We got a big bag of oranges for a dollar at the farmer’s stand. When life gives you oranges, make orange marmalade.
Originally we planned to make this recipe by Dave Lebovitz.
His ingredient list reads:
Oranges, water, sugar, salt, Scotch
He says the Scotch is optional, but it’s what attracted us to the recipe in the first place.
He uses Seville oranges that are less sweet and ideal for this recipe. Since we were using navel oranges, we added a lemon to the mix.
Our aim was to make this marmalade as ‘orangy’ as possible. Our ingredient list reads:
Oranges, one lemon, orange juice, orange blossom honey, orange liqueur
The end result is a flavour that can best be described as ‘essence of orange’.
We get fresh honey in different flavours at our local co-op. That’s why our marmalade is darker (and tastier!!!) than the one made with sugar.
The freshly-squeezed orange juice imparts a lot of sweetness on its own. Hence we could get away with much less honey. Don’t use regular clover honey. If you can’t find orange blossom honey, we recommend using sugar.
You can leave the peel out if you wish. To us, marmalade is all about the complexity added by the bitter undertones from the peel.
The next time, we will probably add a hint of ginger. If you are in India and don’t get the big American yellow lemons, use a sweet lime (mosambi) instead.
If you have a rice cooker, bread machine or crock pot, this is a good time to get it out. You can let the marmalade cook down while going about your chores. We used a wide pressure cooker base, left it uncovered, and stuck in a wooden spoon it in, checking it every 15 minutes or so.
To sterilise your glass jar (we made a quart of jam), simply run it through a dishwater cycle and take it out while warm, or wet it a bit by rinsing inside, and microwave it on high for a minute.
Some recipes use pectin as a thickener. We didn’t.
**Don’t worry about adding the Grand Marnier if feeding this to children. The alcohol completely burns off during cooking, leaving behind only the flavour.
‘Essence of Orange’ MARMALADE
(Makes 1 quart)
3 navel oranges
2.25 cups of orange blossom honey (or sugar)
4.5 cups orange juice (or water)
**if using water, you may need to increase the honey/sugar to between 3.5 and 4 cups
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp orange liqueur like Grand Marnier (optional)
**Scotch and Cognac are good substitutes
1. Wash the oranges and lemon with a drop of dish soap to remove waxy residue. Dry them well.
2. Peel the oranges and lemon with a vegetable peeler. Make thin peels and try to get only the coloured part, and as little of the white as possible. Cut the peel up into very thin strips, about an inch long. We got 1 packed cup of chopped peels.
3. Peel the oranges and lemon to remove all the white pith, remove all the strings and seeds and chop into small pieces. We got 3.5 cups of fruit.
4. Put all the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pan. Start with 2 cups honey/sugar. Bring them on high flame to a rolling boil. Reduce the flame to medium.
5. Let it cook down. Leave the pan uncovered. It will get more and more bitter as it cooks down. Keep checking every 15 minutes or so, tasting and adding more honey/sugar if you need it.
6. It took us exactly 2 hours to get to the right consistency. It will get thick and syrupy, and will coat the back of a spoon.
7. Keep a small plate in the freezer for 15 minutes. Take it out when you think the marmalade is done. Add a spoonful to the plate. Put it back in the freezer. After a couple of minutes, take it out. The mass of jam on the plate should have “set” a bit. It should not flow, and it should crinkle a tiny bit when you touch it.
8. Switch off the flame, cover the pan and let it cool for 30 minutes. Put the marmalade in a sterilised glass jar.
9. Cover it, let it cool completely, and refrigerate.
Tip: If your marmalade thickens too much after cooling, reheat it, add some orange juice, bring it to a boil, and cool it again.
Also sending this to Meeta at What’s for Lunch, Honey? for her Big Birthday Bang.
All about Oranges