-William Cullen Bryant
This post is first in a series entitled, Handmade Holiday Gifts.
It's that time of year. The time when they have those 5 pound boxes of little mandarin oranges. A good time indeed. A time right before Thanksgiving preparation, and certainly before Christmas, although you would think Christmas was a week away by the looks of stores.
A perfect time for making jams and jellies, when some fruits are still ripe and luscious and you have some leisure time. Jams and jellies are great for gift giving, for holiday gifts, and for hostess gifts. I love making homemade gifts from the kitchen. It's something I enjoy doing, so I've decided to focus on posting about some of these in the days leading up to Christmas.
This marmalade makes a lovely gift. Either in a basket with other jellies or jams, or with a loaf of homemade bread, or by itself with a ribbon and little spoon tied to the neck. Either way I'm sure it's recipient will be delighted. Or just make it for yourself and your family. It is quite delicious. It's tangy and sweet, just right. Marmalade requires no pectin, there is enough natural pectin in orange peels for it to gel on it's own. All you need is sugar, the fruit and some lemon juice. You can choose to can this using the water bath method to store on the shelf, or you can just freeze it. If it is not preserved you can let the recipient know to keep it in the fridge. It will last for months if kept refrigerated (if it has not been canned of course.) If it has been canned it will last for years.
If it is your first time canning and you choose to can this using the water bath method I suggest you research how to do it here at the Ball website. They have step by step instructions.
I made this 3 times. It took exactly the whole 5 lb box of Satsuma Mandarins to do so. One of the batches I made Cranberry Satsuma Mandarin Marmalade, for a change. I've included instructions below on how to make that as well.
Satsuma Mandarin Marmalade
adapted from this recipe
makes 3, 8 oz jars
9 Satsuma Mandarin oranges
1/4 cup lemon juice (I prefer fresh, but you can use bottled also)
4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon butter
Wash the oranges then peel them. Set the peel and fruit aside separately. Slice the peels into fine julienne strips, really get them as thin as you can, then cut them in half, about an inch long or so. Put the peels in a large heavy stockpot, add 2 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Boil the peels for 10 minutes. Drain the liquid off of the peels, then put the peels back in the pot with 1 cup of fresh water.
Meanwhile if you are canning these, get your jars ready in a pot with boiling water, allow them to simmer while you are making the marmalade.
In the bowl of a food processor add the oranges and lemon juice and puree them together. Add this mixture to the peels.
Bring the mixture to a full boil, then add the sugar and a half a teaspoon of butter. (The butter is to prevent it from foaming too much.) Boil the mixture hard for 15 minutes or until it has thickened slightly or it has reached a temperature on a candy thermometer of 220 degrees. Stir this often, almost constantly while you are boiling this. It can scorch very quickly.
You will need to do a gel test after it has been boiling hard for 15 minutes. For me my first batch I cooked it longer than this and it became too stiff. So for the next batch I took it off the heat and tested it after 12 minutes or so. You can always cook it longer if it hasn't reached the gelling point yet.
This page discusses the gel test, just scroll down to "how do I check to ensure my soft spread made without the use of commercial pectin will form a gel?"
When the jam has reached the gel state, ladle the jam into the clean hot jars, wipe the top of the jar clean with a paper towel and seal with new 2 part lids.
Return the filled jars to the hot water bath where they were sterilized. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. When the 10 minutes is over, turn off the heat and move the pot off of the heat. Let the jars sit in the water for 15 minutes. Remove the jars and let them cool.
When they have cooled test the seal. If one of them didn't seal, store in the refrigerator.
Cranberry Satsuma Mandarin Marmalade
Follow everything in the above recipe, except at the stage when you add the orange pulp to the peels, also add one and a half cups of fresh cranberries and an extra 1/4 cup lemon juice. Also add 1/2 cup more sugar.