ORANGE CRANBERRY MARMALADE

Perfect for a winter holiday breakfast or brunch

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARGAUX GIBBONS

Fresh winter oranges are such a delight in the deep, cold winter. It is actually a treat to slice oranges for an hour or two while making this recipe, with their fragrance lifting one’s spirits the whole time.

The color, texture and flavor of this marmalade are remarkable. The cranberries maintain their independent structure in the translucent medium of the oranges. They add a rosy glow and delicious tart flavor to balance against the sweetness of the oranges.

The joy of preserving fruits is like hanging out with an old friend in the kitchen. Life is short and time is scarce, but making your own marmalade can be a luxury that we should all afford ourselves. Then you can share the experience as you give away these delectable gifts to the ones you love!

  • ½ pound lemons, whole, quartered with seeds and center membrane removed and sliced crosswise
  • 1 pound oranges, whole, quartered with seeds and center membrane removed and sliced crosswise
  • 1 pound oranges, peeled, pith completely removed, quartered with seeds and center membrane removed and sliced crosswise
  • 3 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • Water to cover (about 6 cups)
  • 4 cups organic cane sugar

Day 1: Oranges have less pectin in them than lemons do, so for this marmalade I include all of the rinds of the lemons to be sure it gels up nicely. Prepare the lemons by first washing and removing the ends, then slicing them in half lengthwise and then into quarters. You can now slice down the center of the fruit and remove the extra membrane and the seeds and reserve. Next, slice the wedges crosswise, making tiny triangle shapes. Add to pot.

Prepare half of the oranges the same way, by first washing and removing the ends, then slicing them in half lengthwise and then into quarters. Slice down the center of the fruit and remove the extra membrane and the seeds and reserve. Next, slice the wedges crosswise, making tiny triangle shapes. Add to pot. With the other half of the oranges you want to remove all of the rind, adding only the chunks of fruit. With your knife, remove all of the rind and pith from the fruit and set them aside for another project. Slice the fruit into half lengthwise and then in quarters. Remove seeds and center membranes and slice fruit into small chunks. Add to the pot.

Take all of the seeds and membrane and place in a cloth tied VERY WELL. I recommend using “flour sack” cloth that you can find at most hardware stores. You can cut the fabric into the size that you need and reuse it again and again. There is a lot of pectin found in the seeds and pith that you do not want to simply discard and lose. Do not worry if you do not have a lot of seeds, as the lemon contains a lot of pectin that will contribute to the gel set.

Add the pectin bag to the pot with your lemons and cover with water. In a covered pot, bring contents to a boil and then simmer for about 1 hour until the peels are completely tender and the liquid is viscous. Remove from heat and leave pot, covered, overnight or up to 24 hours, in a spot that will not be above 80° F. Most countertops are fine. This step is so that your peels continue to soften nicely and the pectin continues to be released from the fruit.

Day 2: Put five plates in your freezer that you will use later to test your gel set. Begin to heat up your pot again and when it is warm to touch, remove the pectin bag. You are now going to do one of the more unglamorous things to do in the kitchen, which is squeeze out your pectin bag. You can use the same hand movement as if you are milking an animal and try and get every last drop out of the cloth. This is your extra pectin that will help your marmalade gel up beautifully.

In an uncovered pot, bring contents to a boil. Next, add the sugar and continue to stir the contents until all of your sugar has dissolved as to not scorch. Add the cranberries once the contents come to a boil. Continue to boil until your marmalade comes to the desired consistency, stirring occasionally or when needed to prevent scorching. This will take anywhere from 15–45 minutes. Test the gel set by placing a small amount of the marmalade on the plate and returning it to the freezer to cool. Once it is cool to touch, remove the plate and test its consistency. Turn off the heat once your marmalade reaches the desired consistency. When finished, remove from heat, fill jars and place in a hot water bath for 10 minutes for ½-pint jars. Yields 7½ pint-sized jars.

Variation: Ginger would be a nice addition to this marmalade. Add ¼–½ cup of peeled grated ginger.

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