Orange Marmalade. It's just pretty, right? I really disliked it when I was growing up. In my opinion, it was fit only for the garbage. I vaguely remember trying it a time or two, and I was sure I'd never let the monstrous stuff cross my lips again.
So you can imagine my surprise, years later, when my husband returned home from a trip from South Africa and tells me, "We've got to make some Orange Marmalade!" My initial thoughts were somewhere along the lines of, "Sure, babe, you go ahead and do that. Nasty, son."
You see, Tadd went to South Africa to do some preaching and was spoiled by one of the sweetest couples we know, Mr. Paddy and Ms. Sandi. But I'm okay with that. My recipe book has benefited greatly. And we dearly love Mr. Paddy and Ms. Sandi. (Smile)
Tadd assured me that this was not your average grocery store orange jelly (cringe) and I eventually agreed to try to conquer the art of marmalade. Fast forward several years, and this is something that Tadd and I look forward to cooking up every March. I specify the month of March because that is when our most favorite oranges are in season.
Meet the Honeybell Orange.
Sadly, I doubt Honeybells are available just anywhere, but if you are in Florida in March or April, be sure to stop by a local market and try one. Or two. Or thirty. Or just bring your truck and load 'er down. You'll be so glad you did.
If you are not fortunate enough to have access to the beloved Honeybell, you can use any variety of orange. I'd just recommend using a variety with a soft, thick skin. Because you cook the peel along with the flesh of the fruit, you'll want one that breaks down easily.
Another tip that I'd like to stress is to invest in an accurate candy thermometer that is easy to read. Because stove tops may heat at varying speeds, it is important to watch the temperature more closely than the cook time. You really want the jelly to reach a temperature of 223º F.
Yield: Approximately 10 8 oz. jars
Active Time: 1 hr 30 minutes
Total Time: Approximately 24 hours
1 3/4 pounds oranges (4 to 5 medium)
1 lemon, zest finely grated and juiced
3 cups water
3 cups orange juice
9 cups sugar
2 3-ounce pouches of liquid pectin
Sanitize your canning supplies by boiling them for approximately 10 minutes.
Place a small plate into the freezer. You'll use this to test the readiness later.
Rinse the oranges and lemon.
Slice the oranges thinly and remove the seeds.
Stack the orange slices and cut them into quarters.
Place the orange slices into a large pot along with the lemon zest, lemon juice, water, and orange juice.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for approximately 45 minutes.
At this point, lightly blend the mixture with a hand blender to mince any large pieces of orange peel.
Increase the heat, bringing the mixture back to a boil. Add the sugar, one cup at a time, stirring continually.
Add the pouches of liquid pectin.
Over high heat, bring the marmalade mixture to a temperature of 223º F, stirring frequently. This takes me about 40 minutes, but this time can vary greatly depending on the temperature of your stove eye. Pay close attention to your candy thermometer.
Test the readiness by placing a teaspoon of marmalade onto the chilled plate and placing it in the freezer for a minute or two until the marmalade has cooled off. Tilt the plate. The marmalade is ready if it is a soft gel. If it is still runny, continue cooking until it passes the test.
Using a canning funnel, fill the jars with marmalade to 1/2 inch from the rim.
Wipe the rims of the jars clean with a damp towel. Finger-tighten the lids onto the jars.
Return the jars to boiling water and process for 10 minutes. You may use a pressure canner if you choose.
Remove the jars and let sit at room temperature for one day before opening. Store opened jars in the refrigerator.
For a printable version of this recipe, click here.
I hope you enjoy the marmalade! I tried to keep the recipe instructions simple, but drop me a comment if you have any questions!