Orange Marmalade

Look at this…homemade marmalade! I am officially destined to be a grandma who lives on a farm.

Why would anyone make their own jam these days?

When you walk through a grocery store searching for preserved fruit, you’re bound to be overwhelmed with the mind-blowing number of options. Jams, jellies, and marmalades span entire aisles, and you can easily pluck a jar off the shelf and be on your merry way. So very simple!

Well, after having a taste of some homemade orange marmalade on a piece of warm toast, I’ll tell you why one might make their own jam. Because homemade jam is absolutely a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Homemade jam is fresh, potent with flavor, and gives you the pleasurable experience of being transported to the good ol’ days before Smuckers took over the fruit preserves world, when people made their own jams and jellies.

This orange marmalade was my first foray into the canning world. Since I had never canned anything before, I did my research beforehand. I perused cookbooks, read canning 101 articles on the internet, collected the necessary kitchen tools and canning supplies. Then, with a few hours of free time one night, I went to work on my marmalade.

Along the way, I learned some valuable canning lessons. Such as…

  • Producing those tiny orange peel slices is maddeningly tedious work. Seriously, if I could have hired a personal sous chef to do that job, I would have done it in a heartbeat.
  • You do NOT want to know how much sugar goes into marmalade. Or if you are privy to that unfortunate bit of knowledge, it is best not to think about it while enjoying your jam.
  • After processing your marmalade (i.e. boiling the filled jars in hot water to create an airtight seal), do not even think of touching them for at least 24 hours while they cool and set. My curiosity got the best of me, and I held one jar up at an angle to check how it was setting. That mistake produced a jar of runnier marmalade – still tasty, but missing that good jelled consistency of the untouched jars.
  • Canning is an art that takes focus, time, and experience. The process cannot be rushed, and any cook is going to learn through some trial and error.
That said, the marmalade was delicious. Even after giving a few jars away to friends, we have a couple sitting in our pantry, just waiting to be devoured. Since most of my mornings these days involve orange marmalade on toast, they probably won’t last very long.

Orange Marmalade

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

4 medium oranges
1 medium lemon
1 1/2 cups water
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
5 cups sugar
1/2 of a 6-ounce package liquid fruit pectin

Peel oranges and lemon. Scrape off the bitter white portions of peels with a sharp knife and discard. Cut peels into thin strips. Bring peels, water, and baking soda to a boil. Cover; simmer for 20 minutes. Do not drain. Section fruits, reserving juices; discard seeds. Cut fruit into 1-inch pieces. Add fruit and juices to peel mixture; return to boiling. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Measure 3 cups of the mixture. In an 8- to 10-quart heavy kettle combine fruit mixture and sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Quickly stir in pectin. Return to a full rolling boil; boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; skim off foam with a metal spoon. Ladle into hot, sterilized half-pint canning jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims with a clean towel, and adjust lids. Process in a boiling-water canner for 5 minutes. Remove jars; cool on racks for 24 hours. Use within 6 months. Makes 6 half pints.

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