I, at least, bought organic sugar at the store so part of this thing is going right. After cooking the fruit down, I measured it and found that I had 4 cups worth of fruit and liquid. I added 4 cups of organic, made in Florida, sugar to it and began to cook it off. It gets up to 200 degrees rather quickly, but that last 20 degrees takes a while. I figured out that the sugar to water ratio has to be right for it to be able to go above boiling, so we are just evaporating off the excess water in the meantime. As I skimmed scum, I grew somewhat impatient and resorted to turning the heat up. Unfortunately, it almost scorched, but I caught it in time. At least I guess I did. It does not taste burnt. There was one tiny scorched spot in the bottom of the pan.
marmalade bubbling away in the pot
The next time I make this, or any other jam or jelly, I will definitely let it go at a lower setting and just make up my mind to wait. I will also use a smaller pot, so that the thermometer is deeper in the mixture. I hope this is about learning, not just about achieving perfection.
I scooped it up into the jars and managed to make 3 full half-pints and about a half of another. I put the three full ones in the hot water bath for ten minutes. The half of a jar, I just put in the refrigerator. I’ll eat it first. In fact, I’ve already had a couple of bites. The color is very nice and it tastes good to me. There is some bitterness from the peel and such, but I really kind of like it. The pectin certainly did its job; it is very dense and stiff. I detect no hint of laundry from the jelly bag. I look forward to having some with biscuits or English Muffins in the near future.
I learned a lot from this first Can Jam effort, how to use the mandoline, a little bit about patience, and how to make marmalade. I have just ordered both versions of Well Preserved. They are two different books with two different subtitles, by two different women, that are both about canning in small batches, which is more suited to the life I live now, unlike the huge batches I grew up with. I have canned green beans, tomatoes, muscadine juice and pears. I’ve made pickles of all kinds, pear mincemeat and just recently, scuppernong jelly; and many other kinds of jelly, but that was a long time ago. This one was all in the technique. I think the next time I make it, I will be smoother in the process, but I’m not sure that it could taste much better. I really love the contrast of the bitter and sweet in one mouthful.
My recipe for Blood Orange Marmalade
5 small blood oranges, locally grown, if you are so lucky.
Slice them 3/16 inch thick, crossways, so that you get that pretty star effect.
Place in a heavy bottomed pot with the juice of one lemon and just enough water to cover them. Make a jelly bag from cheese cloth or muslin. Put the end pieces from the oranges and the lemon rind and seeds in it. Place that in the pot also. Bring it to a boil and turn off the heat. Cover and let sit overnight or up to 12 hours.
Bring the fruit and liquid up to a boil again and cook for 30 minutes to evaporate some of the water and get the benefit of the pectin in the bits in the jelly bag. At the end of this cooking, take out the jelly bag and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. This is where the pectin is in most abundance. Pour that liquid back into the pot.
Now it is time to measure the amount of fruit and liquid that you have. I had approximately 4 cups. Add the same amount of organic sugar to the pot and bring it up to boiling. At that point, turn the heat to medium or lower and watch it carefully until it reaches 220 degrees. Skim off any scum that develops. Jar up the marmalade. You should have at least 3 half-pints. Process in hot water bath for 10 minutes. Set out on towel on counter and wait to hear the lovely pops of your jars sealing.
The finished jars of blood orange marmalade.