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Winter is the season of citrus; wooden crates of clementines, mountains of navel oranges, all bright, juicy and packed with vitamin C. But what to do when you have enough oranges to save a ship full of sailors from scurvy? Make Marmalade.


I used Ina Garten’s recipe and added half a cup of brandy at the end. This was inspired by the great marmalade we brought back from Ireland. I really liked this recipe; it’s a sweet marmalade, but there is a complexity from the bitterness of the pith and a kick of brandy at the finish.


Make sure to slice the oranges as thin as possible, and then I would cut the half rounds in to quarters. This recipe makes quite a lot, so make sure you have enough canning jars.



  • 4 large seedless oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 8 cups sugar
  • ½ Cup of Brandy (optional)


Cut the oranges and lemons in half crosswise, then into very thin half-moon slices. (If you have a mandoline, this will be quite fast.) Discard any seeds. Place the sliced fruit and their juices into a stainless-steel pot. Add 8 cups water and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Cover and allow to stand overnight at room temperature.

The next day, bring the mixture back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 2 hours. Turn the heat up to medium and boil gently, stirring often, for another 30 minutes. Skim off any foam that forms on the top. Cook the marmalade until it reaches 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer. If you want to be doubly sure it's ready, place a small amount on a plate and refrigerate it until it's cool but not cold. If it's firm -- neither runny nor too hard -- it's done. It will be a golden orange color. (If the marmalade is runny, continue cooking it and if it's too hard, add more water.)

Stir the brandy in.

Pour the marmalade into clean, hot Mason jars; wipe the rims thoroughly with a clean damp paper towel, and seal with the lids. Store in the pantry for up to a year.




( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 6th, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC)
Like Paddington Bear, I practically live on Marmalade. The best marmalade is the stuff that my mother makes in England. Unfortunately, the flight security officers apparently like it too because they always confiscate it. My mother hasn't quite got the idea of "no gels or liquids in your hand luggage"!

This sounds great. I'd love to sample it. You've used navel oranges as opposed to the traditional ingredient of Seville oranges, which are hard to get even in England these days. I've never ever seen them here. So it probably doesn't have that slight tang. But I'm sure the brandy gives it enough oomph so that we won't miss it.

Jan. 10th, 2010 04:18 pm (UTC)
A review
I have to give very high marks to this brandy marmalade made from navel oranges.

There are four important aspects of marmalade and I will cover them all: the taste, the "nose", the texture and the appearance.

A- The taste is simply excellent: not sickeningly sweet like marmalade in America tends to be. Indeed, the hint of brandy which is easily discernible, gives it a very sophisticated and definitely "adult" taste. Admittedly, the taste doesn't have that extra tang that comes from Seville oranges (hence the "minus" in the rating), but as these are next to impossible to find on this side of the Atlantic, this really is the next best thing.

A+ The nose. This is something which perhaps the casual consumer of marmalade forgets. But what can be more appealing than opening up a pot of marmalade and sensing that heady aroma. It's like opening up a new box of Earl Grey tea. In this case, we also have the hint of brandy which is almost palpable. Very good indeed.

A+ Texture. Marmalade makers the world over know that this is the most difficult thing to get right. Frankly, I'm amazed at how good this is, given that I think this is Gloria's first foray into marmalade making. It's perfect. And this is with navel oranges, remember, which have a lower pectin content. I dare say that there was an adjustment made to get this right. Well done indeed.

B+ Appearance. Now we come to the only aspect of the marmalade that isn't perfect. Now, I love thick-cut marmalade, especially the commercially-available Frank Cooper's Oxford marmalade (see my blog at http://robinsruralrides.blogspot.com/2010/01/marmalade-from-peru.html). However, with the very thick peel of navel oranges, there is about 5 or 6 mm of depth to the peel in the marmalade, with all of the pith that comes with it. This is perhaps unavoidable with this kind of orange. But here's where I think an improvement might be made: shorten the actual lengths of peel. After all, we should sense the peel, but it shouldn't be allowed to have a life of its own.

Thanks, Gloria: I'm still enjoying it. Hope the bridge tournament is going well for you!

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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