Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Organic Blood Orange Marmalade

I was inspired by Rebecca of The Herbwife's Kitchen, and her recent experiment, making several varieties of homemade marmalade. One of which that she made was from blood oranges. Thanks to Annie's Buying Club, we had delicious, farm-fresh organic blood oranges to work with. Using organic oranges was very important to me, as marmalade is all about including the peel. No pesticides in our marmalade, please.

I first tried Rebecca's "lazy method", of using a 1:1:1 ratio of the whole oranges, sliced, simmered in water, and finally cooked down with sugar. That yielded the deep pink jar on the left, in the picture. It was similar in color to the one Rebecca made on her blog. However, I was not entirely happy with the results. The marmalade tasted very much of pith. Lots and lots of pith. The whole point of making my own marmalade was to:

A) Know exactly what was in the jar (organic oranges, water, and sugar. Nothing else.)
B) Control the sugar content.

As such, I didn't want to overload the marmalade with sugar to try to cover up the pith taste. I experimented with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and cooked the finished marmalade for a couple more minutes. That seemed to help with the pith taste... a little.

I had two oranges left, so I decided to give it another go. This time, I zested the oranges, and used only the zest and the segments. No pith. It turned out fantastic, yielding the deep red jar on the right of the picture above. It looked like red raspberry jam, with that glossy sheen, and jam-like texture. The orange zest turned to pure candy. Just delicious! It also required much less cooking time to achieve these results. Here is my recipe, which is enough to make one small four-ounce jar:

2 organic blood oranges, thoroughly washed
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 clean, sterilized 4 oz. glass jar with tight-fitting lid

Using a citrus zester, zest both oranges. Add water and zest to a non-reactive sauce pan, heating on medium heat. Peel the oranges, discarding the pith and remaining peel. Dice orange segments and add to the sauce pan. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Lower heat to medium-low, and add approximately 1 cup of sugar, to taste. Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Peels should begin to candy, and the marmalade will start to gel. Remove from heat, and allow to cool. Store marmalade in a clean, glass jar, in the refrigerator, or follow FDA guidelines for proper preserving.

My friends and family can expect to receive some candied marmalade for Christmas ;) I did find a use for the first batch of marmalade with all that pith -- Rebecca said it tasted great on ice cream, so I tried it on Greek yogurt. The creaminess of the yogurt really did the trick, in helping mask the bitterness of the pith. It made for a delicious midnight snack :)


  1. It looks great. Where did you get those beautiful jars?

  2. Hi Linda! Thanks for stopping by and for your comments :)

    Those are cute jars, aren't they? They're from Pier 1. They're called "Big Mouth Spice Jars", and come in a pack of four for $15. I love that the lids are glass, too. Speaking of which, I may have to run over to our local Pier 1 and pick up another set ;)

  3. Yum! I recently fell in love with orange marmalade after hating it all this time. lol

  4. Oh me too, Rachelle! My dad always had marmalade in the house, which he would eat with honey on toast. But it was the store-bought kind, with lots of pith, and lots of sugar. Blech! I'll have to mail dad a jar of mine ;)