Citrus throwdown

OK, so it’s winter and a little bleak. It looks grey outside and sadly, it looks like this might be the case for another month or so. And just about this time every year, I manage to find blood oranges at the grocery store! That little reminder that there is a season for everything just might be enough to get me mildly excited about the months between Christmas and spring!

To be honest, of all of the citrus available, we don’t have a whole lot of variety in our neck of the woods. I know there are many more varieties out there, depending on where you look. But I’m not going to be picky. I’ll scoop of a bag of whatever I find. And happily, the blood oranges are pretty easy to track down.

It seems that every season, I find a few recipes to try that call for this rosy fruit. Oddly enough, several of them are from Canal House, whose recipes I often adore! Aside from kicking up a salad or a cocktail, the blood oranges make pretty amazing orange juice. Just add a couple to your juicer for some brightly colored juice sure to brighten up your morning.

So you can imagine how happy I was to find a recipe for blood orange marmalade this weekend, just when I was looking for a project. First, I should tell you a few things about me and jam. It’s only fair…

On a whim a few years back, I took it upon myself to make a wide selection of jams and jellies. I started with the strawberries in June, didn’t miss the gooseberries, all the way through apricots, peaches and pears and stopped somewhere around the Concord grapes. And that is not an exhaustive list, I assure you. I know I went a little too wild with my preserving binge. Even my good efforts to share jam with friends and family didn’t run me out of any flavors. My sister even received a flavor pack of every jam made that season. What a good idea, right?!?

Since then, I’ve tried to hold myself back. Strawberry is a favorite flavor for my husband, so most years I’ll make a few jars of that. Then I’ll have my work cut out for me trying to remind him to make toast throughout the year! I’ve also dabbled into a few jellies, but to be honest, when we’re talking about specific temperatures to get things setting just so, it scares me a little. It shouldn’t, I know. But for that reason, I will tell you that the jelly we’re talking about today provided me with a few challenges.

I am sure everything that went wrong stemmed from a misstep on my part! But I made a couple of substitutions to make up for the fact that things did not go as planned. Basically, I did not get enough liquid out of my apples. So I made up for that by adding water for the remaining liquid and a little pectin. I am sure things will go much more smoothly for you!

As suggested on the site where I originally found the recipe, this project is best tackled on a weekend. You could do it over the course of two week nights if you were well prepared and motivated, but since that never seems to be the case for me, I’ll spell out the recipe for two days! Plus, it was a nice way to spend a grey afternoon, especially with this cheery reward at the end. Also, since this recipe will make use of both fruit and peel, consider buying organic fruit where ever possible.

Happy jam making to you!

Blood Orange Marmalade

Recipe found on Leites Culinaria

Originally from Christine Ferber’s Mes Confitures

1 3/4 pounds Granny Smith apples

4 1/8 cups water

2 3/4 pounds blood oranges, or 17 ounces blood orange juice

5 2/3 cups sugar

2 navel oranges

Juice of 1 small lemon

Day One:

Wash apples well, cut into quarters, removing stem and core, but do not peel.

Place the apples in a large, wide pot and cover with 3 1/4 cups of water. Bring to a full boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 30 minutes. The apples should be soft.

Collect the juice by straining the apple mixture into a large bowl, light pressing the apples to get any remaining juice. Discard the solids.

Filter the juice a second time by pouring it through a cheesecloth. Collect the juice in a glass jar and refrigerate the juice overnight.

Day Two:

Measure 2 1/8 cups of apple juice, leaving the sediment that formed in the container. Discard any juice and sediment that remains.

Squeeze the blood oranges, saving any seeds, until you have 2 1/8 cup of juice. Save the seeds in a cheesecloth bag.

Scrub the navel oranges and slice into thin rounds. (Based on my experience, unless you want full rounds in your finished marmalade, you might consider cutting them down to halves or quarters, depending on your preference.)

Place the sliced oranges in a large, wide pot. Add 1 cup of sugar and the remaining 7/8 cup of water and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to medium and gently simmer until the slices are translucent.

Add the reserved apple juice, blood orange juice, the remaining 4 2/3 cups of sugar, the lemon juice and the reserved blood orange seeds in the cheesecloth. Bring to a boil, stirring gently. Skim any foam from the surface. Continue cooking on high heat, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes. Skim again if needed. Remove the cheese cloth with the seeds. Return to a boil, then remove from heat.

Immediately ladle the jam into hot, sterilized jars and seal. This recipe filled about six pint jars for me.



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