My Motto

May the muffin rise to greet you, may your friends be always at your door, and until we meet again, warm a single-malt in the palm of your hand and make something homemade for someone you love.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Apricot-Orange Marmalade

I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It's amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor.
~D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930)
I went to Florida recently with marmalade on the brain and a mission to find some Seville oranges, since after much research, they kept popping up as the orange of choice for good marmalade.  David Lebovitz's recipe, and blog comments were very helpful as I started looking into methods.  I didn't use his recipe, but his and the readers comments came to mind and were helpful when I was developing my own.  Marmalade holds a nostalgic place in my heart since it was the very first preserve I ever made, at around 13 years old.  The second was apricot, so I wanted to combine the two.  The result was an intensely flavored, not overly sweet, tangy and lusciously orange marmalade that was NOT BITTER!  
From what I read, the English prefer their marmalade bitter, but I don't, so I went to pains to remove the pith (root of bitterness) from the rind before I sliced it up.  You can leave it on if you prefer.  
I never did find Seville oranges in Florida.  They are grown in Spain, but I thought I might find them in the Citrus state.  Nope.  I even tried an orange farm warehouse.  After more research, I settled on using the readily available (in Florida) Valencia oranges.  I'm so happy with the results that going forward, I wouldn't bother trying anything else.  I made this two weeks ago.  It's best if you let it sit for a week.  Well, I gave a jar to my mother and she called today to say it was "absolutely fabulous!"  Woo-hoo!

If you would like to make this, but have never made preserves, I suggest you pick up a good book on canning.  My favorite is 250 Home Preserving Favorites.  Concise, easy, and all the recipes are for small batches (4-8 jars).  There is a link to it in my sidebar.  With my recipe, you need to start the day before.  It breaks up the work, and gives the natural pectin longer to do it's thing.

Apricot-Orange Marmalade

Kitchen string
5 Valencia oranges
6 ounces dried apricots
1 lemon
granulated sugar
pinch salt
dot of butter
2 tablespoons scotch, Grand Marnier or Cointreau

Makes about 6 8-ounce jars.
Day before:
1. Place the dried apricots in 2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, simmer 20 mins then let sit for 40.  Pulse in a food processor until chopped chunky.
2. Cut oranges in half and squeeze out the juice.  Remove seeds and place in a square of several layers of cheesecloth.  Cut oranges in half again.  Scrape membranes from peels and add to cheesecloth; tie with string.  
Scrape as much of the white pith off the peel as possible.  Slice peel sliver-thin. I found the peels from 4 oranges was enough.
3. Zest and juice the lemon.  Add seeds to cheesecloth bag.
4. Measure combined volume of juices, peel and apricot mixture. Add half as much water.  For instance...if the combined amount of fruit mixture is 8 cups, then add 4 cups water.  Place in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pan, such as a Le Creuset.  Place a cheesecloth bag in center of pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally and squeezing cheesecloth bag several times, for about 2 hours or until peel is very soft.  Cover and let sit overnight.
Next Day:
5. Measure the peel and liquid, squeezing cheesecloth bag; discard bag.  Stir in 3/4 the volume in sugar.  For instance, if there is 4 cuts fruit mix, then add 3 cups sugar.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar.  Add a dot of butter (to reduce foam).  Boil rapidly, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes or until marmalade thickens or reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer.  Test for setting point. 
If you do not have a candy thermometer, use the cold-saucer test: Remove the pan from the heat and place a spoonful of hot jam on a chilled plate. Place in the freezer for 1 minute; draw a finger through the jam on the saucer. If the jam does not flow back and fill in the path, it is thick enough. If, after 25 minutes it has not set, stir in 1 tablespoon dry instant fruit pectin.
6. Remove from heat and stir for 5 to 8 minutes to prevent floating rind.  At this time, stir in the scotch, if desired.
7. Ladle into sterilized jars to within 1/4 inch of rim; wipe rims.  Apply prepared lids and rings; tighten rings just until fingertip-tight.
8. Process jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.  Transfer jars to a towel-lined surface and let rest at room temperature until set.  Check seals; refrigerate any unsealed jars for up to 3 weeks.  It's best if you let it sit for a week.


Mary said...

Your marmalade has such beautiful color. I attended a high school where the name Margaret Murphy was very common :-). I was a Boyle back then. Have a wonderful weekend. Blessings...Mary

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Thank you, Mary! I was named after a church in Massachusetts. Boyle, 'eh? An Irish woman after me own heart ;-)
You have a great weekend as well. Thanks for coming by.

Kimby said...

My toast is alternately slathered with apricot preserves or orange marmalade, but THIS is the best of BOTH. Thanks!

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

@Kimby: You're welcome! I now prefer this to either of the others!

Indonesia Eats said...

what a beautiful marmalade! I'd love to have this with my toast

Susi's Kochen und Backen said...

I don't care for bitter orange marmalade either and this sounds like it would be perfect for my taste buds :o) The color is fantastic and I really love the addition of the apricots and grand marnier!

Anna said...

Oh i am such a marmalade fan, yours looks so good. I've got a piece of toast that has your marmalade written all over it. :) Gorgeous picture, the colour is beautiful!

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

@Indonesa Eats: C'mon over, I'll start the coffee ;-)

@Susi's Kochen & Backen: Thanks! (booze makes everything better, haha!)

@Anna: Aw, thank you so much! And I have a chair right here at my kitchen table with YOUR name on it :-)

Colleen Carrigan said...

Thank you for this. I grew up in Florida, and I use "wild" or "sour" oranges. My mother has a wild orange tree, and most of the trees that you see overgrown and neglected on the side of the road are wild oranges. Orange trees will revert to their sour roots after a few years, and although they are not officially "seville oranges", they do a great job as a substitute. But you won't find them for sale at roadside stands.

After returning yesterday with TONS of sour oranges, I was looking for a recipe that included apricots, and I found yours. Here's one of my former marmalade-making adventures.
Thank you for the recipe.

Margaret Lee said...

Do you drain the apricots before pulsing them?


Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Yes, I drain them, left just enough water that they would puree easily