Today, I made a batch of marmalade from some blood oranges we picked yesterday at a friend's house. Last year, we picked almost 100 pounds of fruit from our friend's tree and made over 100 jars of marmalade. Blood oranges from the farmer's market go for $2 a pound at least, so knowing friends with productive fruit trees is economically beneficial! Those jars of marmalade then became our wedding favors as well as our home marmalade supply. Just last week, we polished off the last jar so thank goodness the oranges are ready for the picking again.
The marmalade making process is quite simple, I think it is one of the easiest preserves to make. I had a great teacher in my mother in law Joan who is a master of horse riding, weaving, preserve making and all other peasant skills. First I take a couple of pounds of oranges, cut them in half and juice them with an antiquated juicer that any good mechanical engineer will tell you is very poorly designed. It's pretty, but the lever arm is terribly awkward plus it is way too top heavy and tips over if you press with too much force. I squeeze as many oranges as it takes to get 4 cups of juice and then scrape all the membrane away from the peel. The best tool for scraping is a grapefruit spoon. Be careful though, accidental hand gouging may occur.
|Juice and peel|
Once the marmalade has achieved the right consistency, I spoon it into the mason jars, screw on the lids and place them on the counter to cool. Getting the right consistency is a matter of trial and error, experience and tasting. I don't mind the tasting part at all. My favorite marmalade making treat is warm marmalade over greek yogurt.
Once the marmalade has cooled to room temperature, I put them into the fridge where they will last for many months. Yes, our garage refrigerator is filled only with jam, marmalade, chutney and champagne.