Creating winter sunshine with heirloom orange marmalade
This week, I found heirloom navel oranges and pink lemons at the local market. I couldn't resist thinking about the orange marmalade I could make with this beautiful seasonal fruit. Orange marmalade is one of my favorite treats to spoon onto a crusty toast or add as a tasty addition to Vincenzo's favorite dark chocolate, almond and orange biscotti I make every week for his breakfast.
The combination of oranges and lemons is important to have the balance of sweet and sour that is needed for a traditional marmalade. The lemons also keep the color bright and add pectin needed to thicken the marmalade. I love adding a little something extra to marmalade and in this case, I had a small bottle of blood orange vermouth (D'Sange Blood Orange Vermouth) from Mommenpop made in Napa Valley, CA. The taste of the liquor adds a nice spicy twist to the taste of the marmalade. You can also use good vanilla extract to give your marmalade a nice finish.
This was my first attempt at making marmalade and it is really delicious. I enjoyed using the mandolin to slice the fruit nice and thin, but be careful and always use the safety attachment with your mandolin as it is a deadly sharp tool to use. I did discard the top and bottom pieces of the oranges and lemons, otherwise all of the fruit is used in this recipe.
I'd love to hear back on how this recipe turned out for you!
4 lbs. seedless navel oranges (about 8-10 oranges)
4 cups water (add more if needed)
10 cups sugar
4 ounces blood orange vermouth (optional)
Vanilla extract (optional)
Wash the oranges and lemons well with warm water. Use a mandolin or sharp knife to cut the fruit into very thin slices. Remove any seeds and place into a large stockpot. Add water and sugar and place over medium heat.
Once the mixture starts to boil and the fruit starts to break down, turn to low heat for one hour. After an hour, take off the heat and let cool overnight.
The next day, stir the mixture well and use an immersion blender to break the fruit into smaller pieces if you wish. Place over medium heat again to start the cooking process. The mixture should start to bubble and the fruit should become tender.
Keep over medium heat for 2 hours, stirring often. Add more water if the mixture starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.
After two hours, check the temperature of the mixture with a food thermometer. Once the temperature is close to 200 degrees, it should start to create a syrup that coats the spoon.
Add the blood orange vermouth and/or vanilla (to taste) and stir well. Continue to cook for another 20 minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate.
Place hot marmalade into sterilized jars and seal. Makes 8-10 (8-ounce jars)