Posts Tagged seville oranges

Doing a little different

A long while ago, canning buddy and I made a slightly caramelized marmalade with some brown sugar for colour, and whisky thrown in at the last second, supposedly for taste. But we never tried it again, for reasons I can no longer remember.

Cue this week’s experiment, an after-work celebration of the fact that the Seville oranges have finally, finally, finally made it to Toronto. Two batches, one with mostly brown sugar, one only with white, and both are pretty damn awesome. I know this because a jar of each marmalade failed to seal properly after their moment in the water bath, forcing me to open and taste both jars before storing the leftovers in the fridge. These are almost the first no-seal jars. Did I take them out of the water bath too early? Fill them too full? Not finger tighten the rings hard enough before the water bath? Who knows. It just means more marmalade to eat right now.

I’m not going to go through the recipe in detail here, because it’s basically the same as the five (!) batches of marmalade I’ve already made this month (Meyer lemon, Cara-Meyer, a mini grown-in-Ontario batch of what was probably calamondin, a mixed orange-lemon marmalade in Florida and a delicate Meyer-blood orange mix that I didn’t blog about).

The method uses equal weights of fruit, sugar and water, with a pre-boil, a slicing of the peels and then a rolling boil until it sets. It’s a method from Marisa at Food in Jars and it usually works. One of the latest batch was regular Seville orange marmalade — with a kilo of white sugar and the same weight in Seville oranges (and one lemon). For the second I used the same amount of fruit, but 650g of brown sugar and 350 of white. It very, very dark — almost a chocolate rather than an orange with a taste that’s almost burnt.

And this time, the set was just about perfect, as opposed to the slightly too runny Cara-Meyer marmalade and the rather well set Meyer lemon mix that started this year’s marmalade season.

I like.

Next up: a Daily Telegraph recipe for marmalade with the addition of black treacle (Britain’s bittersweet and gooey answer to North American molasses), and a blog on using up marmalade. There’s a lot to use.

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Hello sweetie!

A Toronto blogging friend arranged for those nice people over at Jaffa oranges to send me a six-pack sample of something they are calling the Sweetie, which turns out to be a grapefruit-pomelo hybrid, with tough peel, sweet flesh and pith that’s almost a centimeter thick. The spouse liked them just as they are, a grapefruit without the bite, but I figured it would be far more fun to invent a marmalade and blog about that instead.

sweet2The only issue. A nibble of raw peel shows that all the bitterness migrated from fruit to rind on this baby, and that one nibble left my whole mouth atingle, in a most unpleasant way. I peeled the fruit, pared off much of the pith and boiled the peels up three times in fresh water to try to dull the bitterness (in a way that worked moderately well for the grapefruit marmalade I made a while back). But even the thrice-cooked peel tasted pretty gruesome and the spouse worried it would taint the finished product if I actually used the peel. He was probably right.

sweet3I tossed that peel, and moved the experiment in a different direction, with a three-citrus concoction: two Sweeties, two Seville oranges and two organic lemons.

Three-citrus marmalade
2 Sweeties (you could use grapefruit)
2 Seville oranges
2 lemons
800 grams sugar

Peel the Sweeties (grapefruit), tug the flesh out from the white membranes and chop it roughly. Set aside. Quarter the oranges and lemons, cover with water and simmer for 45 minutes or so, until the peel is very soft. Strain the liquid and measure out 3 cups, saving the pits that float out from the fruit in the simmer and putting them in a square of cheesecloth. Add the sugar to the liquid, and then the flesh from the oranges/lemons/Sweeties, and then the peel, sliced as finely or coarsely as you choose. Add the pits from all the fruit to your cheesecloth and tie that into a little bundle for the added pectin that that supplies. Bring to a simmer until the sugar melts, and then a rolling boil for 15-20 minutes, until it sets. Fish out the cheesecloth bag and bottle the marmalade in sterlized jars. Waterbath if you want to obey USDA guidelines.

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For a made-up recipe, with guesstimates for the amounts of fruit, sugar and water, I must say this one is surprisingly good, all six jars of it. It has a firmish set, a tangy taste and just the right amount of orange/lemon peel.

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More marmalade

marm1I really wasn’t planning to blog about marmalade this year, if only because I’ve written about it so many times that there may be nothing new to say.

