It’s that time of year again – the silly season, where homemade delicious gifts magically appear in my kitchen and then into the hands of family and friends. Well, they don’t magically appear, but I do like to whip up a batch of this or that to have on hand for little Chrissy gifts – baked treats like shortbread and biscotti, jams and sauces and relishes, homemade vanilla essence, salted caramel sauce (of course) and sticky, sweet, chunky blood orange marmalade. It’s a new addition this year!
Personally, I’m not a big marmalade fan, but this one could sway me. I’ve found that people are either lovers or haters, it’s the great marmalade divide. I do love blood oranges though, and vanilla, so thought I’d give this recipe a whirl and make a batch of little jars ready to gift for Christmas.
Blood Orange and Vanilla Marmalade
10 blood oranges
2 vanilla bean, split lengthways
3 teaspoons salt (I used Celtic salt)
Water to cover the 10 blood oranges
Caster sugar (depending on blood oranges weight)
Juice of 1 lemon
Give the blood oranges a good rinse to get any residue off them, as you will be including the peel in your marmalade they need to be fairly clean and the wax which commercial fruit can often have on them will give a bitter taste. Cut the blood oranges into 2cm wide slices, put in bowl with the salt, scraped vanilla and cover with water. Before you put it all in the bowl though, weigh your bowl, you’ll thank me later. Let stand overnight or for 8 hours.
Weigh the contents of the bowl – if you know the weight of your bowl then you will cut down at least some washing up! This critical step was my downfall, I had huge bowls everywhere. Then weigh out half the amount of sugar (my oranges and water mixture weighed 2kg, so I used 1kg of sugar – eep!) Put the oranges and water mixture in a large pot and bring to boil, stir in the sugar and let boil for about half an hour. It will get quite aggressive boiling so be careful! Stir occasionally and make sure the bottom doesn’t burn. After half an hour test the marmalade on the back of your spoon to see if it’s going to set. Some others like to put a bit on a cold plate, I’m not that precise in my jam/marmalade making! Marmalade in particular is generally good at setting, as you’ve included the skins/peel which have all the pectin in it, which creates the ‘set’.
Bring marmalade off the heat, stir in lemon juice and let cool slightly, then pour into clean jars.
My marmalade was quite chunky, I thought the skins might break down/shrink a bit more in the cooking stage. But I gifted some to a family friend who was brought up in a very British marmalade loving family and he said chunky is good! And the stronger the orange flavour the better. The vanilla definitely cuts through that overpowering orange though, giving some sweetness to the tang. The perfect breakfast with a crusty piece of toast and cup of tea. And the perfect little gift to give to those unexpected visitors this time of year, or teachers, or happy helpers that you’ve had throughout the year. I’ve got a few jars still sitting in the bottom of my pantry awaiting homes.
Do you make homemade Christmas gifts?
Like your marmalade chunky?
Still wondering if I’m going to share my salted caramel sauce recipe with you?! Me too, me too…
Original recipe from here.