Homemade jams are one of my favourite gifts – they're tasty, useful, inexpensive to make, and are HOMEMADE! No nasty preservatives, artificial colours, or weird nonsense. Just simple fruit, sugar, and love. Add some ribbon, and you've got the perfect gift.
I love marmalade, but I found that a lot them have a very bitter aftertaste. I wanted to make a marmalade that was fresh, vibrant, full of zest, and with a hint of sweetness. The result; Sweet Orange Marmalade (if you say it with a southern accent, it sounds even better).
This recipe is quite easy to make! You'll need a little elbow grease to slice the oranges, but otherwise, it's easy peasy. The trick to making a good marmalade is to use a mandolin to slice the citrus fruit. You don't need a fancy electric slicer; a plain ol' mandolin will do.
Yield: 7 - 9 Half-Pint Jars (varies according to orange size)
- 2 lb oranges
- 8 cups of water
- About 6 cups of sugar, as needed
- 2 cups of fresh orange juice
- 1/2 fresh lemon juice
First step, sterilize your jars as per usual, and put three small plates into your freezer. The plates are your ticket to a perfectly set marmalade. We'll use them towards the end of the recipe, and I'll explain.
Next, slice the ends off your oranges, and begin slicing them on the thinnest setting possible on your mandolin (if it won't slice, increase the setting size). Place the sliced oranges in a pot, and add the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, uncovered and stirring frequently, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool just enough that you can safely measure it.
Measure the orange slices and their liquids, and then return it to the pot. For each 1 cup, add 3/4 cup sugar. Stir in the orange and lemon juices, and bring the pot back up to a rapid boil for 10 minutes. Then, reduce the heat to medium, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes (it should start to thicken).
Now - time for the plates! Remove your pot from the heat, and take a plate out of the freezer. Pour 1 teaspoon of the marmalade onto the plate, and pop it back into your freezer for 2 minutes. Take the plate out of the freezer, and gently nudge the marmalade. If it starts to wrinkle, your marmalade is set! If it's still too runny, put the pot back on medium heat for another few minutes, and then test it again until it's set.
When your marmalade is ready, ladle it into the jars, leaving about 1/4 inch of space between the jam and lid. Wipe the rim clean, and seal tightly with a lid. Once that's done, place the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes, and then take them out. That's it! The lids will start to pop, which is a sign that you have a perfect seal.
To decorate the jars, I used Burlap Fabric Trim from Michaels which had gold tinsel sewn in. I cut it into squares, and then tied a sparkly, red ribbon around it (also from Michaels). To stop the burlap from popping off the jars, I put a little piece of tape underneath to keep it stuck to the lid. Hope you enjoy!
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