I know it is not really the height of citrus season. I’ve still got almost 4 half bushel baskets to get through and I am running all over town looking for those purple Italian prune plums. I saw them once at Costco a few weeks ago but did not buy them because I felt too busy, and now I can’t find them anywhere! Argh! So, when I saw blood oranges at the store, I bought some, not really caring that it is not citrus season here yet and they had to be shipped from Australia. What’s the lesson here? Get it while you can, maybe? Hmm…
Funny, I don’t think I have ever actually eaten a blood orange, or at least, I don’t remember doing so. In any case, when I bought them, I had some ideas of making a cool colored blood orange apple jelly thing, but instead, I made marmalade. I was very excited after all the ingredients were prepped and the fruit started cooking. It looked really cool with the flecks of deep dark red scattered among the orange pieces.
It took longer than I anticipated to cook down to the right consistency (about 45 minutes), but it was worth it. The final color of the marmalade was more of a burnt orange, but I think you can still see some flecks of darker color. It is a milder tasting marmalade than the last batch I made a couple of years ago, but really tasty. We are really looking forward to eating this in the middle of winter!
Don’t wait too long to make your own! Here’s a recipe to help you along.
Blood Orange Marmalade with Grand Marnier
2 lbs blood oranges (about 4)
1.5 lbs valencia oranges (about 3)
3 eureka lemons (not meyer)
Grated zest of 5 more lemons
3 lbs granulated sugar
4 Tblsp Grand Marnier
Put a few saucers or spoons in the freezer to test for doneness later. Prepare your jars for canning using your favorite method.
Peel all the oranges and lemons with a vegetable peeler, leaving behind as much of the white pith behind as possible. Slice the peel thinly and throw it into your preserving pan. Add the extra grated lemon zest.
Slice off each end of the oranges and lemons and cut off the pith, leaving behind the juicy inside with its membranes intact. Discard all the pith.
Slice the fruit and membranes crosswise into 1/4 inch slices and the cut each slice into quarters. Throw away any seeds you encounter along the way. Transfer the fruit to the pan, along with the juices and 1 cup of water.
Stir in all the sugar into the pan with the fruit and heat over med-high heat until the sugar is dissolved. Using a potato masher, mash all the fruit in the pan to release as much of the juices from the pieces as possible. Continue heating until it is bubbling merrily. Fish out any seeds and discard as they float to the top. At first, it will look like this.
Unlike other jams, marmalades behave a little differently while cooking, at least for me they do. Usually, there is a lot of foaming at the beginning of boiling, but in the case of marmalade, it boils like water for awhile first (picture above), and then it starts to foam like crazy (picture below). It is important to be at the stove to stir and use a big pan! If you think it might boil over, turn off the heat and let the foam settle down for a minute. Then, turn the heat back on to a lower setting than you were using before.
After 30-45 minutes, the mixture should have reduced considerably. Check for doneness by dribbling a few drops onto your frozen saucer or spoon. You will know that the marmalade is ready if, after a minute, you can turn the spoon or saucer vertically and it does not move.
Turn off the heat and stir in the grand marnier. This is optional, but really tasty. Ladle into your jars, seal, and process for 15 minutes.
Makes about 7 cups.