A friend of mine asked if I could make some orange marmalade for him. I recalled a recipe from Ina Garten that I had been wanting to try, and this seemed like a good excuse. I looked up Ina’s recipe on the Food Network and read it and the comments section. The general consensus seemed to be that it was a great recipe but called for too much sugar. Now, I’m not afraid of sugar (as my triglycerides can attest). But I wanted to make sure it was edible and not overly sweet. So I cut back the sugar just a bit. And, as my experience in jam-making has taught me, I added a bit of butter to keep the marmalade from foaming up when it is boiled.
The ingredients, with my alterations, are as follows:
- 4 large navel oranges (or 6 to 8 blood oranges)
- 2 lemons
- 8 cups water
- 6 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon butter
I wanted to make blood orange marmalade, because I thought the color would be stunning. Unfortunately, the grocery didn’t have blood oranges. So I used navel oranges. I washed the lemons and oranges, cut the ends off them, and cut them in half crosswise. Starting with the lemons, I cut the fruit into half-moons with the thinnest blade on my mandoline slicer. I began with the lemons, so I could pick out the seeds as I went. I put the slicer over the top of my pot, so the slices went right into the pan. That way, I avoided the mess of juice all over the counter, and I didn’t lose any juice.
Once the oranges and lemons were all sliced into the pot, I added the water.
I brought the water and citrus to the boil over medium-high heat, stirring often.
Once the mixture reached a full rolling boil,
I added the sugar and stirred until the sugar all dissolved.
Then I covered the mixture and let it sit on the counter overnight. By morning, the fruit had given up a lot of juice; there was a good inch or two of liquid floating on the top of the pot.
I added the butter to the pot,
and brought the mixture to a boil. I lowered the heat to a simmer, and simmered the marmalade for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Then I turned the heat up to medium, and brought the mixture to a boil.
I boiled the marmalade until it reached 220 degrees on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, I got my canning jars and lids ready, and put the pot on for the water bath.
I canned the marmalade in 8 ounce jars and processed it in a water bath for 10 minutes.
Then I set the jars on a kitchen towel to cool. I heard the pinging sound of the lids sealing, and within a few hours, the marmalade was set.
While the marmalade was simmering, I started making marbled rye bread. So by the time the marmalade was cool, I had fresh bread to sample it with.
Both the bread and the marmalade are delicious! I can see why Ina used 8 cups of sugar in her recipe; mine is a bit tart. But to me that’s how marmalade is supposed to taste. Some might want it sweeter. But it’s perfect as far as I’m concerned.