It’s been so long away for me that writing this feels little foreign. I kinda forgot how to work the blog. The new version of WordPress is set up differently than the one I was using pre-absence and so it’s all I can do to remind myself to not automatically press “Publish” instead of “Save Draft.”
Oops. Just almost did that. Again. Gah.
Anywho, the thing here is that I have to get back into the loop. I’ve been gone way too long, and there’s things I’ve wanted to do. Crafts, projects, recipes, etc. But between being sick (by the way, thank you all so much for the lovely comments on my last post!) and now also planning my wedding (yes!), it’s been hard. As smarter of fact, let’s just forget that previous post. What a downer! Let’s get back to fun stuff.
I finally made something more than just frozen food and soup! And instead of easing myself in with something silly and so simple I could do it blindfolded, I went right in. Right back in. To: marmalade.
Ahh, marmalade. But not just any marmalade…
First off, let me say this. Marmalade is relatively easy, really. Yes it’s long. It’s a process. But it isn’t hard. It’s sort of done in stages. And I chose the longest way, because it can be easier to do it that way. That way, the oranges soak in water overnight with their little cheesecloth baggie of seeds and pith and skin adding more pectin by the minute. Then the next day, just start cooking! The other way is to cook the fruit straight away, which I’ve done, but it seems this way you get a bit of a break between steps and the fruit gets a chance to soften more, as well as getting more pectin. I’ve done it a few different ways and each way I’ve had success, so don’t be intimidated.
Oh, and these photos are unintentionally artsy. I really just took quick snaps without much thought about lighting- I got lucky.
And I chose blood orange because Valentine’s Day. Duh.
And I added red wine because, well, Valentine’s Day.
I used a fairly mild,
cheap affordable red wine, Rex Goliath Pinot Noir. It’s a very tasty, good quality affordable wine, it’s not Boone’s Farm. It lends a lovely flavor without spending $35 to add wine to your jam. There is no need to spend a ton of money on a wine you’re going to cook down into a marmalade.
I had about 4 blood oranges and the one Cara Cara. My blood oranges were very small, though, so I adjusted my recipe accordingly. How so? Use as many cups of sugar as you did water. So, once your fruit is all cut and whatnot, add it to the pot and cover the fruit with water. Keep track of the cups, because that is the amount of sugar to add later. Ta da! That way no matter how many oranges or lemons or limes or whatevers you have, you can make marmalade.
BOOZY BLOOD ORANGE MARMALADE
- 1 lb. blood oranges (about 3-5 oranges)
- 1 Cara Cara orange
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup red wine (good quality), depending on amount/size of oranges
- Using a very sharp knife, trim and halve oranges. Remove the pith off the fleshy parts, removing any seeds. Cut the orange pieces into thinner pieces.
- Take the pith, skin and any seeds and tie them together in a piece of cheesecloth tied with bakers twine. Place the oranges and any juices in a medium bowl along with 3 cups water. Place the seed/pith bag in the mixture. Cover it and pop it in the fridge (it can stay there a few days- no more than 4). That baggie will provide you with pectin and help your marmalade set later on.
- Get your jars ready; sanitize them and keep them hot. Get your lids and/or bands ready too.
- Take out that little cheesecloth bundle now, it’s done it’s job. Add the sugar to the mixture and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until the mix reaches 220 F on a candy thermometer, or use the plate test.
- When it reaches the right temperature, remove from heat. Skim foam, and ladle carefully into jars. Add your lids and bands, and let sit for 24 hours. Check seals. Any jars that haven’t sealed get put right in that fridge for immediate use.
And the most fantastic thing happens to this. The red wine makes it kind of sweeter than usual, without making it sickeningly sweet (marmalade is not supposed to be sickeningly sweet).
Remember that champagne jelly? That is also amazing when made with white or red wine; why not make this & that and have a charcuterie platter, and serve ’em both? Sounds good to me. I’ll be over at 9.
So… I’m back!
I might not be posting multiple times a week anymore, at least not for a while, but I’m back. Happy Valentine’s Day, my friends. Wishing you tons of love.