I love marmalade. Adore it, even. And it’s horrendously expensive where I live so I don’t get to have it very often. Well, truthfully speaking, I don’t buy it where I live because it’s not very good. SO, given that it’s California citrus season – or the end of it, actually – there’s a lot of low-priced blemished citrus around just aching to be resurrected into delectable, jewel-like marmalade.
I’ve never made marmalade before, or any kind of jam, but I knew this year was my year to do it. I collected all the jars I could find, and realized I didn’t have any lids for any of the narrowmouthed ones, so this was not going to be my chance to experiment with canning. Freezing and refrigerating it is.
I used an approximated recipe based on this basic one from Chickens in the Road. Only I mostly had clementines so I looked for a clementine marmalade recipe as well to get a rough idea of the amounts.
The most notable difference between my version and Suzanne’s (apart from the clementines) is that I used about 2/3rds the sugar that was called for. Since I’m not canning it, I don’t have to worry as much about the acid levels, and it was QUITE SWEET so I’m not sure how it would have tasted with the full amount of sugar she called for. Sweeter, I guess.
1 navel orange
I peeled the orange and clementines and thinly sliced the peel and separated it from the pulp. I didn’t pulp it enough, I’ll squeeze harder next time.
Then I thinly sliced the lemon without peeling it and altogether I had about 4.5 cups of peel and pulp.
I added 3.5 cups of water and brought it to a boil, simmered it for five minutes, then let it stand in the fridge for about 20 hours (it was supposed to be 12 to 18 hours. Didn’t seem to make a difference).
I brought it back to a boil after I let it stand, and boiled it rapidly for 30 minutes until the peel was tender. My peel was all different sizes because I am lazy with the knife, but this step would have gone more quickly if I’d been uniform about it.
Then I added 4 cups of sugar to the 6 cups of citrus slurry.
I boiled it for an hour and a half to get it to almost-gelling point. Remember I’m 5,000 feet above sea level so your boiling time will be different. You can tell when it’s close by either testing it on the back of a spoon or spooning some on a plate, putting it in the freezer for two minutes, running your finger down the middle and seeing if it gloops back together. If it doesn’t, it’s at the gel point.
I then added it to my jars, and ended up with about 3 pints (1 pint jar full, two half pint jars full, and one 500g French jam jar full).
It is absolutely delightful and I will be eating it on biscuits and Greek yogurt for hopefully weeks to come. “Hopefully” because I know I can knock back a half-pint of marmalade in a week, so we’ll see if I exercise restraint.
I am testing to see if the one jar I have lids for will seal with just heat instead of canning – I can do this because it’s going in the freezer, don’t try it at home, I just wanted to see. Note the bottle of two-buck chuck in the background – we tried it with dinner last night, and both of us give it two thumbs up.