Marmalade

I do this religiously once a year with blood oranges, but really any type of oranges will do fine.  Blood orange marmalade, however, has a much more complex flavor that lends itself well to pairing with odd things like cashews and truffle oil.  

This recipe is not complicated, but it takes a long time, and if you don't have the right equipment, you will be miserable.  Every year, about halfway into slicing the oranges, i realize that's why i keep meaning to buy myself a mandolin, then the rest of the year i put it off because they're so expensive.  On marmalade day, though, i would happily pay someone twice as much to bring me one.

Makes about 10 - 12 pints.

Ingredients: 

3 ½poundsoranges (7-8 medium)
2
lemons, juiced, and zest finely grated
12cupswater
7 ½poundssugar

Optional: Substitute 2 cups of the water for a cup each of bourbon and amaretto, added when you add the sugar.

Equipment:

  • Mandolin for slicing oranges
  • 10-12 16oz canning jars with rings and lids
  • Canning funnel
  • Canning tongs
  • Ladle
  • 12-quart pot
  • Another large pot for canning (water bath is okay because of the amount of acid and sugar in this)

Directions:

Prep:

  • Wash the oranges and lemons thoroughly.
  • Cut oranges into ⅛" slices with a mandolin, removing the seeds as you go. 
  • Stack the orange slices and cut them into quarters or eighths. 
  • Zest the lemons
    and then juice them.

Cooking:

  • Put oranges, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and water into a 12-quart pot.
    Set over high heat and bring to a boil.  
    Reduce heat to a rapid simmer, and boil for 40 minutes.
  • While fruit is cooking, prepare your canning equipment.  Fill a large pot (12 quarts or more) ¾ full with water and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, place your jars, lids, ladle, and funnel into the boiling water, along with anything else that will come into contact with the marmalade during the canning process.  Boil for ten minutes. Once sterilized, turn off the heat, but leave them in the water until you're ready to can.
  • Place a small ceramic or glass plate in the freezer.
  • Once 40 minutes has passed, increase heat under fruit mixture and return to a full boil.
  • Add sugar.  Now your life becomes hell.
  • Stir constantly until it reaches a temperature of 223 degrees Fahrenheit.  This takes a long time.  The original recipe i used said something like 15 - 20 minutes, but for me it always takes about 70 - 90 minutes. But if you stop stirring, your kitchen will burst into sticky sticky flames. Do not let it boil over.  If it does boil over, it will ruin your life.  Don't bother trying to clean it; just move.
  • You can test the readiness of the marmalade by dripping a small amount of the mixture onto the frozen plate.  Leave it for 30 seconds, then tilt the plate.  If it runs, it's not ready; if it just sits there jiggling, you're done!  Turn off the heat.

Canning:

  • Remove jars from the hot water bath and drain on a clean towel.  Turn on the heat under the water bath again.
  • Fill the jars through the funnel with the ladle leaving about ½" of space at the top of the jar.
  • Wipe off any marmalade that's gotten onto the rim of the jar, then add lids and rings.
  • Put something in the bottom of the water bath to keep the jars from touching the bottom of the pot.  If you have a jar rack, awesome; otherwise in a pinch you can use a round cake rack, a metal trivet, a dishtowel or a few handfuls of marbles.
  • Return the filled sealed jars to the water bath and bring to a boil.  The water must cover the jars by at least an inch.
  • Boil for 10 minutes.  
  • Using the tongs, carefully remove the jars from the water and place on your draining towel.

Waiting:

  • After they've dried a bit, turn the jars upside-down to encourage the jars to seal properly.  (This is optional; I don't know if it actually has any sort of effect, but it's something i always do when canning.)
  • After 24 hours, they're sealed and ready.  Feel free to give them away, eat them, store them in a cool dark place, or just admire them on a shelf.  Unopened jars will last for a year or more if kept out of the light.  Opened jars will keep for quite some time in the fridge.