Saturday, October 27, 2012
(Please note that these are the ingredients listed in the Blue Book as referenced, though I have added my own directions to share how I proceeded in my kitchen with a bit more detail than is given in the Blue Book of Preserving.)
(yields about 6 half pints)
4 or 5 large oranges
4 or 5 large lemons
1 1/2 quarts water
Sugar (amount determined by amount of fruit mixture after initial steps)
a piece of cheesecloth
1. First work on the peel: I use a carrot peeler to take a thin layer of peel off the oranges and lemons. You do not want the pith—the white layer just below the peel. The pith has pectin and will be used later but do your best to keep it separate from the peel. You should have about 3 cups of orange peel and 2 1/2 to 3 cups of lemon peel. Slice it thinly. Reserve any pith that has come off the fruit.
2. Now slice the fruit and remove the seeds. Take off the layer of pith if it is thick. Set it aside with the seeds. Wrap the seeds and pith in the cheesecloth and secure tightly.
3. Use a food processor to break down the oranges and lemons. Pulse until the mixture is in small bits. The fruit will continue to break down when you cook it and marmalade is often a chunky mixture.
4. Place the water, all of the processed fruit, and the cheesecloth containing the pith and seeds into a large pot. Let this mixture sit overnight (not refrigerated). Note that you do not add the sugar until Day Two.
5. Bring the fruit mixture to a boil and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the peel is tender. Remove from the heat and discard the cheesecloth bundle.
6. Measure the fruit and liquid. Add 1 cup sugar for each cup of fruit mixture (yes, this will be a lot of sugar). Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Continue stirring as the mixture comes to the gelling point. The mixture will thicken, keep stirring. Perform a gel-test to see if the marmalade is ready for canning. Take a tablespoon of the marmalade and place it in the freezer for a few minutes on a very cold plate. After a few minutes, if the marmalade wrinkles when you push it slightly then it has reached the gelling point.
7. Ladle the hot marmalade into prepared jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Process in a boiling-water canner. Alternatively, place the marmalade in the refrigerator if you do not wish to preserve it in a canner.
I've found that marmalade sometimes takes a few days to set. Don’t be discouraged if your marmalade is loose. Wait a few days before you decide to re-process it or simply enjoy it as it is. Some batches of marmalade I’ve made have gelled perfectly, others have not done the same. It’s like a science experience—learn as you go!