Proper Marmalade

I remember my grandfather, Frank, standing in the grocery aisle, studying the jams and jellies trying to find a proper marmalade. He seemed pretty satisfied with the kind in the white jar but many others came up short. He grew up in the Bronx in an Irish family and also lived in England for a few years when my mom was a kid. I guess the average American grocery store selection of bitter, thick-cut marmalade was pretty slim the eighties and nineties.

I have inherited this love of good bitter marmalade with big chunks of peel. My favorite way to enjoy it is on dark toast with salted butter and cup of black coffee. I think Frank would approve.

The key is starting with real sour oranges. I found these fancy organic ones at Formaggio Kitchen. I don't know if farmers actually bother spraying pesticides on sour (Seville) oranges, but the peels on these looked more appetizing than the ones I used in a previous attempt.

I combined recipes I found on TheWednesdayChef.com and DavidLebovitz.com. I also substituted some turbinato/raw sugar for white because thats what I found in the cabinet. I'm not writing a recipe here - just encouraging you to give it a try.

I soaked the peels, juice, pulp, and seeds (in a tea ball). It was only supposed to be over night but I got busy and it was more like 36 hours of soaking in the fridge.

I simmered it until the peels looked more translucent and sterilized a collection of jars in a water bath at the same time. I took the seeds out and added the sugar. You can see the color change and that the pulp has started to disappear.

Then I boiled and boiled and boiled. It was hot and boring and felt like forever but I didn't want marmalade syrup like my last batch. I finally hit 220F on the thermometer and it was ready to put in jars.

All the effort was completely worth it, but I'm also happy only making marmalade once a year when Seville oranges are in season. My usual jams with Pomona pectin don't require the extra long boiling time and use much less sugar.