Monday, February 13, 2012

A Dollop of Sunshine in a Day Full of Blizzard

Here in the Frozen Northeast Ohio we do not grow oranges.

That means that oranges are expensive. And if you buy them you want them to taste all good and yummy. Not sour and unpleasant. So I was mighty upset when the oranges that I purchased several weeks ago where not, shall we say, all that tasty. HHBL was unimpressed.

Well darn it! Now I have 8 oranges that are going to sit in the refrigerator until they finally go rotten and have to be fished out, all dripping and slimy, and thrown in the compost pile.

Not so fast young Padwan. There is something that you can do with oranges.

You can make Orange Marmalade.

Oh just the thought brings joy and sunshine.

Lets see how we do this shall we? I will tell you right off the bat that I used Alton Brown’s Orange Marmalade recipe. No need to reinvent the wheel on this.
These are all the things that you are going to need. Don’t you love recipes that don’t require a vast assortment of ingredients and tools.

Oh oranges why must you look so lovely on the outside and yet be so disappointing.

The first thing that you are going to need to do is thoroughly wash and dry the fruit. I didn’t think that a picture of that step was required.

Then get out your mandoline and start slicing.

Or in this case, abandon the mandoline that refused to slice accurately and just get out a nice sharp knife. The slices should be 1/8 of an inch thick. Or so. Hey, uniformity is so boring!

Good thing they were on the sour side cuz I would just have munched away on these babies. 

Then you need to zest and juice one lemon and throw that into the pot along with the orange slices.

A lemon has given it’s life and juice for my pleasure. 



Add the oranges slices, the lemon zest and juice and 6 cups of water to the pot and turn the heat UP so that the liquid gets to a boil. Then turn the heat down a bit to keep the mix at a vigorous simmer and let it go for about 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.

Take a break. Look out the window.

This is what it was doing the day that I made the marmalade. See, I really needed some sort of sunshine and happiness.

Stir the pot. Watch the Pileated Woodpecker. Stir the pot. Watch the Pileated Woodpecker.

And finally, after 40 minutes the oranges are all nice and soft and mushy. And that is when you add the sugar…….3 POUNDS plus 12 ounces of sugar.

I didn’t take a picture of that. I think you can figure out how to do that. But I will tell you that you need to make sure that you have used a large enough pot. The addition of that much sugar will raise the liquid level a bit.

Then get ‘er boilin’. You want to raise the temp of the mixture up to 220F. And it takes longer than Alton tells you it does. That may have been because I just wasn't vigorous enough in my use of heat.
Remember to use your thermometer. Alton also tells you to stick a plate in the freezer to test the readiness of your marmalade. I skipped that step and just boiled until the back of the spoon coated well and it dripped off the spoon just right. It was at a full, rolling boil that couldn’t be stirred down and was producing a lot of foam so I knew I was at the right place, marmalade wise.

I hate cooking rules.

Once the marmalade is done cooking you ladle it into hot canning jars, put on the lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes at full boil. Any opened marmalade can be refrigerated.

Once the canning is done, take them out of the water and let them cool on the counter. And do not open them for 24 hours. Let them sit. Let them rest. Have some discipline here people!

But if you just can’t wait to taste the nectar then scrape out the last dregs of the marmalade from the pot.

Oh be still my beating heart. I wish you all had “smellovision”.

A little dollop of sunshine on a very blizzardy day (I cannot see the street at the moment).

1 comment:

  1. I've had several people down here say they wish we'd get one big snow and I feel like I need to do some anti-hex turnaroundstompfeettwiddlethumbs kind of thing to make sure the snow gods don't hear that nonsense. I want it to stay up there; way up there.

    That sunshine you've got going on though, I can handle some of that. Alton absolutely rocks.


Thank you SOOO much for commenting. We bloggers, of which I am such a minnow in such a big pond, live for our comments.