Orange Marmalade

Orange Marm 4

The third marm I made isn’t one of my own recipes, but it is my favorite Orange Marmalade and I’ve made it many times.   The recipe is in Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa at Home.  You can find a link to the recipe here.  As I’ve made this recipe many times, I’ll just share a few tips I’ve learned over the years.

  • Try to use organic fruit, as you’ll be eating the rind.
  • Heirloom Navel Oranges make the tastiest marmalade – they are more tart and flavorful with a firmer texture than modern hybrids.  They are also the most delicious oranges ever for simply eating out of hand.  I get mine at Trader Joe’s during winter.
  • Make sure you use a large, stainless steel (or at least some other kind of non-reactive material) stockpot for this recipe – you need room for the mixture to boil and a large bottom to the pot so the marmalade doesn’t scorch or cook unevenly.
  • There’s a fine line between Orange Marmalade that doesn’t set, perfect Orange Marmalade and Orange Marmalade that could fuse your teeth together (I’ve made all three!).  It’s safest to use a hyper-accurate digital thermometer like the Thermapen to test for the gel point, which is 8 degrees F above the temperature of boiling water.  Since the boiling point of water is affected by elevation, you should start by temping boiling water in your kitchen, then add 8 degrees to get the gel point temperature.  It’s a good idea to also use the plate test to be extra, extra sure your marmalade will set up.
  • This recipe calls for slicing the fruit into half moons.  I find that gives you huge pieces of rind to try to negotiate over a biscuit or a piece of toast.  I cut my fruit slices in quarters – you still get great chunky texture, just a little more manageable.

Orange Marm 1

  • I find this recipe takes longer to simmer than the time stated – sometimes up to an hour over the stated time.   Probably depends on how aggressively you are boiling the mixture, and I’m a bit of a chicken about that!
  • When the marmalade is ready to put into the jars, the rind will look translucent and the jelly will have a beautiful orange hue which almost sparkles in the pan.

Orange Marm 3

  • Marmalade can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to set up.  As long as you got it to the proper temperature and it passed the plate test, you should be good to go.
  • This is kind of a “duh” thing to say, but this is a “real” marmalade (i.e. it uses lots of whole citrus fruit), and thus it will have quite a bitter note to its flavor.  I can’t believe how many people gripe in the reviews for this recipe that it is “bitter”!  Not sure what they thought orange and lemon rind was going to taste like.  I mean, it’s not “chewing on Asprin” bitter, but bitterness is a distinct part of the flavor profile.
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