Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sangria (Blood Orange) Marmalade

 Oh. My. Stinkin'. Heck. Would you look at the color of this marmalade? There is nothing apologetic about it, is there?

The recipe is an old one - not sure where it came from. I like it because it is adjustable based on how much fruit you have. Only end up with 5 cups of the fruit mixture? No problem! Just adjust the sugar. Have 10 cups of the fruit mixture? No problem, just adjust the sugar. Adjusting the sugar is ridiculously easy, too. It's a 1:1 ratio for the fruit mixture and sugar.  (If you have more oranges, just up the amount of water the recipe calls for.)

  • 3 pounds blood oranges
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 cups granulated sugar 
Start with the most gorgeous, colorful fruit you can find. The more color the skin has, the more intense the color of the flesh.

Cut the tops and bottoms off of the oranges. Try not to gasp at the oranges deep garnet color. Score the peel of each orange lengthwise into quarter-segments.  (Keep the tops and bottoms!)

Remove peels and set the fruit aside for later.

Place the peels into a saucepans and fill with water until they are just covered. Over a medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Rinse and repeat. No seriously. Drain the water, cover the peels with cold water and then bring it to a boil again for another 10 minutes.   Drain the peels and let them cool (or if you are impatient like me, run cold water over them.)

While peels are cooking, cut orange flesh away from the membranes. Chop into small pieces. (Since you planned ahead and peeled an extra orange, share some pieces with the adorable green-eyed little girl tugging at your apron saying, "Yum yum yum - I eat!")

It looks like a crime scene.
Don't worry...the electric pink stain on your hands will eventually go away.
Once peels have cooled, use a spoon to scrape away the pith (that's the white stuff). Discard (compost!) the pith unless you know some crafty or clever use for it, then by all means, knock yourself out and keep it.

Cut the peel into very thin strips.

Place the fruit in a heavy-bottomed pan and squeeze the membranes over the pan to get as much juice out of them as possible. Then add in strips of the orange peel. Try not to gasp at the intensity of the colors.  Add four cups of water and bring to a boil over a medium-high heat, then reduce the heat an boil gently for about 30 minutes or until the peel is soft. Then remove from the heat and measure 6 cuts of the fruit mixture.

Don't fret if you have more than 6 cups of the fruit mixture - just fix the sugar/fruit ratio. Because this recipe does not use commercial pectin, you can adjust the sugar for the amount of fruit mixture. Just use EQUAL amounts of sugar and fruit mixture. I had 8 cups of the fruit mixture, so I used 8 cups of sugar. 1:1. Simple, eh?

Prepare your canning supplies.  Sterilize the canning jars by running them in almost boiling water for several minutes (I run mine through the rinse cycle of the dishwasher and leave them there until needed), and simmer a few cups of water in a small saucepan for the lids.

Then bring the fruit mixture to a boil over a medium-high heat. Add the sugar in gradually - try to maintain the boil. This step takes a bit of patience, but it will be well rewarded! Bring sugar and fruit to a full boil and boil hard for 20-30 minutes (this means you can't stir the bubbles away), stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches the gel stage. Gel stage is 220 degrees or 8 degrees above boiling point for your elevation.  I personally use a thermometer and do a sheet test along the way, just in case my thermometer isn't working. One or two degrees one way or the other makes a difference but the spoon never lies.

Here's a link to the Ball canning website: and here is the description they have posted about the sheet test (AKA the spoon test).

"Sheet Test Dip a cold metal spoon into the boiling soft spread. Lift the spoon and hold it horizontally with edge down so that the syrup runs off the edge. As the mixture cooks, the drops will become heavier and will drop off the spoon separately but two at a time. When the two drops join together and “sheet” off the spoon, the gel stage has been reached."

When the mixture reaches gel stage, skim off any foam and ladle the hot marmalade into the jar, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Screw rings on (not too tight!) and then process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Remove lid and let them sit for another 5 minutes before removing the jars. 
Makes six or so 8 oz. jars. (I got 10 8 oz jars with 8 cups of fruit mixture).

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