It’s a “Citrus Celebration” at Walmart! This time of year it might be bitter and cold here in Upstate New York, but it’s citrus harvest time in the steamy south. And you can tell when you hit the stores. There is fresh citrus EVERYWHERE:
Now I love oranges, grapefruits and clementines as much as the next gal–but I’ve never really paid attention to all the other cool and slightly more unusual citrus available at Walmart. Moro Oranges, Plummelos, Minneaola Tangelos, Navel Oranges, Cara Cara Navel Oranges, Clementines, Grapefruits, Blood Oranges, Persian Limes, and Meyers Lemons. Wow.
We were asked to make a recipe using at least two of the various kinds of citrus available. I was very curious about the Blood Oranges so I grabbed a bag to play with and some Meyers Lemons.
The kids ate all my Blood Oranges. Seriously. They loved them. I didn’t get a chance to cook anything and had to head back into town to buy some more. This time I hid the Blood Oranges in the basement fridge to make sure I had some for my recipe!
The reason Blood Oranges have the name they do is because as they ripen the interior pulp turns a deep crimson red. That red shows the presence of all sorts of good for you antioxidants! So it’s a healthy red The flavor is a bit different-and extra bit of sweet and tart to it. Some of the sources I read said that they tasted of raspberry–probably not the description I would have used, but there is definitely a different, and delicious, taste to them!
For my recipe I chose to redo the Orange-Lemon Marmalade that is in my Ball Blue Book into a Blood Orange Marmalade. I’ll be honest here-I’m not a huge marmalade fan. I just tried it because I really enjoy canning and I figured it was a fun project.
The completed marmalade was beautiful, but the taste was a bit bitter for me, even after removing the pith from the Blood Orange rinds. But I think all marmalade is bitter-so I had hubs take a jar into the office along with some graham crackers. He put it in the break room with a sign and folks tried it and left their comments. It’s always great to have a real world focus group. Some responses: “Tasty”, “I’m not a fan of marmalade-too textured, a little bitter”, “Marmalade was delicious, +10!” , “The marmalade was tasty but I found it a little bitter”. . .
The general impression I got was if you enjoy marmalade then this recipe was tasty. If you aren’t a fan to begin with this probably isn’t going to win you over. Maybe I’ll try making Blood Orange Jam with the leftover Blood Orange segments (if the kids don’t eat them all-maybe I better go hide those back downstairs again!)
A special note on this recipe. After the first brief cooking, there is a 12-18 hour rest period. I didn’t read the recipe carefully the first time-I had planned on finishing it the same afternoon I started it and instead had to continue work in the morning. I believe the rest period is to let the natural pectin leech out of the fruit into the water so that it will gel.
- 3 C Thinly Slice Blood Orange Peel (pith removed)
- 3 1/2 C chopped Blood Orange Pulp
- 3 1/2 C chopped Meyers Lemon
- 6 C Water
- Sugar (based on finished pulp-between 5-10 C)
- -Soak your citrus for a few minutes in warm water with a bit of vinegar added, then scrub well under running water. You will be cooking with the rinds, so you want to remove any chemicals or debris that might be on the rind.
- -Peel your Blood Oranges. It is easiest to cut a thin slice off the top and bottom of each orange and then gently cut through the rind creating 1/4" segments all the way around, then peeling it off in segments.
- -Lay the segments down one by one and using a sharp knife carefully cut off the pith. The blade should be level with the counter and you will use a slight sawing motion. Cutting off the pith reduces the bitterness of the finished marmalade (although there is still plenty of bite).
- -Stack several segments of rind on top of each other and slice into very thin matchsticks. Continue until you have 3 C of thinly sliced rind.
- -Take your Blood Orange pulp segments and gently pull off as much of the white pith as possible. Chop the pulp until you have 3 1/2 C.
- -Slice your Meyers Lemons into segments, deseeding as you go. Cut the segments (rind & pulp together) into very thin slices.
- -Place all of your pulp and rind into a large stock pot and add the water.
- -Bring to a simmer, cook 5 minutes and then set aside in a cool place for 12-18 hours.
- -Put the mixture back on the stove and bring to a boil. Cook for 30-45 minutes, until rind is tender. Now it's time to measure your pulp/rind/water mixture. Find a pot or bowl large enough to hold all of it. Careful transfer your hot mixture into that bowl. Using a measuring cup, measure the liquid/pulp back into the pot. Add 1 C of sugar for each cup of liquid/pulp. Stir well.
- -Return the mix to your burner and slowly bring to a boil. Stir frequently. Cook until you reach the gelling point. The University of Missouri has a nice article on how to judge if you've reached gel point .
- -Ladle into hot sterilized jars leaving 1/4" headspace. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Check the Hot Water Bath Canning Tutorial for more information.
- -Cool overnight in a draft free area. Check your seals, label and store!