Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunny Orange Maramalade Mornings

Several years ago, I stumbled upon a can of Seville oranges cut for making orange marmalade. The notion of making my own orange marmalade had never occurred to me, but reading the fine print at the bottom of the can, I discovered just how easy it could be.

I dearly love the sunny flavor of orange marmalade and have purchased many an expensive imported jar over the years. So, although I didn't know a thing about Seville oranges, nor had I ever seen one, I was ready to try my hand at orange marmalade. Could it really be that simple?

MaMade is produced in Spain and the Seville oranges are grown throughout the Mediterranean countries. The contents of the can were bright and my hopes were high. Pour the orange goo into a large saucepan with 4 lbs. of sugar -- that's a lot of sugar, I know -- but stick your finger in the orange goo and 4 lbs. will seem just about right. Seville oranges are also known as "bitter" oranges.


Apparently, the can of orange goo comes in either "thin cut" or "thick cut" peel. It seems the thick cut is difficult to find in this country, but the thin cut is a little easier to locate. I ordered mine from Amazon, since our local international market carries only those expensive, imported jars of ready-made marmalade.


So, when you mix the goo, the sugar and 12 oz. of water in a pan and let it boil for about 15 minutes, presto! . . . orange marmalade! Oh yeah, the instructions on the can say to "add a knob of butter to disperse the foam" while boiling. After deciding "a knob" is about the size of a walnut, I added it. Alas, no discernible dispersing occurred! I used a big flat spoon with little holes in it to skim the foam. I didn't want some unsightly yuck in the finished marmalade. No big deal -- skimming just took a moment.

The cooking is quick, so remember to wash the jars, lids and rings, before you start to assemble the ingredients in the pan, and keep them warm until time to add the marmalade.  I placed the jars on a towel to minimize the risk some sort of cold-granite-meets-warm-jar-meets-hot-marmalade disaster. I also used a wide mouth canning funnel to ladle the hot marmalade into the jars -- no burns and no sticky mess to clean up! Four pounds of sugar can be really sticky!

So here is the finished product! Beautiful, isn't it? The MaMade can produced 5 pints of marmalade, which I put into little 4 oz. and 8 oz. jars. Just yesterday, my neighbor Dan and I were talking about opening a big jar of jelly, jam, preserves, marmalade or apple butter, only to discover we're tired of it before the jar is empty. Then the rest of the jar sits in the back of the fridge until no one remembers how long it's been there and nobody wants to eat it. Then it gets dumped in the trash. We agreed little bitty jars were much better, and much less wasteful in the long run.

Whether you are an orange marmalade devotee like me, or a willing but reluctant first-time home-canner, nothing could be easier than turning a can of MaMade Seville orange goo into lovely little jars of sweet-tart-chewy orange marmalade.

I'm really looking forward to the wide-awake citrus flavor burst to brighten my cozy winter tea and toast. Winter sounds a little sunnier and happier already!

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