last post you would know that I was drowning in citrus several months ago (has it really been that long?!). Knowing that a marmalade is a must for citrus season, I set off one Friday evening to tackle my foe. You see, last year I tackled two marmalades, a traditional orange and a four citrus variety. Both failed in terms of consistency, being extremely hard. If you put the four citrus marmalade in the fridge, it needed to be heated up before it was spreadable. Needless to say, it was only used in hot oatmeal.
I pulled all my canning books off the shelf, spread them across the kitchen counter. Then I searched the internet (this couldn't possibly be a new idea). I didn't like any of the recipes (either because of technique or flavoring or whatever) so I thought, "I'll just make my own recipe!" After three years at this and a good understand of acidity, I figured I could make something that tasted good and that was safe for canning. These two high acid fruits were perfect for a newbie recipe maker.
I used multiple recipes from several books to get an idea on how to best deal with the orange rind. The rind is what makes marmalade so much more tricky and time consuming than a normal jam. But it is well worth it. There's two methods I used for removing the bitter white pith from the flavorful orange rind. After scrubbing the orange in hot water (to remove the silly wax they put on it), you can either cut the pith and rind off together then trim the white pith off, or the easier method (I learned) is to carefully remove just the rind, leaving the pith attached to the flesh, then removing the pith afterword. Deal with the pith only for the oranges, not the clementines. They don't have as much pith and it would be a pain to attempt to remove it.
The other tricky maneuver is sectioning the oranges. This is simply done by using a paring knife to cut on either side of the membrane (the white line between segments) so that the pieces slip right out. Be sure to do this over a bowl to catch any juice that drips. Squeeze the remaining membrane to extract all the juice, then combine with any seeds in a little cheesecloth bag. The seeds and membrane contain lots of pectin that will help the marmalade to jel.
The recipe goes as follows:
2 navel oranges (15.75oz)
5 clementines (15 oz)
About 3 cups cranberries (7.5oz)
4 cups filtered water
3 cups granulated sugar
After removing pith from rind, VERY thinly slice the rind into strips (do this for the clementine rinds as well). Combine rinds and water in a pot, cover, and boil gently for 20-25 minutes, or until the rinds are soft. Add citrus segments (I cut the clementine segments into thirds), cranberries, and cheesecloth bag containing the orange membrane and seeds. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove cheesecloth bag, stir in sugar. Cook until desired set, approximately 20 minutes. Ladle into sterilized jars and process for 10 minutes.
Makes about 5 half-pints and one 4oz jar.
Did I mention that it's really good? It's REALLY good. Try it. Now. Before oranges go out of season. (I hope you frozen cranberries in the fall.)