But then this year’s batch of marmalade is shaping up to be rather nice, with the perfect set, the perfect sweetness and even the perfect peel. We (mostly) cut the peel a little more finely than in previous years, and we didn’t skimp on the sugar, which has been a mistake before. But the Seville oranges were unusually large, which meant we effectively doubled the recipe, so it took longer to set, and filled the pan alarmingly full. There were a few nervous moments as large bubbles of boiling jam spattered onto the floor, the countertop and any exposed flesh they could find.

It was worth it. There were only two jars of marmalade left in the store cupboard, and that wasn’t going to last the year, and the brief Seville orange season had just started.

Here was the rough recipe:

Seville orange marmalade
(Adapted, vaguely, from Jams, Jellies and Chutneys)

9 Seville oranges
3 regular oranges
2 lemons
2 kilos of sugar (plus a little bit)

Scrub the fruit, cover with water and simmer for about an hour until they are very soft and the pith is orange rather than white when you cut the fruit in quarters. I used two preserving kettles for this one. If you take the fruit out too early, and the pith is still white when you quarter them, just throw the quarters back in the water for another 15 minutes or so.

Take the fruit from the water, and cut them up, before fishing out the seeds and pith and slicing the peel, as thinly as you like. Let the fruit cool down a bit between the quartering and the peel-slicing. Save the seeds and pith in a cheesecloth bag – that’s what gives you the pectin, and that’s why the marmalade sets.

Meanwhile measure our the water you have left from simmering the fruit. We had eight cups of water, which seemed about right for what was (in theory) only 1.5 times the original recipe.

Add the sugar, then the fruit and the bag of seeds and pith. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves, and then bring to a rolling boil until it sets, stirring frequently. Fish out the cheesecloth, squeezing it between two spoons to get out as much of the precious, pectin-rich elixir as you can. Be careful. It’s hot.

Bottle in sterilized jars. These oranges were, as I said before, unusually large, and we ended up with 17 jars.

Waterbath for 10 minutes (although I reckon this baby is probably acidic enough that bugs wouldn’t grow anyway).

Eat, on toast for breakfast, with yogurt for lunch, or (my favorite) as a peanut butter and marmalade sandwich on a bike ride or a ski trip. You can even bake with it, for a seriously yummy chocolate marmalade brownie style cake.

Enjoy.

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I now have this irresistable urge to experiment with quince orange marmalade, after spotting quinces in the market on Saturday. I only need a couple of quinces and 4-6 oranges, right? Just a small batch?

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Waste not want not

IMG_0745There’s something rather magical about the bitter taste of candied orange peel, but I’ve never dared to make it before today. But I had four Seville oranges to use up, so I scoured the internet, confused myself with the wide range of recipe suggestions and decided to give things a whirl.

It’s actually quite easy.

You peel the oranges, cut the peel into thin slices and simmer it 3-4 times in fresh batches of water  to remove some of the bitterness. Then simmer again, in a simple syrup made up of equal parts of water and sugar until the syrup has almost boiled away. One recipe suggested you weigh the boiled up peels, and use that as your base to measure the syrup, and that’s roughly what I did. I had 400 grams of peel, so I used 400ml of water and 400 grams of sugar for a simmer that took the best part of an hour. One recipe said “Do not stir” in big bold letters, because it might encourage the development of extra large sugar crystals, while a second said “stir often, or it will burn.” I stirred.

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Spread the peels out on a drying rack (or any sort of wire rack, in my case) and wait a day for them to dry out a little. I used tongs and a fork. It worked, but it’s fiddly. The peel is hot and fragile, and I kept having to move the bits around to find enough space on the rack.

Later that day, or the next day if you prefer, roll your peels in sugar, to get rid of some of the lingering stickiness, and store in wax paper, in a cool dry place.

Leftovers: I had a spoonful of the remaining sauce in Greek yogurt for a not very successful orange yogurt (too bitter), and am saving the remaining quarter cup for a marmalade cake in a few weeks time.

And, mindful of the fact that I try not to use bought pectin, even for jams that really need it, I saved the orange pits in ice cube trays (adding water and very bitter Seville orange juice), and will try adding in muslim pouches to my next batch of jam. That’s a crazy experiment I’ve not seen done before.

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But after almost running out of jam both last year and the year before, the cold room still has many months supply of jam, but a fast-disappearing amount of canned tomatoes.

One year I’ll get the balance right.

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Red, orange, yellow

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The beautiful thing about marmalade is that it’s not just oranges, although I admit Seville oranges are still my go-to classic.

