I’ve kind of never really been interested in making my own jam and preserves BUT we received some delicious Apricot Jam from my sister-in-law for Christmas which made me want to try making my own. Then more recently, I’ve seen many pictures on instagram from 2 lovely ladies I follow that can, dehydrate, and ferment many things and I’ve definitely got fermenting down, now for a good canning challenge.
Spoiler: It was a complete success! I even mailed 8oz jars around to family and friends and they loved it too!
Back to the business…there was another reason I wasn’t as interested in making my own. Knowing and seeing how much sugar is used! Because I’m not about processed sugar let alone in ginormous quantities.
After enough time and reflection I finally decided to go for it. After all I like challenges and kicking their ass, loved the idea that it would be homemade, and therefore cheaper and tastier than the natural expensive brand, Bonne Maman, that we buy and would make good use of the 20lb of oranges we acquired.
Inspiration for the recipe came from Pick Your Own site but since I don’t advocate the use of comic sans as it makes my eyes bleed; I’m sharing my documentation and instruction. Here you go.
Start by picking out really hot good looking organic oranges and lemons or at least ones that haven’t been tossed around. The skins will be used in the marmalade so it’s important that they are the best. Wash them in cold water with a vegetable brush to ensure they are super clean.
Sterilize the jars and lids in a boiling water bath using your canning pot or dishwasher with a sterilizing setting. We didn’t have a dishwasher at the time so it was an old school bath for these guys. It seemed to take forever to get the water to a boil and once it did I let them boil for 10-15 minutes. After the time is up leave them in the hot water on simmer or the lowest setting to keep them warm so when the hot marmalade is added later there will be less chance of glass breakage due to a temperature difference. The lids are not only sanitized by the hot water but the high temp also helps soften the rubbery ring around the edges which will ensure a tight seal.
This step can be accomplished while you’re waiting for your sterilization bath to boil or ahead of time. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the skin from the oranges and lemons, leaving the white pith attached to the orange.
Collect the peels on a cutting board or in a large bowl. I was and am absolutely in love with the natural polka-dot cuteness from the underside of the orange and lemon skins. I just see a beautiful art canvas when I look at this.
Hence a mandatory second shot. Can’t you just smell the refreshing citrus oil?
Next take several peels and stack them up so you can thinly slice them into shreds. A food processor could probably be used to speed this step along but I liked creating the shape and size I wanted to see in the finished product.
Next take your oranges and lemons and peel the pith part off just as you would peeling an orange and discard. Then using scissors that have been slightly opened, use them to pull out the center stem or orange umbilical cord. You might have to do this from both ends. You could also pull the oranges/lemons in half and remove the center stem that way, but I found a lot of juice gets lost that way so opted for the scissor method.
Using a sharp knife, quarter the oranges and lemons and then thinly slice the sections, going back across with a rough chop.
Collect the orange and lemon sections in one bowl with as much juice from the cutting board as possible and your orange and lemon peels in another smaller bowl.
Measure out 4 cups of sugar and from that take 1/4 cup of sugar and mix it with the 5 tablespoons of low/no sugar pectin in a separate container. It’s hard to imagine that 4 cups of sugar ((shudders)) is low sugar and 7 cups is full on sugar. I wonder if anyone’s made marmalade with date paste??
Now mix in the 1/4 cup sugar/pectin mixture into the thinly sliced oranges. Mix well and set aside.
In a large stock pot add the orange and lemon peels along with 2 of the 4 cups of orange juice and 1/8 teaspoon baking soda. Bring to a boil, then cover and bring down to a simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the chopped fruit and remaining 2 cups of orange juice and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Smother the citrus mixture with 4 cups of sugar and bring back to a boil, stirring like a pro. Let it boil, hardcore-like, for 1-2 minutes and then remove from the heat to your canning ‘station’.
Enjoy the aroma! Mmm mmm good!
Now grab your first jar out of the hot water bath with your canning tongs and hold it so any hiding water can drain out.
I created a canning station in our very small kitchen by placing a board over the kitchen sink area and laid down a few towels to set the hot pot of marmalade on. Place your ball jar down and set the wide mouth funnel on top. Using a ladle or cup, add marmalade to the jar leaving about 1/4 inch of space to the top of the jar. Wipe any residue from the top of the jar, place the lid on and then the ring, securing it tightly. Set aside for the moment and repeat process with remaining marmalade and jars.
Bring the canning rack to rest on the edge of the pan and bring the pot of water back to a boil. Once boiling, place cans on the rack and lower into the water. Make sure the water covers the lids by an inch or two. I was short water so instead of adding luke warm water, I set our electric tea kettle to boil and added the water once done. Boil the jars for 15 minutes. Once time is up, lift them out of the water with the jar tongs and set on towels in an out of the way spot so they can cool and the pectin can set.
My jars sealed over the next 4-6 hours, they made a suction popping noise. The lid will also become flat instead of slightly domed.
The marmalade can be opened when the pectin has gelled or set. This could take anywhere from 1 day to 2 weeks. Many of ours were ready the next day! If you turn it upside down and the marmalade doesn’t stay like the above photo, you should let it set longer. If for some reason it still moves around at 2 weeks, it’s okay to open but you’ll probably want to add more pectin next time.
Oh my goodness gorgeous! What wasn’t mailed out to family and friends was kept in the refrigerator, mostly because we had the room. They should be safe to store in the pantry too. Ours were eaten much quicker than I would have liked. That’s only a sign of how delicious they were, time to make some more I guess.
The next day we delighted our taste buds with homemade orange marmalade on homemade vegan scones. Swoon.
As homemade treasures such as these go, they make great gifts assuming they taste wonderful. You can also get cheap fancy by using a lemon produce bag as your gift bag. Keeping the color theme bright and vibrant.
Have you ever made a homemade jam, preserves, or marmalade?