Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Saga Of The Neverending Marmalade Monster

I'm just going to come out and say it. Orange marmalade is a BITCH to make! Anyone who happens to get some as an Xmas present from me better enjoy it, damnit. Seriously though, Orange marmalade...wtf?  This is definitely not something someone with a full time job should attempt on a week night!

Since I don't have 8 full hours to dedicate to this project (kay, maybe I'm exaggerating), I've been peicemealing it day by day. Two hours here, two hours there. The first night I cut up all my oranges, thinly sliced. This is where a mandolin would be handy! Apparently I have one somewhere, according to the Hubbz, but it is buried under the mountain of shiny kitchen gadgets we got for our wedding. Too lazy to look, plus I had all but 2 out of the 12 oranges cut when my husband made the proclamation...so I BETTER not have one, or I'll be pissed. Too lazy to look anyway :)

I then added the 12 sliced oranges and 3 sliced lemons into a ginourmous pot (The one I usually use as my water bath canner) and added water to cover. Heated that to boil, turned off heat and let sit overnight. This is what releases the pectin from the rind and softens the peel.

Day two, Brought to boil again for 5 minutes, let simmer. Cooled, then put it in the fridge over night since the hubby and I were packing and getting ready for our Anniversary Extravaganza we had planned that weekend.

Day three, got back from our weekend trip to LA and measured the cooked fruit and added 2/3 of that amount of sugar. I added the sugar to my orange/water mixture and brought that to a boil and began waiting for it to reduce down to syrup. Two and a half hours later...it still wasn't syrup! Or at least I didn't think it was syrup. Left it on the stove since it was 10pm and didn't have time for it to cool. Woke up the next morning and threw the pot in the fridge since I had to go to work. Blasted work, always getting in the way of my projects.

Snooki Orange Marmalade (because it has a tan)
Day four, brought to boil (again) and reduced some more. Finally...after 3.5 hours, I had syrup! Only thing is...in the last 45 minutes, my pretty bright orange liquid turned to amber syrup. This definitely doesn't look like store-bought orange marmalade. Hmmm, it still tastes good though! So using my pressure canner for the very first time (Thanks Grammy!) I canned 8 pints of this stuff. It may be ugly, off-color, and the rind is a little thick, but it's mine damnit, I'm proud. Just not planning to make another batch anytime soon!

Oh!! Be sure to use a cutting board with wells when slicing your oranges or at least do it over the sink. I did not and was punished mercilessly for it. Those things spew and seep juice everywhere! I thought I had cleaned up all the left over pools of orange juice from my counter (still finding sticky spots on the floor), until days later when the Hubbz reached into the utensil drawer to get some tongs. There it was, a sticky river of putrid orange juice that had snuck from the counter into one of the dark drawers below. There was SOO much juice that got trapped in that drawer...by the time we realized it it was five days old and moldy. Joy...I had to take everything out of the drawer and disinfect it. Good times. Don't make the same mistake, inspect your shiznit thoroughly!

For all my masochists out there, here is an orange marmalade recipe for you to try. If anyone has any tips on making pretty, bright orange marmalade, please share!

Orange Marmalade
Lucy is such a ham! She literally jumped up there and took her position as I was taking this shot
makes 8 pints

12 large oranges
3 lemons

Slice oranges and lemons very thin. Measure raw fruit, add the same amount of water. Bring to a boil (you're gonna need a big pot!). Boil for 5 minutes. Cover, then let sit, covered over night. The next day, measure the cooked fruit. Then add 2/3 of that amount of sugar to your pot. Bring to a boil and reduce your liquid to a syrup, stirring frequently. Seriously...frequently, I was hovering over my pot and still managed to scorch the bottom of my pot! you will know it's a syrup when it sticks to the back of your spoon and is about the consistency of maple syrup, this will take HOURS. ladle hot syrup into sterilized jars, wipe rims, then can or refridgerate immediately after cooling. You can use either a water bath canner with a processing time of 10 minutes(depending on your elevation). Or use a pressure canner at 5lbs for 20 minutes. REMEMBER KIDDIES, ALWAYS BE SAFE WHEN CANNING, YOU COULD LITERALLY KILL SOMEONE IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. IF YOU ARE NEW TO CANNING, I SUGGEST YOU CHECK OUT THE USDA GUIDELINES BEFORE TRYING ANYTHING AT HOME.


  1. "For all my misogynists out there"

    Ummm, I hope you meant masochists. I can't possibly think of a way a recipe for marmalade is woman-hating :P

    "Snooki Orange Marmalade (because it has a tan)"

    Okay, every jar of this stuff has to be labelled thusly. IT MUST BE DONE!

  2. haha! Wow, what a brain fart on my part! lol. Thanks for catching that ;)

  3. OKAY,I feel sooooooo much better!! Mine looks just as beautiful as yours does, and it's quit tasty. And LOL, I agree...I got home at 6 and it's now 10:45! WTH was I thinking doing this after work! And I spent a good couple hours last nite PREPPING so it could sit for "12-18 hours". I'm excited to see how it sets up...but mo matter what, I'm having TJ's peanut butter and MY lemon orange marmalade for breakfast! BTW, Tomorrow nite? Orange Chili Marmalade! FREE ORANGES ROCK, LOLOLOLOLOL! HAPPY CANNING!