It’s the moment parents wait for. You’ve endured the years of eye-rolls and being an embarrassment to your offspring and then, you finally regain your status as someone that might actually know something.
Our son is currently working in California and on his last trip home, I loaded him up a couple of boxes of canned jams and fruit. His new roommates had never seen home canned food before and that is as foreign to me as my canned goods were to them.
For the first time ever I may have achieved something close to “Cool Mom” status, thanks to jars of jam. This week he texted (because why call and talk when you can text?) and asked if I had any marmalade recipes. He has access to an orange tree and the fruit is going to waste so Mom to the rescue, or so I like to think.
Marmalade is traditionally made from the juice and peels of citrus, typically oranges but other citrus can be used. Many people’s experience with marmalade is limited to those little packets you get in a restaurant when you go out for breakfast. There is a lot more to marmalade than those little packets. This is citrus season and the stores will be filling with good quality fruit so now’s the time to experiment.
Word of the day: albedo, also known as the white part under the peel.
4 cups thinly sliced orange peel with albedo (about 2.5 to 3 lbs. oranges as purchased)
4 cups orange pulp, cut up
1 cup thinly sliced lemon (about 1 large lemon as purchased)
6 cups of water
6 cups of sugar
Yield: About 7 or 8 half-pint jars
Online at: nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_07/orange_marmalade.html.
• Wash and rinse half-pint canning jars; pre-sterilize and keep hot until ready to fill. Prepare lids and ring bands according to manufacturer’s directions.
• Rinse oranges and lemons well in clean water.
• Peel oranges and slice orange peel with albedo attached into one-eighth-inch strips. Measure 4 cups. Remove seeds and membrane from orange pulp. Cut sections into smaller pieces; measure 4 cups.
• Slice lemon(s) into one-eighth-inch slices and remove seeds. If desired, cut slices into halves or quarters (we used quarter slices of a large lemon). Measure 1 cup.\u2028
• Add water to fruit in a 10-quart stock pot. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat until peel is tender, about one hour.
• Add sugar and bring slowly to a boil; stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly to the jellying point, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Be careful not to get burned with spattering marmalade. Quickly skim foam, if any, from top of mixture.\u2028
• Fill hot marmalade into hot pre-sterilized jars, leaving one-fourth-inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel. Apply and adjust prepared canning lids.
• Process filled jars in a boiling water canner 5 minutes for a half pint if you pre-sterilized your jars, 10 minutes if you washed them and kept them hot. (If there is a partial eighth jar, refrigerate and enjoy freshly made).
• Let processed jars cool, undisturbed, 12 to 24 hours and check for seals.
A few notes:
• When peeling citrus fruits for marmalades, be sure to leave all or most of the white albedo (white pith or tissue) left attached to the outer peel. This is where the most pectin (needed for gelling) is located.
• Instead of pre-sterilizing jars, you have the option of washing and rinsing jars in hot water and then keeping them hot until filling. Then the process time is increased and becomes 10 minutes (under 1,000 feet elevation), 15 minutes (1,001-6,000 feet) or 20 minutes (above 6,000 feet).
• For recipe development, navel oranges were used.
• Refrigerate any leftover marmalade from filling jars and once sealed jars are opened for use.
Marmalade isn’t just about oranges. There are quite a few different ingredients used to make them. I was volunteering at a Master Food Preserver booth recently and a woman reminisced about eating citrus marmalade when she was growing up. Food memories are powerful and it was clear this was a special memory.
A citrus marmalade recipe can be found at the National Center for Home Food Preservation website, https://nchfp.uga.edu. They also have recipes for marmalades made from cranberries, peach-orange, apple and tomato.
There are a lot of stories about how marmalade came about. It’s fun to think that it was developed to help Mary, Queen of Scots, with her seasickness and was named Marie est malade or Mary’s illness. Or maybe it was invented after a Spanish ship carrying Seville oranges shipwrecked in the 1700s.
While the origin is still debated it seems most likely that it comes from the Portuguese word marmelo, or quince. Quince was used in an early version of marmalade but was eventually substituted for oranges because they were cheaper. No matter how it came about, you should give homemade marmalade a try.