I have been intrigued by this recipe for some time. I saw Ina make it on her show and she made it look so easy. Like caramel, I find jams and jellies to be tricky. I needed to make an orange marmalade for my Orange Tian so I deviated a bit from the Daring Baker challenge recipe and used this recipe instead. It worked! I followed the recipe exactly and it really worked! Don’t laugh. I really do get so upset when my jams don’t jell right or my canning doesn’t work. You invest so much time and energy only to be disappointed with the results. While this recipe does take time to make, 2 days to be exact, the actual hands on time is nothing. The most energy expelled is the slicing of the oranges. I also added a split vanilla bean to my marmalade. One, I love the vanilla and orange combination, and two, I thought that pieces of vanilla bean would be gorgeous flecked throughout the jelly. I was right.
Cut the oranges and lemons in half and then into paper thin slices. I would have used a mandoline but I couldn’t find the right piece so I just did it by hand. Isn’t that always the way? When you need something you can’t find it?
Put the sliced fruit and all of their juices into a pot. Ina calls for a stainless steel pot, mine were all occupied at the time so I used a cast iron one. Add 8 cups water and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Add the vanilla bean. Cover and allow to stand at room temperature overnight.
The next day, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 2 hours. Turn the heat to medium and boil gently, stirring often, for another 30 minutes. Skim off any foam. Cook the marmalade until it reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer.
If you want to be doubly sure that that the marmalade is ready, place a small amount on a plate and refrigerate until it is cool. If it is firm (neither too runny or too hard) it is done. It will be a golden orange color. If the marmalade is runny, continue cooking it. If it is too hard, add more water.
I use orange marmalade all time time. While it is delicious on toast with butter, it is also delicious in salad dressings, marinades, and pan sauces. I think that I have gotten over my fear of jams and jellies. Good thing that spring is in full swing, can’t wait to make another one. How impressed will your friends be when they have you over and you hand them a jar of homemade orange marmalade as a hostess gift?