Here it is, the end product of this journey.
I would say for a first attempt things went ok. I learned one very important lesson. Don’t let concern for temperature outweigh the necessity of stirring. If you look closely at the picture you can see little black specks. Those are not vanilla bean pieces – which I found in one recipe and think I may try next time – those are little burnt, excuse me, carmelized pieces of peel. Dangit. I did manage to taste the marmalade and I couldn’t detect an off flavor so maybe it will be ok. I’m afraid that the burnt bits might get more overpowering as the jars age but we’ll eat it as long as we can. And speaking of taste… OH… MY… GOD… this tastes so much better than any store bought marmalade I have ever had. It’s like super-concentrated orange deliciousness! So, here’s what you do on day two.
Step 1: Bring the citrus, sugar, and water mixture back to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours.
Step 2: While the marmalade is simmering wash your jars. You can wash the jars in the auxillary dish storage (some people call it a dishwasher) and hold them in there so they stay hot. I just washed mine by hand and then held them in a sink of very hot water.
Step 3: Simmer your lids.
Step4: Bring the marmalade back to a gentle boil and boil for 30 minutes. Make sure the mixture reaches 220 degrees Farenheit. Remember to stir often!
Step 5: Ladle the hot mixture into hot jars, wipe the rim to make sure it’s clean. Place the lids on the jars and seal with the rings. Let cool on a clean dish towel in a draft free area. Check the seals on the jars the next day to make sure they sealed. Store any unsealed jars in the refrigerator and use first.
There were two concerns I had with this recipe which I found on the Food Network.
First, there were no measurements for the amount of citrus. The recipe called for 4 large, seedless oranges, and 2 lemons. Well, my definition of large and your definition of large might be totally different. If this bothers you too much – obviously it didn’t bother me too much – then there are myriad other recipes that are out there that are just as simple to make but list specific amounts of citrus.
Second, this recipe doesn’t call for a hot water bath to seal the jars. I chose to assume that the amount of sugar and acid in the marmalade would “self-preserve” the preserves. That being said, I’m going to be very careful using this and I cannot in good conscience recommend that you do the same. If you make this recipe add an additional step and water bath the jars according to some kind of canning recipe.
Here’s a link to the original recipe: Anna’s Orange Marmalade from Barefoot Contessa