There’s nothing else that beats biting into a warm croissant slathered with orange marmalade, on a winter morn, right? Ah. And for me, the taste is so much better with some cheese on top. Oooh! Of course, you may be hard pressed to find a patisserie that serves great croissants and great orange marmalade, here in India. But if you travel down south to Pondicherry in the union territory of Pondicherry, you’ll definitely stumble upon one at the turn of a corner or two, owned by the descendant of a Frenchman.
Come to think of it, orange marmalade slathered on pretty much most pastries is heavenly, no? If you haven’t tasted marmalade that isn’t overloaded with sugar, then you’ve come to the right place. This Valencia orange marmalade recipe does require some patience — making it is a day-long or a night-long process — but the fruit of your labour gloriously bittersweet, and charmingly rich. We don’t get the really bitter oranges, called Seville oranges, in Bangalore though. We do get Valencia oranges from Australia. I was determined to make some of my own after tasting the sweet store-bought ones. Although these oranges were sweeter than the bitter ones, I was able to get the right amount of bitterness after a few tries. The trick is to get all that pith in with the right amount of water, and all the seeds in (separately), and let everything soak for a few hours. So there’s a constant release of pectin, that give the marmalade its shiny jellied structure.
My mum made jams and jellies when I was a child (made with fruit pieces and fruit juice respectively), so those I know. But marmalades were bought from the stores. So, I used David Lebovitz’s recipe as a guide to make this Valencia orange marmalade. His recipe is for Seville oranges though, and therefore, I adjusted my sugar and threw in a lime for good measure. I didn’t skip the Scotch, though! *wink* I think that juicing them beforehand is a killer idea — not only do you get all the seeds, but its less messy when you cut it. Cutting oranges really thin and small with the juice in can get very messy!
I just can’t get enough of my homemade orange marmalade! I slather it on pretty much everything — breads, chapatis, biscuits, scones and muffins. And when I do make croissants, I’ll slather it on them too! Let me know how your homemade orange marmalade turns out — comment below, or tag me on Instagram using #notjustspice or on Facebook with @notjustspice.
- 6 oranges scrubbed
- 1 lime
- 8 cups (2 litres) water
- 7 cups (1.4 kg) sugar
- A pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon Scotch
Cut the oranges in half.
Using a lemon squeezer with a mesh, or a non-reactive strainer over a bowl, squeeze out the juice, so you catch the seeds over the mesh. Do the same thing with the lime.
Place the seeds in a non-reactive metal bag (like steel), or tie them up in a cheesecloth or muslin. They’ll have to withstand a few hours’ of boiling, so ensure that your knot is secure.
Cut the orange rinds in half, and then proceed to slice them thinly. Hold the slices down together and cut them up into pieces that are no more than 1.3 cm (1/2 an inch) long. Do the same thing with the lime.
In a heavy bottom-vessel like a pressure cooker or a stockpot, add the water, seed pouch, salt, all the juice you collected from squeezing the oranges and lime out, and the finely-cut orange slices, and bring the whole lot to a boil.
Immediately reduce the heat, and let it all simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove it from the heat and let it sit on your countertop for 7-8 hours (overnight).
Place it back on the stove and add the sugar in. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Stir occasionally, so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the vessel.
It has to cook until it reaches the jelling point, that is 103ºC (218ºF). For me, it took about an hour and 45 minutes. Remove the seeds after an hour and 15 minutes. You won’t need them again.
10. To test if your marmalade has set, place some marmalade on a plate that has been sitting in the freezer for half an hour, and place it back in the freezer for 3 minutes. When you slide your finger through the middle of the marmalade, it should stay separate and wrinkle a bit. If not, let it continue to simmer.
11. When it has reached the temperature (if you’re checking with a thermometer) and consistency (freezer-plate method), turn off the heat.
12. Stir in the Scotch and allow it to cool before you spoon it into clean jars.
Your marmalade will be runnier than the store-bought ones dues to lesser sugar. Pectin also make your marmalade more jelly-like, and as these oranges contain lesser pectin than a few other varieties like Seville oranges, the resulting orange marmalade may not be as thick as marmalade made from Seville oranges. Letting the whole thing soak for a good 7-8 hours helps the the release of additional pectin, so don’t skip the soaking bit. Storage: It stays good for a month in the fridge — that’s how long it stayed in our fridge as I ended up using a loooot of it, and more of it in cakes and muffins. I was out of control. So, I don’t know for how much longer it will actually stay. However if you want to preserve it, you can learn the procedures here.
Seville Orange Marmalade (David Lebovitz)
Let’s Preserve: Basics of Home Canning (PennState Extension)
Name That Orange! The… Varieties (modern farmer)