Apparently the only way I could get over my I-don’t-make-marmalade hang up was to allow myself to make the most exciting marmalade first. This also happened to be the most complicated marmalade to make and the recipe that I planned from the start to alter the most. But armed with a complete lack of knowledge and an obsession with blood oranges I embarked on a Bloody Temple Marmalade adventure. Then I tasted the rind of the temple oranges and wow were they bitter. So I seamlessly switched the temple oranges out for navel oranges and began a Bloody Navel Marmalade adventure. But that sounded …awful. So I decided to add some crushed red pepper and call my creation Hot Blooded Marmalade. Hurray!
If it sounds like I spent more time fretting over the name of this concoction than I did about the recipe, it did. I was loosely following an online recipe and the one from the ball canning book but mostly I was just flying by the seat of my pants. And I wasn’t exactly…um…thinking. At all.
I peeled the rinds from my oranges neatly, round and round the orange in circles like those hand crank apple peelers do it. Except that they peel strips were anything but neat. And I started cutting them into the thinnest strips I could manage but they weren’t at all thin and it was taking forever. Which is when lazy kicked in and knocked my stupidity up a notch. What I needed was a power tool. I pulled out my sorry excuse for a food processor and chopped the living daylights out of the rind strips. Instead of little slivers I had kibbles and bits, but I got them in a hurry and the taste was the same.
But when I checked in 24 hours I was left with an overly spicy, very bitter, soupy sauce. A big flop. So I de-jarred everything and started it boiling again. I added 2 more cups of sugar to balance the bad flavors and I used the saucer test this time. I kept the thermometer in for good measure and that thing bounce up and down for no good reason the whole time the marmalade simmered.
My final yield ended up at just under 9 8-oz jars and the spice and bitterness were a little more mellow. There is still a pretty strong astringent aftertaste which I think could be done away with by boiling the rind for 10 minutes then draining it before adding the fruit. As is, it works well as a chutney or condiment for pretty much any meat I’ve paired it with including white fish but I wouldn’t slap it on a bagel with cream cheese.
Special Equipment: Water Bath Canner, Jars, Lids and Bands, Canning Funnel, Bubble Tool
Hot Blooded Marmalade
(Loosely based on That Bloody Marmalade Tastes So Good by Putting Up With the Turnbulls and Blood Orange Marmalade from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. None of my mistakes should reflect on their recipes.)
6 Blood Oranges
2 Navel Oranges
2 C Water + more
2 C Orange Juice
5 C sugar
½ C honey
2 tsp Red Pepper flakes
1. Wash oranges and lemons and remove peel with vegetable peeler
2. Cut peel into thin strips
3. Working over a bowl, separate fruit segments from membrane/pith and squeeze juice from membrane. Discard membrane and seeds.
4. Add 2 c water, orange juice and segments to saucepan with peel strips and bring to a boil for 30 minutes
5. Measure fruit mixture and stir in enough water to make 6 c total
6. Bring to boiling and gradually stir in sugar and honey and pepper flakes while maintaining boil
7. Continue boiling and stirring until mixture reaches the gel stage ~24 minutes
8. Ladle into jars leaving ¼ inch headspace
9. Remove bubbles and adjust headspace if required
10. Wipe rim, center lid, and screw band to fingertip tight
11. Place jars in water bath canner and adjust water level to cover the jars if necessary
12. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes
13. Turn off heat, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes and remove jars
14. Check seal in 24 hours. Reprocess or label and store
My Yield: 4.5 pints minus about 2 oz or almost 7 8-oz jars