Funny thing: the first time I saw a blood orange was 2 years ago when I was interning at a restaurant in Paris. I had to press around 100 citruses amongst which I found some blood oranges. I must confess that the I first though that I had blown one of my first assignments... But I hadn’t. Lucky me. So that was the beginning of my romance with this delicious citrus.
I went to the market last week and saw blood oranges. Oh oh oh. I love blood oranges, their color for one thing is absolutely beautiful. And the taste. They are not with us for long so I knew I had to make the most of them.
I came home with a bag full of blood oranges and I knew then and there that I was making marmalade. Or trying to. So I began my research. And this is what I came up with: not only was I making marmalade, I was also going to can them, so that I could continue to enjoy them in July, when blood oranges are no longer available.
Plus I don’t have enough space in my refrigerator to store the marmalade. I had no choice really. I obtained the most delicious marmalade. Bitter but also sweet. The perfect balance.
The recipe works for all citrus (orange and grapefruit for example).
It makes 4 x 250ml Jars
Blood Orange 1 kg | 5 oranges
Lemon ½ u
Sugar 850 g
Water 1.2 kg
Using a peeler peel the oranges. Slice as thinly as possible the orange zests.
Using a knife remove the pith – the white part between the zest and the flesh of the fruit. This is the bitterest part of the citrus and I have decided to take it off, even if in many recipes it’s included in the marmalade. In the case of the blood orange, the pith was very thick, so all the more reason to discard it. The zest will give enough bitterness to the marmalade. And I really don’t like the pith at all.
You can see how to peel and cut the oranges in the photo below:
Cut the orange in quarters and remove the hard filament in the inside part. Cut each quarter into small pieces.
In a bowl or container mix the zest, the flesh and the juice of the blood oranges, the zest and the juice of half a lemon and the water. Cover and refrigerate overnight. It will soften the orange zests and reduce the cooking time, plus it will allow to extract the maximum amount of pectin from the orange flesh and zest. This will make the marmalade set better.
In a pot bring the mixture of water + fruit to a simmer and cook for about 1 h 30 minutes – until the peel has soften. To test if it’s cooked, press a zest in between your fingers, it should be slightly see through and feel very soft. The time will depend on how thick you cut your orange zests.
Place 3 small plates in the freezer and prepare your jars. If you want implement the canning method you should read ahead to the Canning Method section below.
Add the sugar and mix once it’s dissolve bring the mixture to a boil and cook until set. So the big question is how do we know it has indeed set?
- If you have a sugar thermometer, now is the time to put it to good use. When you add the sugar place the thermometer in the marmalade. Cook until it reaches 105 degrees Celsius.
- And, even if you do have a thermometer you might also want to do this test just to be sure. After 10 minutes of boiling, you’ll see that the bubbles have become even in size. You might want to make your first test now. Take a plate from the freezer and spoon a small amount of marmalade on it. Let it sit for 30 s and tilt the plate. It should a soft gel that moves a little; if it is runny then the marmalade is not still ready.
Cook for some extra minutes and repeat the test. Test as many times as necessary. Maybe on your first attempt at marmalade you will need more the three plates in the freezer. You’ll get the hang of it.
It took me about 20 minutes. By then the bubbles were smaller and the marmalade began to darken in color.
Use a large pot because otherwise it might overflow and you’ll spend the afternoon cleaning your stove... Trust me when I tell you that it’s not a fun job!
Don’t be frightened by the raising volume of the marmalade as it cooks.
Using a ladle or a funnel if you have one fill up your jars that you have previously sanitized. Close firmly with the lid and let cool down at room temperature. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
If you don’t have a lot of refrigerator space or if you made enormous amounts of marmalade then maybe you might want to go one step ahead and can your precious goods!
This will allow to keep the marmalade longer and at room temperature. No need to store them in the fridge.
- The deepest pot you own
While the fruit is cooking (the first 1 hand 30 minutes) fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Place the jars, the thongs, the funnel and the lids inside the pot and boil for 10 minutes.
Very important: the water must cover the jars by 2 cm at least.
Turn of the heat and let them sit in the water until your marmalade is ready.
At this point, using your thongs remove the jars and the lids from the water. Place them upside down on a clean kitchen towel so that they drain well.
Place the funnel on top of one of the jars and using a ladle fill it leaving some space between the marmalade and the top of the jar. Repeat the operation until you have used up all of the mixture. Clean the rims of the jars with a humid paper towel. Top each jar with a lid. Make sure they are properly closed.
Place a rack in the bottom of your pot or if you don’t have one (like me ), you can place a folded kitchen towel, it will work perfectly. Bring the water to a boil and return the filled jars to the pot. Let them boil for 10 minutes. The important thing is that they don’t touch the bottom of the pot or each other. Make sure they are covered by water by at least 2 cm.
Using the thongs remove the jars from the pot and let them sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
You can store them at room temperature for up to 6 months. Once you have opened a jar keep in the refrigerator.