Saturday, September 13, 2014

Adventures in canning: Orange Marmalade...

a challenge.

I've discovered that like with beets, the world is evenly divided into those who love orange marmalade or those who cringe at the thought of eating it.

I happen to love it and in a moment of insanity decided, "Hey, how about making your own?"

Well, okay then.

Out came my trusty canning books and then a trip to the internet to compare methods.  I think there as many ways to make orange marmalade as there are oranges in the world.

I, however, being a purist, decided it had to be real marmalade concocted without added pectin (which according to marmalade snobs is not marmalade, but orange jam.)

I finally settled on my own method after consulting Alton Brown, Ina Garten, and sundry other resources. 

Some methods just slice the oranges leaving all the pith.  This could make the marmalade unnecessarily bitter.  Instead, last night I peeled the oranges with a vegetable peeler,  cut the remaining pith off  and held it in reserve (along with the seeds), and sliced the peel into little sticks.  I chopped up the orange innards, added the little peel sticks, two sliced lemons, and a quart and a half of water in a big stainless steel pot.  I simmered this for about 10 minutes, put a cover on it, and stuck it out on the deck to chill out over night.

This morning I tied the pith and seeds up in muslin and threw it in the pot.  The pith and seeds provide the needed natural pectin.  I simmered this for about 45 minutes and removed the muslin bag.

After adding the correct amount of sugar (translation: a ton of sugar) I brought it to a boil.  I boiled, and boiled, and boiled for about a week - okay, maybe it was only about an hour or so.  It seemed like a week.   After reaching 220 degrees on a thermometer, I did the freezer plate test method and ascertained it had sufficiently jelled to can.

I put it in 1/2 pint jars and water bath
 processed for 10 minutes.

I now have 7 jars of luscious orange marmalade.

Was it worth the work?

After tasting it, all I can say is, "Eat your heart out Smuckers!!!"

Later today I'll take delivery of 24 pounds of peaches and 28 pounds of pears to can. 

Just enough extra for breakfast tomorrow.

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