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Orange Marmalade – the definitive recipe

I am going to post this over here and on my food blog because I am starting to forget things in my old age and need constant reminders. As I wrote about in this post when I last made marmalade, I have made jams, pickles, chutneys and marmalade both on my own and with my Mum. I love sharing this kind of activity with my Mum, I remember going round to my grandmother’s house to collect her jam pot and now that huge saucepan belongs to my Mother. Maybe one day in the very, very, very, very distant future it will come to me and I can carry on the tradition with my daughters. I hope so.

I blagged a bag of oranges from the next door neighbours again, third batch of marmalade in three years and the third different neighbour to give them to me! I tried another recipe this year because I was trying to make the process simpler. Last time it took absolutely forever to chop and slice the oranges and peel. This recipe did make it easier and the end result is awesome but not quite as sweet as I was expecting. Looking back at the old recipe I can see why, last time I used double the amount of sugar to oranges, this year I used about the same amount! Personally I prefer my marmalade a little sweeter but this batch is still delicious. I am going to get another bag of oranges when they ripen and make another batch, maybe with a little more sugar.

Orange Marmalade version 3.1
4lbs oranges about 12 (approximately 2 cups of juice and 3 cups of julienned peel)
4 cups water
2 lemons (juiced)
4-5 cups of sugar

Scrub the oranges and peel using a vegetable peeler, set aside the peel then prepare the oranges for juicing. I cut them into quarters, peeling the remaining pith/rind off and discarding. I juiced the orange bits and lemons in my fancy juicer which shoves all the pith/pips and dejuiced orange stuff into a handy container. I lined this container with a muslin cloth for easy capture to use later to extract the pectin which helps the marmalade to set.

Now finely julienne the peel until you have approximately 3 or 4 cups.

Bring the orange and lemon juice, water and juilenned peels to the boil in your jam pan, usually a large, heavy bottomed saucepan. Tie up the muslin bag containing all the pips and pith and orange leftovers and suspend it in your pot to cook with the juice. Let the mixture boil uncovered for about 30 minutes until the peels are softened. Remove from the heat and take out the muslin bag and leave it to cool.

At this point you need to measure how much liquid you have to be able to add the correct amount of sugar. I scooped the juice out of the pan using my glass measuring jug, you should have approximately 5 cups of liquid. Return the liquid to the pan and add the sugar. The measurements are approximately 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of liquid. I added about a cup less but would add slightly more next time.

Now its time to get the pectin out of the muslin bag. It should be cool enough for you to handle and you need to grab it with both hands and squeeze. The pips/pith and segments contain lots of pectin, the more you manage to extract, the better your chance of getting your marmalade to set at the right point. I squeezed the bag for about five minutes, alternating scooping off the gummy liquid that came out with squeezing until I thought it was all done, I estimate about 4 tablespoons in total came out of the bag.

Heat the mixture on medium high and bring to a rapid boil. This is the only really tricky part of the recipe but I can say with absolute confidence that after a few goes you get the hang of it. You need to know your stovetop and pan so that you can bring the mixture to a boil and keep it boiling for half an hour or more at the same temperature without burning the marmalade or caramelising it. I have a thermometer which clips to the side of my pan and gives an accurate reading and I also know exactly which level to turn my hotplate to. You want to boil the mixture at 220F or 104C until it sets. The best way to tell if your marmalade is setting is to test it on a plate straight from the freezer so as soon as my mixture starts to boil, I put three or four sideplates into my freezer. The marmalade can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour to set after it reaches temperature. This time my marmalade set after about 40 minutes of boiling, in actual fact it was probably done a few minutes earlier but I was trying to stop Stella from launching herself off a chair and delayed a few minutes. Take a spoonful and put it straight onto the cold plate, leave it for a minute and then run your finger through it. If its thin and runny, its not done, as soon as it starts to thicken up and wrinkle when you push it, its done, take it straight off the heat. The risk at this stage is that you boil the marmalade at too high a temperature and cause it to burn or caramelise before it sets. I tend to keep it boiling at just below the highest temp on my stovetop and boil it for slightly longer, testing at 5 minute intervals to see if its set.

Once its done you need to bottle it immediately. I sterilise my jars in the oven, keeping them in for about 15 minutes at 150C and ladle the marmalade directly into the hot jars using my jam funnel which is stainless steel and has a wide mouth that lets the chunky jam bits through but still fits into the mouths of most of the jars I reuse for jam. I leave the marmalade to cool before sealing it with plain old candle wax that I melt on my stovetop in a special little pot. Then lids on and marmalade is made and will keep in a cool dark place for months on end.

Using this recipe my marmalade set beautifully, its a delicious, golden, clear jelly and the rind is the perfect size and melt in the mouth rather than being chewy. I think this will be my go-to recipe in the future. For the record I actually doubled the amounts above so ended up using about 24 oranges instead of  the 12 and I still ended up with a great result, about 8 jars worth.

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2 Responses to Orange Marmalade – the definitive recipe

  1. Pingback: Craftyness, of the marmalade variety. | The Super Whites

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