I recently received some beautiful oranges harvested from Bream Family Farms (Lindsay, CA) where the grower shared the oranges came directly from their "Legacy Block", planted in 1912. Can you imagine such history? To have a chance to taste something such as this was truly a treat. I decided to whip up a batch of my marmalade.
What is it about a homemade jam or jelly that calls me in like a moth to a flame? There's just something so patient and nostalgic about it that makes me appreciate at the deepest levels of my chef soul, the fact that someone took the painstaking time to prepare an item that truly is a labor of love! If you haven't noticed, I love old recipes, old methods, and old ways of doing things. It's taught us a lot about why we do what we do today!
Now having said that and not to deter you from trying this recipe project, I want to encourage you to embrace a process that does take a tremendous amount of time but the result is something that's enjoyable for a long long time!
Y'all, this recipe is awesome. Every time I make it I get so many compliments from those who I share it with. The secret? Well of course good quality ingredients but my ultimate secret weapon of delicious taste is the use of salt. Yes, salt! Now, the recipe calls for salt to taste and I do that for a reason! How sweet were your oranges? Were they a little more tart? The sugar content in the recipe and the sweet or sourness of the oranges will affect the final taste so I suggest to just add enough salt to pop the flavor! It shouldn't be "salty" at all. It's the same reason why we add salt to chocolate chip cookie recipes, or banana bread and so on. It's to pop the flavor! Salt is the ultimate driver of true seasoning!
Now the chilies I use in this recipe are more or less to make it even more pretty but they do contribute a bit of "warmth". They are not hot and will not make your marmalade overly spicy, trust me! I would not steer you wrong. I want your life delicious! You can find these in the section of your market where they sell Latin-inspired foods.
So here's what it will look like when you make your way through the process! This recipe is just delicious and the entire orange is used! Kick out any seeds of course but do not be shy to use the entire rind, the pulp, the juice, all of it! Let's go!
- 3# oranges, remove rinds and julienne, fruit chopped, save all juice
- zest of 1 lemon
- juice of 1 lemon
- 6 cups water
- 12 ea dried chili d'arbol, seeded, stems removed
- 9 cups granulated sugar
- salt to taste
- 6 each pint size, canning jars with lids
Prepare boiling water-canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
Combine orange rinds, fruit, juice, lemon zest, lemon juice and water in a large, deep stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes. Add dried chilies and partially cover. Continue to cook; boiling gently, stirring occasionally, until fruit is very soft, about 30 minutes.
Maintaining the boil, gradually stir in sugar. Boil hard, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches gel stage, about 15-18 minutes. Remove from heat and test the gel, (put about a teaspoon on an ice cold plate, I keep mine in the freezer!) If the gel stage has been reached (the cold marmalade will not run on the cold plate), skim off foam. Season with salt to pop the flavor! It’s the secret ingredient, so be sure to add a touch. Ladle carefully hot marmalade into prepared jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim and center lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
Process filled jars in a boiling water-canner for 15 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed. Store in a cool area and enjoy!
Makes 6 jars
** Final Note! If your marmalade turns out to be a little thinner and not so spreadable, I want you to know that it's still a masterpiece. This sauce makes an amazing glaze for BBQ chicken, pork ribs, and more. It's beautiful poured over cream cheese and enjoyed with salted crackers. Try it over your favorite ice-cream or some fresh berries. It's outstanding!