Whew, winter’s having a year. Flooding on the west coast, crippling ice storms, ugly drab in the upper Midwest (which I’ll take over the other two). I hear even Europe’s suffering. Would some Orange Cranberry Marmalade help?
I stumbled across a fun “event” a couple weeks ago. The blog, Food in Jars, is running a year-long canning challenge for readers who want to enhance their canning skills/repertoire. You can one specified item a month and share with other participants. Like canning with friends!
For the month of January, everyone is making marmalade and I decided on Orange Cranberry Marmalade. I’ve never made marmalade before!
I have been canning for years, ever since one of my CSAs hosted a workshop. I do everything from hamburger dills (to use up the deluge of CSA cucumbers) to gourmet items like cherries in red wine. But in (relatively) barren winter, I am usually out of the game. I never cared for the in-season marmalade, with its bitter white pith.
Through the challenge, however, I learned you could strip off the pith to produce something less bitter and more jam-like. I added some cranberries (leftover from the holidays) for a new twist and got marmalade that reminds me of a sweet sour candied orange peel—mmmm! Guess I don’t hate marmalade after all.
My directions below do assume that you are familiar with canning techniques. If you are a newbie and want to give it a try, there are many good reference sources such as the Ball guide or Food in Jars that can help you get started.
- 3 medium oranges, unpeeled (approximately 16 ounces)
- 3 cup water
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cup cranberry slices (cut into wagon wheels)
- Using a vegetable peeler (or zester), cut off just the orange portion of the peel in slices (If using a peeler, working in a back and forth slicing motion may make this easier.) Reserve the strips of orange peel. With a sharp knife, slice the remainder of the white pith off the orange (as if beginning to supreme the orange). Discard the white pith.
- Place the peeled oranges and the reserved colored peel into a saucepan topped with the 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil and cook until everything is very tender, 30-40 minutes.
- Reserve 2 cups of cooking water. Slice the orange peel sections into thin juliennes. Break/cut up the cooked orange into a coarse mash. Place peel, mash, sugar and 2 cups of reserved water back into the saucepan.
- Bring to a boil and cook on medium until about 218 F. Add the cranberries and continue cooking until mixture reaches 220-222 F. As a secondary test (recommended), place a bit of the mixture on a cold plate and put it in freezer to test that it will gel.
- To can, pour into 3 clean, hot, half-pint jars (I like to heat jars in the hot canning water, then set in a rectangular cake pan in a 200 F oven to stay hot). Process in a boiling water bath, according to standard canning techniques, for 10 minutes.
- In a second batch, I tried to streamline these instructions by breaking up the oranges and peel right away, and adding sugar immediately. This version did not thicken properly (though it will go nicely into yogurt) and my reading indicates that adding sugar too soon can weaken the gel.