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Secret ingredient: Orange marmalade is a citrusy shortcut for sauces and more

Justina Huddleston is an editor and the head writer for TDmonthly Magazine. She has been a freelance writer for several years, though her real passion is cooking. You can see the recipes she creates on her vegan food blog, A Life of Litt...

Orange marmalade is the bitter condiment that's sweet with everything

I am basically a member of jellies, jams and condiments anonymous. But due to my surplus of all things sticky, sweet and savory, I've learned a few tricks for using up all those little jars taking up precious fridge space.

One of my favorites? Putting orange marmalade into, well, everything. It's sweet, it's citrusy, it's slightly floral — and, if you're lucky, it imparts a slight orange peel bitterness to whatever you add it to.

A few years ago I bought a big jar of bitter orange marmalade out of curiosity, and after a little experimentation, it's become a staple in my house. So pick up a jar of marmalade the next time you're at the store (or finally open that jar given to you by a well-meaning friend), and put it to good use with these hacks.

More: Tonight's Dinner: Spicy orange chicken

Toast. This isn't a secret, but yes, you can eat marmalade on toast. It's delicious... especially with cashew or coconut butter. Moving on...

Bangin' bagels. Slather your toasted bagel with cream cheese, then top it with marmalade. The combination of slightly tangy, salty cheese with the sweet, citrusy marmalade will totally blow your mind.

Cheese plate. It's always a good idea to have a sweet element on your cheese plate to offset the richness of whatever you're offering. Orange marmalade pairs especially well with nutty hard cheeses, like Parmesan, but is also really great with creamy goat cheese too.

Meat glazes. Orange marmalade adds a delicious citrusy sweetness to all kinds of roasted and grilled meats. Heat up some orange marmalade in a small saucepan until liquid (don't let it burn), and then, 15 minutes before your meat's done cooking, brush on the orange marmalade, and continue cooking. Repeat in 10 minutes and once more when the meat is done. You can add other flavorings to the marmalade, like rosemary, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and ginger too.

Orange chicken or tofu. For fast and easy orange chicken (that's as inauthentic as it is delicious), bring equal parts orange marmalade and barbecue sauce to a simmer in a small saucepan, along with a few splashes of soy sauce, minced garlic and some grated ginger. Toss the sauce with crispy fried chicken or tofu, and serve.

More: One-Pot Wonder: Orange shrimp with fried rice in 25 minutes flat

Slurpable noodle sauce. Make a sticky sesame noodle sauce by simmering orange marmalade, teriyaki sauce, minced garlic and grated ginger in a saucepan with a splash of water to thin out the sauce if need be. Add a few splashes of toasted sesame oil to the sauce, then pour the sauce over cooked, drained noodles, and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and chopped scallion greens, and serve.

Marinades. Add a tablespoon or 2 of orange marmalade to your favorite marinades. Those that star citrus, herbs and garlic are good candidates for a dollop of marmalade.

Cocktails. Looking to jazz up your next custom cocktail? Try muddling some orange marmalade with citrus fruit wedges and mint, then adding white rum, silver tequila, vodka or even gin. Shake up the mixture with some ice, then strain into a tall glass of ice, and top it off with club soda, tonic water or lemon-lime soda.

Dessert sauce. Add orange marmalade, a few frozen raspberries and a dash of Grand Marnier to a small saucepan. Simmer for 15 or so minutes, until reduced slightly, then drizzle over ice cream, cake, fruit salad or anything you want to give an elegant flavor boost to. (Then use your leftover dessert sauce to make a cocktail!)

Salad dressing. Swap orange marmalade in for honey in your favorite lemony vinaigrette to impart a sweet and floral element to your salad.

Cake. Try making a simple sponge cake and slathering orange marmalade between the layers. Then, whip a couple of tablespoons and vanilla extract into your frosting, and slather it on your cake. Your taste buds will thank you. (This works surprisingly well with chocolate cake too!)

There you have it. Orange marmalade: Baller on toast, even better in everything else.

More: 20 ways to preserve summer produce now to enjoy it all year long

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