Every Chinese New Year, I'm up to my eyeballs in mandarin oranges. And I'm not talking number of fruits but number of boxes and crates of mandarin oranges given as gifts and from exchanging gifts. It's another one of the essential "must-haves" for Chinese New Year. And I have more than my tummy or fridge can contain. Can't leave them out too long ..... the weather here is perfect for if you wanna have a science experiment on fruit fungus.
So, before we overdose ourselves with mandarin oranges, I decided to make marmalade out of them. And you know what? I actually prefer them to the regular orange marmalade! There is a different kind of citrus taste that isn't as sharp and tangy, and the color .....oh my! ... Sunshine in a bottle!
This isn't as gel-like as store-bought jam as I did not use any additional pectin and just relied on the natural fruit carbohydrates in the lemon and oranges.
7 - 8 mandarin oranges (medium sized)
juice of 1 large lemon
3 cups coarse granulated sugar (Ratio of 1:1, pureed pulp to sugar)
2 cups water
Peel oranges. Cut peel into fine or coarse julienned strips ... your preference. The amount of peel also depends on whether you'd like more or less of it. I used about 2 cups of cut peel.
Place cut peel into a large pot and add the 2 cups of water. (If you're using more peel, add enough water to cover the contents of the pot)
Boil peel until soft, about 5 - 10 minutes. Measure out the liquid that's left (I had about 1 cup) and replace with the same amount of fresh water. (I do this to lessen the bitterness, You can always omit this step if you like your marmalade more bitter).
While the peel is boiling, pick out as much of the white pith and the stringy stuff ... ok, ok, proper word .... the membranes. And also remove the seeds.
Place fruit and lemon juice in a food processor and puree til an almost smooth consistency. Add this mixture together with peel and water into a large stainless steel pot and bring to a boil.
Add sugar. Stir often until consistency thickens (15 - 20 mins, or longer, depending on how juicy the fruits are) or until a candy thermometer reaches 220˚F (104˚C), that's the gelling stage.
Fill into sterilized jars and seal with their lids and allow the jars to sit in a hot water bath for 10 mins. Remove and let cool at room temperature until you hear the "pop" of the button on the lid or when you notice the button has gone down. That means it's sealed properly and those jars will keep on the shelves unrefrigerated for months. Those that don't seal properly can be kept in the fridge.
Good with loads of butter on bread/toast or as a marinade for a roast chicken. Wish I had some more of those English Muffins.