There is always something growing in our backyard. Right now it is oranges. We have a lovely mature tree in our backyard. It looked a bit sad when we moved in, but it is amazing what a bit of water and compost can do! We have oranges in spades. I have been making fresh squeezed orange juice as fast as the oranges fall off the tree. However, as soon as the oranges get ripe, there is an inevitable task to be done: marmalade. There isn’t too much that you can do to preserve oranges. You eat them, drink the juice and make marmalade. This weekend, Alex picked a bunch of the oranges that were ripe and the timer was on to make the marmalade. My recipe is variation on my Great-Grandmother Chadwell’s recipe. The trick to yummy marmalade seems to be in using grapefruit. This year I also replaced the normal lemons with a California favorite: meyer lemons. There is just something about these lemons. They are a bit sweet and have a lovely juxtaposition of sour and sweet flavor which leads to much tastiness!
Alex took the morning off to help me get started and I canned all day long. In total I made four recipes which amounted to 19 pints and 5 quarts of marmalade which should keep us in marmalade until next year. In case you are up for a day (or a couple of hours) of canning, here is my recipe.
Instead of normal pectin in this recipe I use Pomona’s Universal Pectin. You can find it at Whole Foods or any natural grocery store. It allows the jam to gel with about a third of the sugar that one would normally use.
First things first! Make calcium water:
½ t. of calcuim powder (from the Pomona’s Universal Pectin)
½ c. of water
Mix well together in a clear glass jar and put it in the refrigerator. This solution will keep a couple of months. If you see any discoloration: don’t use it.
This recipe will make about 7 pints of jam depending on the size of your fruit. So take 7 pint jars, screw caps, lids and a funnel and put them into a large pot of water. The water should cover the tops of the jars. Then cover the jars and boil the water. Once the water begins to boil, turn it down until you are ready to use the jars.
15 medium sized oranges
4 large grapefruit
4 meyer lemons
¼ t. baking soda
1 package of Pomona’s Universal Pectin
4 c. sugar
*Note on ingredients: Our orange tree produces oranges that have a lot of pith in them. In this recipe there is an increase in the amount of oranges to account for this. You are aiming to have about 12 cups of liquefied fruit so you can adjust the recipe accordingly. Additionally regular lemons can also be used, Meyer lemons are just better.
Use a microplane to zest 3 grapefruit, 5 oranges, and 2 lemons. If you don’t have a microplane then you want to use something that makes the rind similarly small. When you zest just take off the rind not the pith(white part). You can add more or less zest as you like it. Then slice off the rest of the rind and the pith from all the fruit. It isn’t crucial that you get all of the pith off, just most of it. Then cut up the fruit and take out the pits. Then take the cut up fruit and put it in a blender or food processor to turn it into a fruit soup of sorts.
Take the zested rind and put it in a saucepan with the baking soda and water. Heat to boiling and then simmer for 10 minutes. Then add in the processed fruit. Also add 6 teaspoons of the calcium water. Then let the mixture boil. While the fruit is heating up take the sugar and the pectin (it is tan and in the larger pouch) and mix the two together. Once the fruit has boiled add in the sugar and pectin and stir vigorously until the sugar has dissolved into the fruit.
Once the fruit is boiling, it is time to can. Take one jar out of the boiling water and set it near the boiling fruit. Then place the funnel on top and pour enough of the fruit in until you have about and inch left in the jar (the bottom of the screw part of the jar is a good estimation of this). Then place the lid on top and take your fingers and push it down to ensure that it is secure. Then take the screw top and place it over the lid and tighten as much as possible. Two old washcloths are good to use to protect your hands from the hot jars. Now listen to your jars pop as they tell you they are sealed.