This orange marmalade recipe is for those who want a small jar of it to eat up within a week or two, without the rigors of canning and bottling for preserving till eternity. No pectin, no fancy equipment, no complex sterilization of storage jars. Making orange marmalade at home doesn’t get easier than this!
Ever since I’ve started making marmalade in my own kitchen, I wonder that I ever bought it from the market. I get far superior stuff at a fraction of the cost, with hardly any effort. Plus the activity leaves the kitchen smelling wonderful for hours. The bittersweet bite of rind, the real fresh citrus taste, the golden-happy translucence of homemade orange marmalade – there is simply no match for it.
(to fill a jar of 3-inch diameter, 4-inch depth)
- Oranges – 3*
- Water – 1.5 cups
- Sugar – 1 cup
*I used sweet orange, the tight-sleeved variety. You can use any other variety of orange for this recipe – increase the amount of sugar if using a sour/bitter orange.
Wash the oranges well.
Peel the oranges, discarding the pith (albedo, as the geeks would call it; white part, as the normal people would call it) and seeds, and retain the fleshy part and the rind.
[I do it this way:
Peel each orange using a sharp knife, slicing just under the pith. This gives
(1) the fleshy globe of peeled orange
(2) the rind with the pith (and maybe some pulp stuck to it)
From the peeled orange , pry out the pulp and collect it in a bowl. It’s fine if the pulp gets squishy and mushy, everything will get cooked into jellied mass anyway. Discard the membrane and the central column.
If there is pulp stuck on the inner side of the rind, squeeze out the juice from it into the bowl. Now slice away the pith from the rind and keep only the thin orange outer layer. Some recipes use the pith too, but I prefer mine without as pith makes the marmalade too bitter for my taste.]
Grate the rind of half an orange. This can get a little tricky to do, as the rind begins to slip off the fingers after some of the skin has been grated. The good news is, you need not grate every last bit of the rind: if you have about a teaspoon of zest, you have enough. The slippery remains can be thrown away.
Slice the pith-less rind of an orange into fine slivers. I use the rind of a single orange only, plus the zest of half an orange, for 3-orange marmalade, but if you like the bitter notes stronger, add more.
In a thick-bottomed pan, add the pulp+juice of oranges, the zest and the rind slivers, along with 1.5 cups of water. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring regularly. Set to simmer.
After 30 minutes of cooking on low heat, stir in a cup of sugar till it dissolves. Continue to simmer till the marmalade has thickened. This will take another 20 minutes or so.
You need not watch over the pan too carefully while it cooks – but be attentive towards the end. Stir regularly at this stage. You need to stop the cooking process at the right time – too early and you get runny marmalade, too late and you get a clunky unspreadable mass.
How will you know that the marmalade is ready? Place a spoonful of hot marmalade on a cool plate. After a minute, the marmalade should show signs of jelling.
[Of the two evils, I prefer runny marmalade to hard. When in doubt, switch the heat off.]
Ladle freshly made orange marmalade into a ceramic or glass jar. Let cool. Refrigerate.
Enjoy homemade orange marmalade over hot toast or on the side with flatbread. I’ve also discovered that those who run miles away from green tea are willing to have a cupful, if a dollop of orange marmalade is served with the bitter drink.
Make sure that whatever equipment you bring in contact with orange marmalade is thoroughly clean and dry. This will help the marmalade stay good longer.
- The pan in which you did the cooking will have traces of marmalade all over it. Don’t let any of it go to waste! Here’s an idea:
Pour two cups of hot water into the pan with orange marmalade extract, add 4 crushed cloves. Bring to a boil, then simmer till the drink reduces to half its quantity. A sweet version of orange and clove tea is ready.