The citrus obsession continues here. My husband loves marmalade, and, to his credit, he is more than happy to help in the preparation process. He will painstakingly remove the citrus zest, then carefully peel away the bitter pith. All I have to do is cut up the fruit and do the cooking. It’s a win-win situation, if you ask me. Here’s our latest marmalade project.This one is a beauty! We used navel oranges, blood oranges, Minneola tangelo, Page mandarins, Meyer lemon, and a lime. What a combination of fragrance and color; the entire house filled with the scent of an orange grove. As usual, I decided to add a little tweak of additional flavor at the end. I tossed in a measure of finely-minced candied ginger, and two ounces of single malt Scotch whisky. What an exceptionally good result.
Here’s the beauty of this recipe: you can use any amount of fruit you like as long as you adhere to the ratio of fruit to sugar. Make a whole batch or half, mix and match the citrus according to what is best at your market, use what you like the most. It is time-consuming. You must start the day before in order to soak and soften the peels. The mixture gets cooked briefly, to further tenderize the peel, then the sugar is added and the process of turning the fruit into marmalade begins. In less than an hour from that point, you will be spooning a sweet and sunny-hued preserve into jars and listening to the satisfying sound of those jar lids “pinging” as they seal. All your efforts will be rewarded when you look at those jars lined up in the pantry, and think about all the ways you will use your citrus marmalade. Start with some buttered toast, and take it from there…
Three Citrus Marmalade
- 8 pieces of citrus fruit, (such as navel oranges, tangelos, blood oranges, Meyer lemons, limes, mandarins); 6 of which are peeled, peels cut into ⅓-inch pieces, flesh seeded and coarsely chopped; 2 pieces simply quartered, thinly sliced, and seeded.
- 1½ additional lemons, one quartered, thinly sliced, and seeded, juice squeezed from the remaining half and reserved.
- 6 cups cold water
- Granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup finely-minced candied ginger
- 2 ounces of your favorite single malt Scotch whisky (optional, but very good)
- Bring the fruit, peels, and water to a boil in a large, non-reactive saucepan or Dutch oven. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and let cool. Refrigerate for 8 hours, or overnight.
- Place a small plate in the freezer. Place the pot of fruit and peel on the stove and bring to a simmer, uncovered, over medium-high heat. Cook until the thickest peel is tender, about 10 to 20 minutes. Carefully measure the fruit mixture into a large bowl; return it to the saucepan and add ¾ cup of sugar for every cup of the mixture.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently while the sugar dissolves. Cook the mixture until the liquid is somewhat reduced and the mixture is darker in color. This can take from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the volume of fruit and peel mixture. Test for doneness by dropping a spoonful of the marmalade on the frozen plate. It should form a soft mound, with a thin film, when pushed with your finger. If it spreads out thinly immediately, continue cooking and re-test after a few minutes. Always remove the pan from the heat when you do a test of the marmalade. When the mixture is ready, add the reserved lemon juice, the candied ginger, and the whisky. Spoon it into prepared jars and cover with lids. Process according to preserving instructions for shelf storage (I put my jars on a baking sheet and leave them in a 250°F oven for 15 minutes). Any jars that don't seal should be stored in the refrigerator and used within a week or two.