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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bitter Orange Marmalade Recipe

Bitter Orange Marmalade
You know how sometimes a whole crop of citrus is destroyed due to frost or unseasonably cold weather? If my mom had her way, none of that fruit would go to waste. My mother is the queen of finding a use for everything. I suppose it's a kind of variation on turning lemons into lemonade or utilitarianism.

Sadly her amazingly prolific orange tree took quite a hit this year. And while she questions if the tree will survive, she went ahead and harvested the seemingly inedible fruit and made absolutely delicious marmalade out of it. She may not have actual Seville oranges, but she certainly has a solution for unripe oranges. Their tangy sour bite is mellowed in the marmalade but brightens up your morning English muffin, toast or scone.

My mom's recipe came from the Complete American Jewish Cookbook, a book I don't have, but she made a few changes to it. I'd never made marmalade before, but having a recipe that didn't require pectin and processing jars made me game to try it. Making your own marmalade means you can make it as thick or thin as you like and as sweet or bitter as you like. Around here we like it plenty bitter and a tad thin so it spreads easily. While bitter oranges are a very seasonal item marmalade is happily enjoyed all year long.

Bitter Orange Marmalade
(more a formula than a recipe)


Ripe or unripe oranges


Wash and dry the fruit. Cut unpeeled into quarters lengthwise then slice very thin crosswise. Measure fruit, place in a large pot and add twice as much water. Let stand overnight.

The next day, bring to boil covered then uncover and simmer 1 hour. Let stand 24 hours.

Measure the fruit and liquid and add no more than 1 1/2 cups of sugar per 2 cups of fruit mixture. Boil until it reaches the consistency you like, probably between 10 and 20 minutes or so, it will thicken slightly as it cools.

Sterilize jars in whichever method you prefer. (I wash them with soapy water then fill them halfway with water and microwave for about 5 minutes, until the water boils, remove with potholders and empty them just before filling.) Pour marmalade into hot jars and seal. If your jars do not seal airtight, just keep the jam in the refrigerator.