Time: 1 hour 45 Minutes
15 Servings (3 pints)
Homemade orange marmalade is a wonderful combination of sweet and bitter. Marmalade is similar to jam or jelly, but typically includes fruit peel, which gives the condiment an aromatic bitterness. Slather it on your toast, biscuits, or muffins, or use it to fill layers of a cake.
Wash and dry the oranges. Remove the brightly colored zest—and only the brightly colored zest—from the oranges using a sharp vegetable peeler or paring knife. Leave behind any and all of the white pith directly underneath as it is very bitter.
Chop the zest. Bigger pieces for chunkier marmalade, ribbon-like strips for a more spreadable result. Set the zest aside.
Working over a bowl to catch the juices, hold a fully peeled orange and use a sharp knife to cut out each segment.
Squeeze any juice out of the membranes once you've cut out all the fruit. Set the membrane aside, along with any seeds—the pectin in these will help "set" the marmalade later. Discard the ends and white pith.
Put all the zest, fruit, juice, sugar, and water in a large heavy pot and bring to a boil. Stir just until the sugar dissolves and stop stirring.
Meanwhile, lay a double layer of muslincloth in a medium bowl and put the membranes and seeds on top. Lift up the corners and tie the muslincloth into a bag to hold the membranes and seeds. Add this "pectin bag" to the pot.
While the fruit is cooking, fill a large pot (at least 12-quart) 3/4 full with water, set over high heat and bring to a boil. Place 3 pints jars, canning funnel, ladle, and tongs into the boiling water and make sure the water covers the jars by at least an inch. Boil for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the lids and leave everything in the pot until the marmalade is ready.
Place a few small plates in the freezer to chill them. Meanwhile, bring the marmalade to 220 F and hold it there for 5 minutes. Be patient, this can take quite a while. Do not stir.
Put a dollop of the mixture on a chilled plate. Swirl the plate to spread the mixture a bit and drag a spoon through the mixture. If your marmalade is set, your spoon will leave a trail, and you'll still be able to see the plate where you dragged the spoon.
Remove the pectin bag, squeezing any marmalade out and back into the pot, and discard the bag. Take the marmalade off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
Remove jars from the water and drain on a clean towel. Stir the marmalade to distribute the zest evenly in the mixture. Use a ladle to transfer the marmalade into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of head-space at the top of each jar. Put the lids on the jars.
Return the jars to the pot with boiling water, being certain that they don't touch the bottom of the pot or each other. (If you don't have a jar rack, try a round cake rack, or metal mesh basket. Even a folded kitchen towel on the pot bottom will do in a pinch.) Add additional water if necessary to cover the jars by at least an inch. Boil for 10 minutes. Using canning tongs, carefully remove the jars from the water, place in a cool dry place and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours before opening. Once open, store in the refrigerator. Unopened marmalade will last for up to 6 months.
5 pounds Ripe Oranges
6 cups Sugar
4 cups Water
3 pints Jar with seal-able Lids