This marmalade is my love note to all my favorite citrus varieties. I only just met Cara Cara, but it was love at first cut. Her perfectly orange exterior coupled with a sweet pink inside. Then there is the Moro Blood, whose bright colors and intense flavor never fail to impress. And lastly the Sumo, bumpy and bulbous but with all the taste and convenience of a tiny mandarin. These three varieties are my choice, but you can use whatever citrus you have available or that speaks to you in an intimate fashion.
Please proceed with intent because making and putting up marmalade is no simple afternoon project. Anyone that knows this blog, understands that I am not about quick and easy. I enjoy making food that slows down life and brings enjoyment. We move too fast, wanting instant gratification in so many aspects of our lives, but what ever happened to sitting for a while and focusing on a single project. Making things from scratch doesn't have to be difficult, but it does require attention and time. Personally, this is my favorite way to relax and find peace. If your hobbies lead you to other activities then you can find delight in knowing that you can easily get great marmalade in a store or farmers market (or stop by my house for some!).
Winter Citrus Marmalade (CaraMoroSumo Marmalade)
4 lbs of citrus (I used an assortment of Cara Cara, Sumo and Moro Blood Oranges)
4 cups of the liquid from cooking the zest
5 cups of sugar (I prefer to use unrefined natural cane sugar but regular white sugar is fine too)
Wash the oranges in warm soapy water and then dry completely. Using a serrated vegetable peeler or sharp knife, remove the zest from all the fruit. Stacking a few of the zest strips at a time, slice them as thin as possible. Collect all the zest and place it in a large pot with 2 quarts of water. Bring the zest and water to a boil on the stove top. Reduce the heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until the zest is tender. When finished drain the zest from the water and reserve 4 cups of the cooking liquid.
While your zest is simmering this is a great time to supreme all the citrus fruit. Collect the segments and juice into one bowl and collect the membranes and seeds in another bowl. Once all the fruit has been separated, collect a handful of the seeds and some of the inner membranes and bundle it into some cheesecloth and tie shut with twine so that no seeds can escape. Prepare a boiling water bath and sanitize your jars and bands. Place cleaned lids into warm water and set aside. Set sanitized jars and bands on the counter in preparation of filling.
In a large and deep pot combine the drained zest, 4 cups of cooking liquid, segmented citrus, sugar, and the cheesecloth bundle of seeds. Bring everything to a vigorous boil and continue to boil until the mixture reaches the set point at 220° F, which can take about 30 to 40 minutes or longer. Make sure to stir occasionally so it doesn't burn. The mixture must hold at 220° F for 1 minute after you remove the pot from the heat source (you should also test the marmalade using the freezer test). If the marmalade is not ready then return the pot to the heat and cook an additional 5 minutes and test it again. Once it is set to your liking remove the pot from the heat and remove the cheesecloth bundle and discard it.
Ladle the marmalade into the prepared jars leaving 1/4 inch head space and wipe the rims clean. Add the lids and bands (finger tight), and process the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the boiling water and set on top of a kitchen towel on the counter to cool. Listen for the tink, tink, tink of sealing jars and check the seals using the finger test the next day. Label your jars and pass them out to family and friends!
If you would like additional information about canning and techniques visit these two great sites: Food in Jars and Local Kitchen. You can also pick up a free "Intro to Canning" on the Ball website: Click Here.