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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Orange Marmalade

I have a million memories of my grandma Jeanne, but there are a few things - certain sounds, tastes, sights, and smells that immediately bring her back. The smell of roasting beef, the sound of cards shuffling, horseradish, old fashions, the sight of a perfectly sharpened pencil resting on a NYT crossword puzzle, and orange marmalade. We didn't really eat much orange marmalade growing up but at grandma's house, it was what you put on toast. And it was always homemade. I started making it myself a few years ago, usually around the holidays when the cold weather sets in and the oranges and grapefruits are starting to get good. After marrying an Irish guy, I realized that orange marmalade is something that should must be in the fridge at all times, with a dozen on reserve at all times because you never know who will stop by and leave with a jar.

This is based on Alton Brown's recipe. I like to make mine with a little grapefruit to add a little extra zing.

4-5 oranges - use juice oranges not navels, thinly sliced on a mandoline, seeds removed, and chopped
1 grapefruit, thinly sliced on a mandoline, seeds removed, and chopped
1 lemon, zest grated and juiced
6 cups of water
3 lbs plus 12 oz sugar


1. Put the oranges into a large pot (8-10qt pot). Add the lemon juice and zest and water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a rapid simmer and cook, stirring frequently for about 40 minutes - fruit should be very soft.

2. While the oranges are cooking, sterilize the jars and lids in a large pot of boiling water for five minutes. Remove and let dry.

3. Place a small plate in the freezer (so that you can test the consistency of the marmalade later).

4. Bring the orange mixture back to a full boil over high heat and add the sugar. Mix continually until it reaches 223 degrees on a candy thermometer and it's dark in color. It will take quite a while to get dark - wait until it does or you'll have soupy marmalade/failed batch. It should be bubbling up quite a bit, play with the heat if you need to but keep the temp as high as possible and let it thicken.

5. Test the readiness by putting a teaspoon of marmalade on the frozen plate. Wait 30 seconds - if it sets and gels, you're all set. If it runs, keeps cooking.

6. Pour the marmalade into the jars using a funnel. Top and seal the jars.

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