But there were four Seville oranges left over from the marmalade making last week, Meyer lemons available in the stores and space in the pantry. Time to find the reddest blood oranges and mix them with the Sevilles, and then dabble around with internettery to find a one-day recipe for Meyer  marmalade. For the first time we didn’t skimp on the sugar and and I have to admit it worked better that way. I do like a bitter marmalade, but the last batch veered a notch too far in that direction, and the blood oranges added sweetness, as well as a glorious red.

Here, roughly speaking, is what we did.

Meyer lemon marmalade
(We based this on the recipe from Leite’s Culinaria but doubled the quantities and went for boil rather than a simmer. It was a little fiddly, with three different ways to prep the lemons, but it’s a good, firm set.)
14 Meyer lemons
4 generous cups sugar

First prep the lemons. Chop 8 in quarters, remove the seeds and save them in a cheesecloth bag, and slice your lemon quarters nice and fine, peel and all. Peel 4 lemons and cut out the segments, removing and saving the pits (and saving them) as you do so. Squeeze out as much juice as you can, and put the remaining membranes and the pits in that cheesecloth. Discard the peel. Juice the last two lemons and save those pits as well.

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Cover the sliced lemons with water and boil for 2-3 minutes to remove some of the bitterness. Drain, and save the liquid to jazz up a regular marmalade (see below).

Heat two cups of water  gently with all the lemon juice until the sugar dissoloves, and then add the sliced fruit and the lemon segments. Bring to a full boil and boil hard until it thickens — it took maybe 20 or 25 minutes. Bottle and waterbath.

Blood orange/Seville marmalade
4 Seville oranges
4 blood oranges
2 lemons
1.3 kg sugar

Wash the fruit and then simmer in 7 cups of water until it’s squidgy soft, chop in quarters, allow to cool a little and then scoop out the seeds and pith (which is what makes the marmalade set) and save that gunk in a cheesecloth bag.

Chop peel as finely as you like, and then add to the pot with the remaining water (make it up to five cups with extra water if you need to) and the sugar and then boil for 15 minutes or so until it sets. We used the leftover water from boiling the Meyer marmalade to top up our orange water, and that added another layer of taste.

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Bottle in sterilized jars. Waterbath for 10 minutes.

Pictured at the top of the page (from the left): whisky/Seville; blood orange/Seville; Seville; Meyer lemon.

Every shade of red, orange and yellow in a jar.

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Life (and marmalade) on the bitter side

As I may have mentioned once or twice before, there’s a short season for bitter Seville oranges in Toronto, which means grabbing when you see them and fitting the jamming session in around the fruit. So this weekend was time for the first experiment, with two glorious batches of bitingly tart marmalade for round-the-year enjoyment. We followed the recipe that’s mostly worked before, boiling the fruit in water, removing the pith and the pits, chopping the peel relatively finely, and then boiling the resulting goop up with sugar until it almost sets. Unusually for me, I did not cut the sugar this time — I admit last year’s marmalade was a little too tart, even for me, and a few extra sugar calories won’t do any harm. It’s runny again, just like it was last year, but I’m still hoping it will firm up a little over the course of the next few days.

Here’s the simmer…

The prep…

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The boil…

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The bottle…

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And the collection.

IMG_0714We ended up with 10 jars of regular Seville marmalade, with a couple of blood oranges to give it a richer color, and 11 of a slightly caramelly whisky/brown sugar concoction, which are the ones lurking on the left of the picture, plus a jar of mixed marmalade that wouldn’t fit into the regular batch. I had a spoonful of that in my morning oatmeal, for a wake-up bite.

We finished just in time to watch part 3 of the current season of Downton Abbey, which is lurching fast from period piece to soap opera.

Successful day.

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Don’t let it run away with you

Confession time.

I like a runny jam, but that last marmalade never made it past the syrup point, with the translucent Seville orange peel barely suspended in clear, pale orange liquid. I waited a few days, because marmalade does firm up well after you think it will, but nothing much happened. Still a syrup.

So I emptied out the jars, washed them carefully and boiled the marmalade up again for another 7 minutes before rebottling it and waterbathing it all over again.

My original 7-1/2 jars came out as a jam-packed six (excuse the pun), which was just the right number to fit into the pan I was using for my water bath.

But my marmalade now mounds nicely on the spoon, and it’s half a notch darker than it was before, with that tart bite that you only get with real Seville oranges.

I like.

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