I Made Marmalade!

Citrus marmalade, in fact. As in, kumquat, grapefruit, and orange. And I don't even really like marmalade. But this month's Daring Baker Challenge requires it as a component.

I also figured I better take advantage of BFF's kumquat tree because there is a high probability that it's gonna see the axe in a month or so. That will be a sad day. Imagine a kumquat tree with laden branches that reach from your knees to the very apex of your roof of a single story home. That's a big tree and yields pounds of kumquats. I really ought to take a picture of it before it makes way for the addition they are building onto the house. We picked about ten pounds of the little gems for my dad to take back to Oregon and that only cleared off a few of the lower branches.

Anyway, I figured I'd make a nice blend and so I took a bunch of the kumquats, a couple of oranges, and a grapefruit from my own tree. I looked at recipes on Allrecipes.com and on Food in Jars, a canning blog. In the end I combined some elements from both.

I started by peeling the oranges and grapefruit as you see above. Then I sliced it all into matchstick size slices. I sliced and seeded the kumquats as well. The peels and kumquats were put into a pot of water and boiled for half an hour. I then took the grapefruit and oranges and segmented out the fruit, removing them from the membranes.

According to Food in Jars, there is no need for pectin if you boil the membranes and seeds in a cheesecloth along with the rest of the marmalade. That's why you see the cheesecloth above. But I found that I wasn't seeing enough thickening and after reading some of the reviews from the Allrecipes site, I decided to add pectin after all. It might have been thinner because I opted to lower the calories by adding stevia and Splenda blend. (I also was running low on sugar, to tell the truth.) Instead of six cups of sugar I did two of sugar, two of Splenda blend, and the equivalent of two of stevia (1 Tablespoon of stevia equals 1 cup of sugar!).

After I had cooked the marmalade I did opt to use a hand blender to blend it up a bit. It is still nice and chunky, but also nice and spreadable. And the sweetness worked out great as well. I'm very happy at my first foray into making a jam/marmalade and canning/jarring it.

Catherine's Citrus Marmalade

2 oranges
1 grapefruit
25 kumquats
6 cups of water
6 cups of sugar or the equivalents
2/3 box of Sure-jell pectin (the small pink box for less or no sugar)

Use a serrated peeler to peel the outermost layer off of the oranges and grapefruit. Take this peel and slice into small, matchstick size slices. Place the slices into a large pot. Slice and seed the kumquats. Slice them into rings or small slices to equal the other peel. Add them to the pot. Add the water and bring the pot to a low boil for 30 minutes to soften the peel.

Meanwhile, segment out the fruit of the oranges and grapefruit. Using a very sharp knife, cut of the top and bottom ends of the fruit. Now cut off the peel from top to bottom all around the fruit, enough so that you cut off the very outer layer of membrane. You should have a juicy fruit left in your hand. Very carefully cut down along the membrane of a fruit segment and repeat on the other side of the segment. Remove the segment from the membrane. To see how to segment citrus, you can watch a youtube video about it here.

The peels should be done boiling. Place a sieve colander over a large bowl and drain the peels but catch the water that it was boiled in. You will need four cups of this flavored water for the marmalade. Return the peel and the four cups of captured water back to your large pot. Add the fruit segments, sugar, and pectin and mix well. Put back onto the stove and bring to a boil. Using a thermometer, get the marmalade to 220 degrees for at least five minutes. Remove from heat and use a hand blender to puree to desired consistency. Immediately ladle into prepared jars and seal using proper sterilizing canning techniques.