Marmalade: Preserving Sunshine in a Jar
If the grey skies of winter are making you crave sunshine, consider the sensory delights of a batch of golden marmalade. Because Seville oranges are in season during January and February, this is one canning project that belongs to wintertime— and the brilliant citrus fragrance filling your house will take your spirits on a mini-vacation.
To make 3 pints of marmalade you will need:
- 9 Seville oranges
- 5 cups sugar
- 6 cups water
If you’re not a purist, you can add a special touch by including 1/4 cup of whiskey or brandy.
Step 1: Scrub the oranges in hot water (for cleanliness and to remove any wax from the supermarket) and then cut them in half. Avoid using soap to wash the fruit. Some of the peel is added into the marmalade, and soap may affect the flavor.
Step 2: Holding each orange half over the stockpot or Dutch oven, pull the meat away from the peel and add to the pot—leave the seeds and pith that contain pectin, which will be needed later. Fingers work pretty well for this process, but you can use a spoon to help if needed. Drop the empty peels in the pot as well.
Step 3: Add 6 cups of water to the pot. It should more or less cover the mass of pith, flesh and peels.
Step 4: Put the pot on the heat and boil for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the pot sit overnight.
Step 5: The next day, remove the 18 peel halves out of the orange solution. They will feel slick from the pectin that has been released from the seeds and pith. Scrape the peels of any remaining pith. Julienne 15 of the peel halves into matchstick-thin shreds and set aside in a bowl (use more or less depending on how you like your marmalade). Discard the remaining peel halves.
Step 6: Strain the liquid in the pot into a 6-cup or larger measuring cup, reserving the solids. Place the solids into a jelly bag (a fine-mesh nylon bag) or into a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out as much of the liquid and pectin in the solids as possible. This process takes time, and you should squeeze vigorously to get as much of the creamy pectin out as possible. Save all the juice and gel that came through the mesh, and discard the solids remaining inside the bag.
Step 7: Return the strained liquids into a clean stockpot or Dutch oven. Add water to the liquids until total liquids measure 5-1/2 cups.
Step 8: Add 5 cups white sugar and the julienned orange peel into the pot and place over medium-low heat, stirring often.
Step 9: Put 3, 1-pint canning jar lids into a pan of simmering water to clean them. Preheat the oven to 250 F. Remove jars from water place in pre-heated oven. While you are heating the marmalade, the jars will be sterilizing.
Step 10: Bring the marmalade to 220 F, stirring it often to prevent scorching.
Step 11: Stir in 1/4 cup liquor, if desired. Remove the sterilized jars from the oven and divide the marmalade between them leaving 1/4-inch of space to the top of the jar. Center the lid and band on jar and hand-tighten. Let the jars cool at room temperature with the lids on the jar. As the jars cool, you will hear the lids pop as they seal. By the time the jars cool completely, the lids should not be able to flex up and down when pressed in the center. Any jars that do not seal will need to be kept in the refrigerator and used first.
Step 12: Enjoy the luxury of winter sunshine in your pantry!
Your Turn: What is you favorite jelly, jam or preserve?