Blood Orange Marmalade
A dazzling array of citrus fruits are in the stores and my thoughts naturally turn towards incorporating them into my life. I favour delivery systems that emphasize the zesty tang as well as the sweetness of tangerines, blood oranges, Seville oranges, mandarins, grapefruits and lemons, so was instantly drawn to a velvety marmalade after reading David Lebovitz's rendition on his blog. One point of departure: he uses Seville oranges and I had blood oranges. No matter. Where his product pulsated with an almost neon papaya hue, mine sang a more ruby-toned song.
Marmalade is marvellous with toast but please don't stop there. You can combine it with Dijon mustard and brush it on chicken breasts before grilling them, spoon it into a vinaigrette for a fruit-centric marinade, smear it on a scone, or dab a splotch on a wee wedge of creamy brie. Marmalade dishes out the sunshine during the winter months when we so need a dose, some bright merrimement in a jar for those cold mornings when tea offers warmth and sweet things make you smile. You can use Seville or blood oranges in the following recipe.
Seville Orange Marmalade - Photo courtesy of www.davidlebovitz.com
Seville Orange Marmalade from www.davidlebovitz.com
6 Seville oranges
1 navel orange
10 cups (2.5 liters) water
pinch of salt
8 cups (1.6 kg) sugar
1 tablespoon Scotch (optional)
1. Wash oranges and wipe them dry. Cut each Seville orange in half, crosswise around the equator. Set a non-reactive mesh strainer over a bowl and squeeze the orange halves to remove the seeds, assisting with your fingers to remove any stubborn ones tucked deep within.
2. Tie the seeds up in cheesecloth or muslin very securely.
3. Cut each rind into 3 pieces and use a sharp chef’s knife to cut the rinds into slices or cubes as thin as possible. Each piece shouldn’t be too large (no more than a centimeter, or 1/3-inch in length.) Cut the navel orange into similar-sized pieces.
4. In a large (10-12 quart/liter) stockpot, add the orange slices, seed pouch, water, and salt, as well as the juice from the Seville oranges from step #1. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook until the peels are translucent, about 20 to 30 minutes.
(At this point, sometimes I’ll remove it from the heat after cooking them and let the mixture stand overnight, to help the seeds release any additional pectin.)
5. Stir the sugar into the mixture and bring the mixture to a full boil again, then reduce heat to a gentle boil. Stir occasionally while cooking to make sure it does not burn on the bottom. Midway during cooking, remove the seed pouch and discard.
6. Continue cooking until it has reached the jelling point, about 220F degrees, if using a candy thermometer. To test the marmalade, turn off the heat and put a small amount on a plate that has been chilled in the freezer and briefly return it to the freezer. Check it in a few minutes; it should be slightly jelled and will wrinkle just a bit when you slide your finger through it. If not, continue to cook until it is.
7. Remove from heat, then stir in the Scotch (if using), and ladle the mixture into clean jars. Sometimes I bury a piece of vanilla bean in each jar. (Which is a great way to recycle previously-used or dried-out vanilla beans.)
Yields 2 litres.
Store in the fridge for a few weeks, freeze or can.
Pucker up with more citrusy sensations: