True Orange Marmalade

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes About

    8 cups

    (8 or 9 half-pint jars)

Appears in

A world away from commercial marmalade in fresh, bright clarity of flavor, this conserve (pictured) is a pleasure to make because the entire house is filled with the perfume of oranges. It is not all that time-consuming either. The most labor-intensive part is slicing the fruit, which takes about an hour.

Seville oranges from California are available for only a short period of time, from January through March. They are very high in acidity, which aids in gelling, and have the most intensely true orange flavor.

Plan Ahead The orange and lemon slices must soak for a combined 48 hours before you proceed with the marmalade.

Ingredients

VOLUME WEIGHT
5 (to 8) Seville oranges, depending on size . 21 ounces 595 grams
½ navel orange . 3.5 ounces 100 grams
½ lemon . 1.2 ounces 35 grams
water cups (1,538 ml) 3 pounds 6 ounces 1,538 grams
sugar about 8 cups about 3 pounds 8 ounces about 1,600 grams
lemon juice, freshly squeezed 1 tablespoon (15 ml) 0.6 ounce 16 grams

Special Equipment

Eight or nine half-pint canning jars (see Notes) | A canning pot or large pot with a rack (see Notes)

Method

Prepare the Fruit

Wash the oranges and lemon with dish detergent and a scrubbing pad. Slice the Seville oranges, navel orange, and lemon as thinly as possible, removing and reserving all of the seeds. You should have about ¼ cup of seeds. Place them in a small bowl and add about 6 tablespoons/89 ml of water. Cover the bowl and set it aside.

Place the orange and lemon slices in a large nonreactive pot, at least 5 quart/5 liter capacity. Add the water, cover, and let it sit for 24 hours.

Cook the Marmalade

Place the pot over medium heat and bring the fruit to a boil. Let it boil, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove it from the heat, cover, and let it sit for another 24 hours.

Measure the fruit and liquid. You should have about 8 cups. Add an equal volume of sugar. (If there is less fruit mixture, add less sugar.)

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until thickened, about 35 minutes. (An instant-read thermometer should read 221° to 225°F/105° to 107°C.) To test the thickness of the mixture without a thermometer, pour a teaspoon of the mixture onto a small plate and place it in the freezer for 2 minutes. It should wrinkle slightly when gently pushed with a fingertip. It will thicken considerably upon cooling. With a small spoon, lift out any seeds you may have missed that rise to the surface.

Prepare the Jars

While the mixture is boiling, sterilize the canning jars by filling them with boiling water. Also pour boiling water over the inside of the lids.

Make the Pectin

In a microwave or in a small saucepan over low heat, warm the seeds to melt the liquid, which will have hardened to a gel. Place the mixture in a strainer suspended over a small bowl and let it drain. This jellied liquid is natural pectin. When the fruit mixture is cooked, add this pectin and the lemon juice to it and boil for another 10 minutes, stirring often. Set the rack in the bottom of the canning pot. Bring enough water to a boil to cover the jars by 1 inch.

Can the Marmalade

Pour the hot marmalade into the sterilized jars, leaving inch headspace. Screw on the caps and place the jars on the rack in the water bath. Cover, return the water to a boil, and then boil the jars for 10 minutes. Remove the jars and let them cool before checking the seal. (When you press on the center of the lid, it will feel totally firm and unyielding.)

Store

In a dark area: cool room temperature, at least 2 years.

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