Every year I challenge myself with finding new ways to use all the oranges we have at our disposal. In fact, I have a secret Pinterest board dedicated solely for this purpose. I've saved all kinds of things; cakes, breads, glazes, salads, donuts, infused oils, cleaning products, holiday decorations ...you name it, I've pinned it. I'm not sure I'll ever attempt making all of them but they're there as inspiration should the mood strike. With oranges being in season during the winter months, I figure those cold lazy days could be made useful by making a few things.
Since becoming a Certified Master Food Preserver from UC, I've been spending some of my free time volunteering to teach others the art of food preservation. It's been a rewarding hobby and I've learned so much through the experience. I recently invited one of my fellow alumni over for a day of marmalading. It was my very first time making it and I knew I could use her expertise during my first go round. My mom and niece came over for the afternoon as well and we put on our aprons, turned up the music, and got to work.
After reviewing recipe options (some varied in sugar from 3 to 9 cups! for nearly the same amount of fruit) I decided to use a recipe from So Easy to Preserve a book we refer to when teaching others about canning. I adapted the recipe to suit my taste preference for all thing spicy by adding dried chili flakes. I wanted a sweet and spicy marmalade I could also use on grilled meats, as a base for salad dressing, or to stir in couscous for a little extra kick.
I did come to the realization that buying really good marmalade is expensive because it's very time consuming. Some recipes suggest soaking the fruit 12-18 hours and take up to three days to make. And there's all the peeling and chopping. I found the whole process therapeutic instead of a chore. In fact, we made two batches and the next day I made another on my own. It was good practice as one batch came out a little undercooked and runny and the next was a tad overcooked. But all in all it was a great day of learning and I'm looking forward to making more!
If you suddenly have a hankering to eat marmalade but aren't all gung-ho to make it you can buy a jar here. I haven't tried their Spicy Orange (although I bought some!) but have had their Ginger Pear Preserves which I could eat straight out of the jar by the spoonful!
If you're looking for a great book on preserving, this is my favorite. Worth it for the stories alone.
Spicy Orange Marmalade
7 half-pint jars
Adapted from So Easy to Preserve
4 cups thinly sliced orange peel (about 6 large oranges)
4 cups orange pulp, thinly sliced
1 cup thinly sliced lemon (about 2 medium lemons)
6 cups water
Sugar - about 6 cups
1 1/2 - 2 teaspoon dried chili flakes, depending on preference
Add water and prepared fruit in a saucepan.
Heat to simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
Cover and let stand in the refrigerator overnight.
[url href="http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_01/sterile_jars.html" target="_blank"]Sterilize canning jars[/url].
Measure fruit and liquid remaining in saucepan.
Add 1 cup of sugar for each cup of fruit mixture.
Bring slowly to boiling, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
Stir in dried chili flakes.
Cook rapidly to the [url href="http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_07/jelly_point.html"]jellying point[/url], about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour hot marmalade into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
Wipe jar rims and adjust lids.
Process 5 minutes in a [url href="http://www.freshpreserving.com/tools/waterbath-canning" target="_blank"]Boiling Water Bath[/url].
Remove from water bath and let stand overnight.
Marmalade will be shelf stable for one year.