Photo: Sara Remington, The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook
Adapted from The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook by Rachel Saunders
In this marmalade, the cold winter combination of sour oranges and lemons makes for a refreshing flavor. This is a British-style marmalade, meant for morning toast and tea.
3/4 pound lemons, cut into eights
1 1/4 pounds seeded lemons (preferably Lisbon), halved and crosswise, each half cut lengthwise into quarters and sliced thickly crosswise
3 pounds seeded Seville or other sour oranges, halved crosswise
5 pounds white cane sugar
5 ounces strained freshly squeezed lemon juice
Place the lemon eights in a nonreactive saucepan where they will fit snugly in a single layer. Add enough cold water for the fruit to bob freely. Cover tightly and let rest overnight at room temperature.
Prepare the cooked lemon juice: Bring the pan with the lemon eights to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat to medium. Cook the fruit at a lively simmer, covered, for 2 to 3 hours, or until the lemons are soft and the liquid has become slightly syrupy. As the lemons cook, press down on them gently with a spoon every 30 minutes or so, adding a little more water if necessary. The water level should stay consistently high enough for the fruit to remain submerged as it cooks.
When the lemons are finished cooking, strain their juice by pouring the hot fruit and liquid into a medium strainer or colander suspended over a heatproof storage container or nonreactive saucepan. Cover the entire setup well with plastic wrap and let drip overnight at room temperature.
Meanwhile prepare the slice lemons: Place the slices in a wide stainless-steel pan and cover amply with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain, discarding the liquid. Return the lemon slices to the pan and add enough cold water to cover them by 1-inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat to medium and cook at a lively simmer, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the fruit is very tender. As the fruit cooks, stir it gently every 15 minutes or so, adding a little more water if necessary. The water level should stay consistently high enough for the fruit to remain submerged as it cooks. Remove the pan from the heat, cover tightly, and let rest overnight at room temperature.
Last, prepare the orange slices: Juice the orange halves, cover the juice, and refrigerate overnight. Quarter each orange half lengthwise and slice the quarter thickly crosswise. Place the slices in a stainless-steel pan and cover amply with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain, discarding the liquid. Return the orange slices to the pan and cover with 2 inches cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat to medium and cook, covered, at a lively simmer for 1 to 2 hours, or until the fruit is very tender. As the fruit cooks, stir it gently every 30 minutes or so, adding a little more water if necessary. The water level should sty consistently high enough for the fruit to remain submerged as it cooks. When the slices are ready, remove the pan from the heat, cover tightly, and let rest overnight at room temperature.
Place a saucer with five metal teaspoons in a flat place in your freezer for testing the marmalade later.
Remove the plastic wrap from the lemon eights and their juice and discard the lemons. Strain the juice well through a very fine-mesh strainer to remove any lingering solids.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, cooked lemon juice, fresh lemon and orange juices, and lemon and orange slices and their liquid, stirring well. Transfer the mixture to an 11 or 12-quart copper preserving pan or a wide nonreactive pan.
Bring this mixture to a boil over high heat. Cook at a rapid boil until the setting point is reached this will take a minimum of 25 minutes, but may take longer depending upon your individual stove and pan.
Initially, the mixture will bubble gently for several minutes; then as more moisture cooks out of it and the sugar concentration increases, it will begin foaming. Do not stir it at all during the initial bubbling, then, once it starts to foam, stir it gently ever few minutes with a heatproof rubber spatula. As it gets close to being done, stir it slowly every minute or two to prevent burning, decreasing the heat a tiny bit if necessary. The marmalade is ready for testing when its color darkens slightly and its bubbles become very small.
To test for doneness, remove it from the heat and carefully transfer a small representative half-spoonful to one of your frozen spoons. It should look shiny, with tiny bubbles throughout. Replace the spoon in the freezer and for 3 to 4 minutes, then remove spoon from freezer and carefully feel the underside of the spoon. It should be neither warm nor cold. If still warm, return it to the freezer for a moment. Tilt the spoon vertically to see whether or not the jam runs. If it does not run, and if its top layer has thickened to a jelly consistency, the jam is ready. If it does run, continue to cook the jam for another few minutes, testing again as needed.
When the marmalade has finished cooking, turn off the heat but do not stir. Using a stainless steel spoon, skim off any surface foam and discard. Pour into sterilized jars and process according to manufacturer's instructions or as directed in this book.
Yield: ten 8-ounce jars
Shelf Life: 2 years. After opening, store in the refrigerator