The best part about winter is that citrus fruits are in season. Two of my favorites are blood oranges and Meyer lemons. These two are usually available only for a short period of time, so wanting to preserve them is only natural. Now that I’m a little more familiar with jam making and water bath canning, I ventured into making marmalade.
Marmalade can be a little more complex to make, because you want the slices of citrus fruit to be perfectly suspended in the jelly. I find recipes that yield those results usually have a 24 hour wait. This allows for natural pectin to develop and saturate, thus creating the perfect marmalade.
These are great smeared over toasted bread or toasted pound cake, or for use in desserts. They are sweet, deeply flavorful, and with a bit of bitterness at the end of the flavor profile.
Both of these recipes take 2 days to make. Do not skip the 24 hour wait. It ensures that the citrus slices will be perfectly suspended in the jelly. For the blood orange marmalade, you are essentially making natural pectin from the apples. The 24 hour wait makes for a better jel in the final marmalade. For the Meyer lemon marmalade, the lemon slices will saturate with the liquid, and pectin will release into the liquid slowly overnight, helping to make a strong jelly to suspend those lemon slices in the marmalade.
Blood Orange Marmalade
(From Mes Confitures)
• 1 3/4 pounds Granny Smith apples, preferably organic, unpeeled
• 4 1/8 cups water
• 2 3/4 pounds blood oranges, preferably organic, or 17 ounces blood orange juice
• 5 2/3 cups sugar
• 2 navel oranges, preferably organic
• Juice of 1 small lemon
1. Rinse apples, remove stems, and quarter apples. (do not remove peel or seeds)
2. Place apples in a preserving pan and cover with 3¼ cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
3. Strain apple mixture into a large bowl, lightly pressing on the apples with the back of a skimmer or a spoon. Discard the solids.
4. Now you need to strain the juice again. This helps in getting a clear jelly in which the orange slices will suspend, in the finished marmalade. First, grab several layers of cheese cloth (or preferably a jelly bag if you have one) and run it under cold water then wring out any excess water. Now strain the juice through the cheesecloth or jelly bag, letting the juice run freely into a container. Refrigerate the juice overnight.
Step 2 (the next day):
5. Measure 2 1/8 cups of the apple juice, carefully leaving behind any sediment in the container. in the container. You can discard the remaining juice and sediment.
6. Squeeze the blood oranges, save any seeds. You need 2 1/8 cups of juice. Place the seeds in a cheesecloth bag.
7. Rinse and scrub the navel oranges under cool running water. Cut each orange in half, then slice the oranges into very thin half moons.
8. Place the sliced oranges in a preserving pan or other large, wide pot. Add 1 cup of sugar and the remaining 7/8 cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the slices are translucent.
9. Add the reserved apple juice, blood orange juice, the remaining 4 2/3 cups of sugar, the lemon juice, and the reserved orange seeds in cheesecloth. Bring to a boil. Stir gently until sugar melts, trying to not damage the orange slices. Skim any foam from the surface. Continue cooking on high heat, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes. Remove the cheesecloth with the seeds. Return to a boil. Turn heat off. Immediately ladle the jam into hot, sterilized jars and seal in a water bath. Let jars cool and leave undisturbed for 24 hours. Makes about 6 half pints.
Meyer Lemon Marmalade
6 Meyer lemons (about 1½ pounds)
4 cups water
4 cups sugar
1. Cut in lemons in half crosswise, and remove seeds. Tie seeds in a cheesecloth bag.
2. Thinly slices each lemon half. Combine with bag of seeds and water in a nonreactive pot, cover, and let mixture stand at room temperature for 24 hours.
3. Bring lemon mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the mixture has reduced to 4 cups. This should take about 45 minutes.
4. Stir in sugar and boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Skim off any foam that forms. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, until a teaspoon of mixture dropped on a cold plate gels.
5. Turn heat off, and ladle hot marmalade into sterilized jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of top. Wipe rims with dampened cloth and seal jars with lids. Process the jars in a water bath for 5 minutes. Let jars cool and leave undisturbed for 24 hours. Makes about 6 half pints.