Citrus season is almost over, but as I write, the last (or I’m hoping the last!) big winter storm is raging outside and any sort of canning seems like just the thing to keep the house toasty warm. I know when summer rolls around I’ll be so happy to have these gem-like jars of coral-colored goodness for our guests to slather on biscuits or muffins in the morning or for an afternoon snack.
This recipe for blood orange marmalade is a combination of Alton Brown’s and Margaret Yardley Potter’s and is as easy as pie. The initial inspiration came when cozied up last night with At Home on the Range a cookbook presented by Elizabeth Gilbert and written by her great-grandmother Margaret Yardley Potter.
I’m in love with this no-nonsense woman who is far before her time when it comes to honoring ingredients and the flavor of the food she creates. The recipes are more of a guide and written as my grandmother wrote her recipes rather than the exacting format more popular today. It’s how I cook and it’s a book that I’m loving spending time with. (Buy your local copy here at Hello, Hello Books!)
And for the more exacting formula:
Blood Orange Marmalade
1 3/4 pound blood oranges; about 5 medium oranges
1 lemon, zested and juiced
6 cups water
3 pounds pounds plus 12 ounces sugar
10, 8-ounce canning jars with lids
Wash thoroughly and slice the oranges into very thin slivers with either a sharp knife or a mandoline removing the seeds along the way. Quarter the slices and transfer to a large stock pot. Add the lemon zest, juice and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a strong simmer and cook for about 40 minutes or until the fruit is very soft. Stop here and refrigerate the oranges and continue the next day OR continue on with the rest of the recipe right off.
Place a small plate into the freezer.
While the oranges are cooking, prepare a large water bath with either a canning basket or a cake rack on the bottom. Add the jars and lids to the water and make sure they are covered with at least 1 inch of water. Cover with a lid. Bring the pot to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, and let sit until you are ready to fill the jars.
When the oranges are soft, add the sugar and return to a full boil for 15 to 20 minutes or until a candy thermometer reads 222 to 223 degrees. To make sure, place 1 teaspoon of marmalade on the plate in the freezer and wait 30 seconds. If the marmalade still runs when you tip the plate sideways, it’s not done.
Remove the jars and lids carefully from the water bath and set upright on a towel. Place a funnel over the jars and ladle marmalade filling the jars with 1/2-inch clearance at the top. Wipe any remaining marmalade off the edge, cover with lid to just hand tight and return to the water bath in either the canning basket or on top of the cake rack. Boil for 10 minutes and remove from water onto a towel.
Now comes the fun part. Wait for each lid to pop. This is your reward for a job well done. (Well, and eating the goodness you just created.)
Orange you glad I shared this recipe?
While there isn’t much time for anything in between trips, I do try to squeeze in a smidge to process jam that we make on the boat. I’ll make a big batch there and then bring it home to process in a water bath. While it’s an effort to do it, I’m always so grateful in the middle of the winter that I was able to eek out the time.
This batch came from a bunch of Champagne that was open but left behind by a family celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary. It happened to coincide with the rhubarb coming into full swing. The combination is a lovely one with the tang of the rhubarb softened slightly by the fruity Champagne. In any case, I love the color of it and it’s pretty special on our biscuits.
Rhubarb Champagne Jam
4 1/2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup champagne
1 box SureJell
1/2 teaspoon butter
6 1/2 cups sugar
Have all canning equipment and jars ready, sterilized and waiting in hot water.
In a medium stock pot bring the rhubarb and champagne to a boil. Add SureJell and bring to a boil again. Add the butter and the sugar and bring to a full rolling boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and transfer to the hot canning jars. Screw the lids on hand tight and process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Remove the jars carefully from the hot water and set on a towel spread out over the counter top. Let cool. Make sure the lids all ‘pop’ before storing for the winter.
Makes 7 or 8, 8-ounce jars
We be jammin’
While we can’t hold back the tide or the change of seasons, we can bottle it for a moment and pull it off the shelf to spread on our scones in the middle of winter. This column has one of my favorite jam recipes and thanks to a dear friend in Boothbay who has a huge peach tree, we have a plethora of jars on our shelves. And the recipe for Peach Vanilla Jam is in yesterday’s column in the Portland Press Herald.