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Can Jam: Citrus

I mentioned before that I am participating in Can Jam 2010, where each month, a group of bloggers can/preserve a specific food and write about it. The purpose of this project is to get more people excited about canning and to share recipes, tips and ideas.

 This month’s assignment was CITRUS. 

CanJamCitrus1wtmk

I decided to make a marmalade. But rather than make orange marmalade (which is wonderful in its own right), I decided to make lemon and blood orange marmalade.

Now, for the record, I don’t usually make marmalades because they tend to be more work than regular jelly, jam, quick pickle making. But boy, do they ever taste good! So I am willing to put in the time for this project. Just know, that most canning is much less time consuming than this.

Also, I should note that I like to use the small 4 oz jars for marmalade. It is so much work to make, I want to share it with as many people as possible.

When I make marmalade, I don’t typically use it on toast or scones (although you certainly can). I like to use it in cooking. For example, I use it as:

a glaze over roasted chicken

a flavoring on steamed vegetables

or a secret ingredient in my salad dressing.

There are numerous ways to utilize this tangy – sweet condiment. And by adding just a little blood orange to my lemon recipe, I thought it would make a pretty color as well as add more sweetness to the mix.

Most citrus marmalade recipes do not use added pectin because there is pectin in the white portion of the peel. But you must cook the marmalade to the “jelling point” in order to get a good thick consistency.

Here is my basic recipe.

Lemon & Blood Orange Marmalade

7 lemons

3 blood oranges

6 cups water

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp. ground allspice

6-7 cups of granulated sugar

15-16 small 4 oz jelly jars

CanJamCitrus2wtmkUse a sharp knife or potato peeler to remove the peel from all the lemons and the three blood oranges. Be sure to keep a small amount of the white pith (the white undercoating of the skin) with the peel. The white portion contains the most pectin which helps makes the marmalade gel.

Once peeled, carefully julienne the peel (cut into thin strips). You should have between 3 1/2 – 4 cups of peel. (This is measured after they are just fluffed into the measuring cup. Do not pack down to measure.)

Juice five of the lemons and all three of the blood oranges and measure. Continue juicing the lemons until you have four cups of citrus juice with pulp.

For this recipe, you need a large, heavy stock pot or Dutch oven that is also tall (so the mixture will not boil over). In the pot, combine peel, juice, water and spices. Bring mixture to a simmer and continue simmering for 45 minutes. You do not have to stand over the pot at this point. Just keep it at a low simmer and stir every once in a while.

After 45 minutes, turn off heat and measure remaining peel and liquid mixture. For every cup of mixture, add one cup of granulated sugar. (Approximately 6-7 cups)

Meanwhile, sterilize your canning jars for 10 minutes and keep hot. Prepare your lids according to manufacturer’s instructions. Also, prepare your water bath by heating the water.

Take the large stock pot of fruit and sugar mixture and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly to the jellying point (220 degrees on a candy thermometer at sea level), stirring occasionally. This should take approximately 20 minutes.

If you have never done this before, understand that they mixture will bubble up quite a bit as it reaches the jelling temperature. This is why it is important to have a TALL stock pot for this process or the mixture will boil over the sides before reaching the proper temperature.

If you do not have a candy thermometer to verify that it has reached the jellying stage (220 degrees), you can test it with a cool metal spoon. Dip the spoon into the mixture. If it is ready, the marmalade will sheet off the back of the spoon in large, thick drips.  When it reaches this stage, turn off the heat and pour the hot marmalade into your hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Wipe jar rims and add lids and rings. Tighten the rings to finger tight. (Do not over-tighten.)

CanJamCitrus4wtmk Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool.

My results:

The finished product gelled perfectly. The color however, was a bit more brown than I had hoped. If I kept it all lemon it would have been yellow. But the red of the blood orange mixing with the lemon yellow created, muddy brown orange. LOL. But the flavor (which is the most important part) is excellent. So I give it two thumbs up!

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About the Author:

Theresa Loe is the founder of Living Homegrown® and the Canning Academy®. For 9 years, Theresa was the Co-Executive Producer & Canning Expert on the national PBS gardening series, Growing A Greener World®. Theresa homesteads on just 1/10th of an acre in Los Angeles with her husband, two sons and several disorderly but totally adorable chickens. Learn more about Living Homegrown here and about the Canning Academy here.