Orange Marmalade

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Squeezing out the pulp and juices

In my perfect world I have fresh clean produce to pickle, jam and jelly on a regular basis. Saying that makes it seem like I’m an expert preserver, but thats also in my dreams. When I do come across something amazing, like concord grapes in the fall or strawberries in June, and I have time, then I start at square one trying to speed-learn the technique needed. Sweetness (how much sugar? How sweet do you like it?), doneness? (soft ball stage is not something you perform on! It’s a sugar temperature). Candy thermometers, clean jars, and boiling water are usually involved too. So I take the easy way out, making preserves that require freezing or refrigeration. Since I so rarely make jam or jelly it’s devoured before it spends much time in either place.

As for marmalade, I have never ever made it. My friend passed along a box of calamondin oranges (a cross between a tangerine and a kumquat) from her friend Laurie at Calamondin Cafe in Florida. After reading everything I could find, I settled on the process to use. On the day after the fruit cooked, and before adding the sugar, I met Michelle Jean who happens to import raw, hand-milled sugar from her native Haiti. With such special fruit, I was lucky to find her Zesaraw sugar at a local market. This sugar has a rich and deep flavor, but the oranges have a strong, bitter taste and I pictured the two making a beautiful pair, With so much flavor going on, I figured that it could be a little less sweet. This quantity made four jars. I gave three back to my orange-generous friend Hannah, and kept one for the house. So far I’ve had toast every morning with butter and marmalade, savoring every bite. It’s just so damn good that I wish I’d kept one more jar. I’d mix some with a little Sherry vinegar and use it to glaze browned pork chops. Hannah, if you’re reading this, please give it a try (and invite me over)!

  1. Wash and dry the fruit and jars. Slice each orange in half, remove the seeds. Thinly slice half the fruit (with skin). Roughly process (in a food processor) the rest of the fruit.
  2. Place in a large clean pot, along with about 3/4 cups water for each cup of fruit. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Cool and chill overnight so the juice/skin flavor intensifies.
  3. I had 4 cups of fruit. I added 3 cups of the intense raw sugar. If you want to assure a high sweetness level then use 4 cups.
  4. Bring to a boil, and cook while stirring until it reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer. My thermometer was broken. I cooked it about 35 minutes, Other recipes say anywhere from 15-40 minutes. What saved me was the freezer test. Put a plate in the freezer. Dollop a little marmalade on the cold plate and run a spoon through it, or tip the plate. It should wrinkle and stay in that position.
  5. Spoon the jam into lean jars. Cool and cover. Keep refrigerated.                                                NOTE: Second batch made with tangelo’s, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon cayenne. None was pureed, all fruit hand cut, therefor more chunky. Otherwise the process is the same as the above, and photograph in Instagram feed.

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