Before I moved to the bay area, I wasn’t really aware of orange seasons. Oranges were always available at the grocery store when I wanted them, and I didn’t think too much more about it. Now that I have an orange tree in my yard (along with two tangerines, a teeny grapefruit, two lemons and several little limes) I think about the season a lot. I watch with anticipation as the blossoms give way to little green nubs, which eventually grow and turn orange. I sample numerous super sour and not-quite-ripe oranges to see if they’re ready, and finally, after what seems like an eternity, they turn sweet. Our oranges have been in season for about 6 weeks now, and I’ve made a little ritual of going out and picking them off the tree for dessert. There’s nothing quite like a cold, sweet orange picked fresh by moonlight.
Anyway, as is the case with all of the ridiculously productive little fruit trees in our yard, our orange tree has given us way more fruit than we, our neighbors, and all of the teachers at Anabelle’s school can eat. I’ve put them in salads, I’ve squeezed them for juice, and I’ve made 2 batches of some of the best marmalade I’ve had in recent memory. We’re going to harvest the rest of the tree this weekend and do a run to the local food bank, but I think I’m going to have to make one more batch of marmalade, just to get me through til next year. Since even if you live in snow-laden MN (sorry, I heard about the storm this week, and don’t mean to rub it in…) you can always find oranges at the grocery store, I though I’d share the recipe here.
Sweet Citrus Marmalade
8 small-medium oranges
3-4 tangerines if desired
11 cups sugar
2 packages sure jell pectin
1/8 tsp baking soda
3 cups water or orange juice
3-4 Tbsp. whiskey (optional)
12 1/2 pint jam jars
Jar tongs and funnel, optional
1. Make sure jars are clean and sterile. An easy way to do this is to wash jars and lids in your dishwasher. Wash the fruit.
2. Using a paring knife or a vegetable peeler, remove the outer rind (orange part only) from the fruit. Chop the rinds into chunks or strips and set aside
3. Remove the remaining white rind from the fruit and discard. Chop the fruit into chunks, removing any seeds or tough parts. Put fruit and any liquid into a bowl.
4. Measure out the sugar and put into a bowl. Take 1/4 cup of the sugar, mix this together with the pectin powder, and combine this mixture with the chopped fruit.
5. Place the chopped peels in a large saucepan with 2 cups water or juice and 1/8 tsp. baking soda. Bring to a boil, turn down and simmer for 20 minutes. If you want a marmalade that is less bitter, you can use less of the peel, or omit it completely.
6. Meanwhile, fill a large, high-sided pot 1/2 way with water and place on the stove to boil. This will be used to process the jars once filled.
7. Once the peels have softened, add the chopped fruit and the additional cup of water or juice and simmer for 10 minutes.
8. Add the sugar, stir, and bring the mixture to a full boil. Boil hard for 1 minute
9. Remove marmalade from heat and add the whiskey, if desired.
10. Carefully fill the jars within 1/4″ of top, wipe off any drips and secure lids. I use a jam funnel and a ladle for this step.
10. Once all the jars are filled, you will want to process them in boiling water for 20 minutes. To do this, place as many jars as will fit in the pot described in step 6. The jars should be covered by 1″ of water. Return water to boil and boil jars for 20 minutes, in batches if necessary. Jar tongs are really helpful for this step.
11. You’re done! Once the jars cool, they can be stored for about a year. It may take up to 2 weeks for marmalade to set completely.