Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's Orange Season

We’ve been enjoying the wonderful scent from the Orange Blossoms on our backyard trees for weeks now. The oranges from last year’s blossoms are all ripe, and it’s time to get them picked. So that means – we have been making all things Orange to use up the fruit.
My Mom is in town visiting from Pennsylvania. Years ago she used to do a lot of canning - Tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers and lots more. Back then, she canned out of necessity - to keep food costs down by growing her own. This project was mostly for fun. Like so many of my "home made" items, they are seldom cost savers. I had a blast working with Mom and I think she had a bit more fun this time around.
Our first project - Homemade Orange Marmalade.

We picked as many oranges as my well used little garden cart
(a gift from hubby many years ago) could hold.

The smell was amazing as we pulled them from the trees. We live in one of the "Groves" neighborhoods in Mesa, Arizona. The homes are built in an old Citrus Grove. We have 14 orange trees in our yard (which is nothing compared to some of our neighbors). Other homes have lemon and grapefruit trees.

When the oranges are ripe, a crew comes around and gleanes the trees - picking all the fruit from our trees in less than an hour. I can't imagine how long it would have taken for us to do it ourselves. If the fruit isn't picked, it will eventually drop to the ground and attract all sorts of critters...have you ever seen a javelina? 
This is what was left AFTER we picked what we needed.

And so the Marmalade Making began...
Peeled - sectioned - rinds sliced...
After it's all cooked down...

The finished product. Home Made Marmalade.
I just love how it looks in these adorable little jars. 
This is the recipe I used. I found it in a publication from UC Davis, along with tons of other useful information on Preserving Oranges.

ORANGE MARMALADE(makes 6 half-pint jars)
4 Medium Oranges
2 Medium Lemons
2 1/2 Cups Water
1/8 Teaspoon Baking Soda
6 1/2 Cups Sugar
1 Package Powdered Pectin
1/4 Teaspoon butter

Sterilize empty canning jars in boiling water, on a rack, for 10 minutes.

Wash citrus fruits. Remove the rinds in quarters. Remove as much of the pith as possible from the inside of the rind quarters. Thinly slice the rinds into strips and place in a large saucepan. Mix the rinds with water and baking soda. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the rinds are cooking, remove seeds from the peeled citrus segments and finely chop the fruit, saving the juice. Add to the cooked rind mixture. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Measure exactly 4 cups of cooked fruit and rind mixture. One box of pectin is sufficient to gel this much liquid, so is important to have the correct amount. Use a slotted spoon to make sure you get all the fruit and rind. Use remaining juice to bring the total volume to 4 cups. Discard any leftover juice, and return the 4 cups of cooked fruit, rind and juice to the saucepan.

Add pectin and butter to the measured fruit, rind and juice. The butter reduces foaming during the cooking process. Bring the mixture to a vigorous boil. Stirring constantly, boil for 1 minute. Add sugar to the mixture. Return to a boil. Stirring constantly, boil for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Prepare 2-piece canning lids according to manufacturer's directions. Ladle hot marmalade into hot, sterile jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Wipe the jars and rim clean with a towel. Place clean prepared lid on the rim and screw the ring band on finger-tight.

Process in a boiling waterbath canner for 5 minutes. Remove from waterbath and let jars cool, undisturbed for 12-24 hours. When jars are cool to the touch, tighter the ring band completely. You will begin to hear the jars "pop" as the seals cool. Check seals by pressing the middle of the lid with your finger. If the lid springs back, then the jar is not sealed and must be refrigerated.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't had much success in the past making marmalade. I'll have to try this one, it look delicious.