE and MEYER LEMON MARMALADE
Makes approx 10 8 oz jars
This is a 2 day process.. though if you find you’re busy you may drag it out longer.
2 lbs organic Meyer lemons
4 lbs organic Blood oranges
4 1/2 lbs organic sugar
5 oz fresh Meyer lemon juice
1 tsp salt (optional)
Begin by scrubbing the oranges and lemons in warm water, set aside. (OR skip this step. When you get to boiling the halved and sliced fruit do a pre- boil for 5 minutes, drain the fruit, add fresh water and continue with recipe. I prefer not to do this).
Halve 1 pound of lemons and 1 pound of oranges, cut each half into quarters, then slice those into thin pieces crosswise, so you have tiny thin triangles of fruit.(sorry I didn’t take a photo!). Place these in a pot large enough to contain them, fill with water just to cover fruit, place lid on, set aside.
Halve and juice the remaining oranges and lemons, collecting all the rinds into a stock pot. Reserve 5 oz of the meyer lemon juice separately, combine the rest with the blood orange juice. Refrigerate both.
Cover the rinds in the stock pot with water, lid it and set on the stove over medium heat (this is where you might do the pre-boil for both the halves and slices). Place the sliced lemons and oranges over medium heat as well. Bring both to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 2 hours. Turn the heat off under the slices but NOT the halves. Continue to boil the halves until they are very tender but not falling apart, another 30 -60 minutes.
Remove halves from heat, let cool for an hour. Using a large mesh strainer or colander lined with cheesecloth suspended OVER a bowl, pour out the citrus halves and their liquid, letting the rinds catch in the strainer, do NOT press on the rinds, just let them drip. Cover this with plastic or clean kitchen towels and let rest over night (no need to refrigerate, you will be boiling the dickens out of all the fruit).
I have often skipped a day here when I find I’m too busy to tend to cooking marmalade. To do this follow the first step in part 2, placing all the liquids and slices into a pot or container with a tight fitting lid, bring to a rolling boil, the turn heat off and let sit. Place the rinds in the refrigerator).
Setting aside the rinds, pour the liquid from the rinds and all the sliced citrus and their liquid into the jam pot you will be using (if it’s copper place all the sugar in first! so you do not immediately tarnish the whole pot, there by ruining the juice as well).
Holding a rind half in your palm, carefully scoop the white pith and membranes out, leaving a pretty shell of orange or yellow, set these aside, discard the pith. Scoop halves until you have how much you would like. Slice these scooped citrus halves into thirds or quarters and slice again crosswise so you have thin pieces of rind (you may leave some thick if you like).
Add the sliced rinds, the sugar, all the reserved juices to your jam pot, turn the heat on high and bring to a boil, stirring frequently so the sugars dissolve before burning. Turn the heat to medium-high, keep this at a good boil the entire cooking process. Once the sugars have dissolved it is not necessary to continually stir, but do pay attention to it, giving it a good swipe through now and then so it doesn’t burn.
Place a small plate with 4 spoons on it in your freezer, to test the jelly set. Prepare your jars for canning.
Since marmalade is fruit suspended in jelly, a jelly with out added pectin, the cooking time is longer than jam and will be determined by the amount of water in your fruit. The thickening and setting process is basically water boiling out and sugar reacting with the natural pectin in the fruit and the added acid of lemon juice. Gosh, science like this is so much fun! This is all to say I can’t give you an exact idea of how long this will take, at least 40 minutes. Stand watch, stirring occasionally, until the marmalade has cooked by a quarter and begins to thicken.
Once the marmalade has cooked down/ thickened up start checking for set. Do this first by scooping a small amount onto a large stainless spoon, hold the spoon sideways over your kitchen sink (away from the stove heat) letting the jelly fall off. If it is thick, leaving drops of jelly on the edge of the spoon then you can do the freezer test: turn heat off under marmalade, using a non frozen spoon scoop a small amount onto a frozen spoon, replace that into the freezer for a few minutes, then remove. Push the cooled (not cold) marmalade with your finger, if it wrinkles up, has some little bubbles suspended in it, then it’s set. The marmalade, off heat, should appear shiny and slightly gelled on top with small bubbles suspended in it. If not, return to boil, stirring, for a few more minutes and repeat the freezer test, turn the heat off under the jelly.
Once your marmalade is set, jar it up! (Remember to wipe the rims of your jars before placing lids on). Water bath or oven can according to your preference.
EAT THIS! I used marmalade to baste roasting acorn squash!
*note on sugar. If you choose not to use the recommended amount of sugar you must use some added pectin. I recommend Pomona’s Universal Pectin or Powdered Apple Pectin (from a local health food store) Both require the pectin to be added to your sweetener before hand, Pomona’s has an additional step, follow directions. Adding pectin will considerably alter the cooking time and, therefore, not cook down the marmalade the same amount, changing the overall taste somewhat.