That was the special at Sobey's in Summerside! I absolutely love preserving and thought, what can I do with oranges? Then it hit me - MARMALADE! So 30 oranges and $3 later, I set out to make something new.
I have read a lot and tried a lot when it comes to preserving. One thing I try to avoid is access sugar. I find there is way too much added sugar, especially in jams and chutneys. Fruit already has a high amount of its own naturally occurring sugars. I know Sugar can help extend the shelf life and preserve the colour of the food, but you don't need as much as you think. The most important thing is the overall acidity level.
I knew to make this marmalade a success, I would need at least 5% of the overall mixture to contain an acidic component to make the product safe. I thought I would get creative and add some infused vinegars to my marmalade. I took a trip to the Liquid Gold store on Queen Street in Charlottetown. There, you can sample all of their oils and vinegars. I decided on Sicilian Lemon (white balsamic), Honey Ginger (white balsamic) and Cinnamon and Pear (dark balsamic).
As you'll see in the recipe, I didn't use any pectin. There is so much natural pectin in oranges especially in the peels and I like to keep my food as close to natural as possible. Plus, for some pectins to work, they require the jam/jelly to be at least 55% to 85% sugar! If you like the more jelly consistency, you can find some no-sugar added pectin.
4700g Sliced Oranges (I sliced the whole orange on the mandoline 1/8 inch thick)
3/4 cup Water
1200g White Sugar (I usually use an unrefined sugar, but I didn't want to change the colour of the product)
3 200ml Bottles of infused vinegar
1 table spoon Garam Masala
Add the oranges and water to a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 45 minutes or until the fruit is soft. While you're cooking the oranges, in 3 separate pots add the vinegar and bring to a boil. Simmer until the vinegar reduces to about half. The vinegar should become thicker with a more gel-like consistency. Note, the vinegar will thicken even more as it cools.
Once the oranges are soft, add the sugar to dissolve. With a hand held blender, process until the oranges are in smaller chunks. Taste the mixture. If you feel it needs more sugar add it here. I personally like the bitterness of the orange peel, but it may not be everyone's taste.
Use a scale to equally distribute the oranges into 3 batches. Add each batch to its own infused vinegar and stir. For the Cinnamon and Pear mixture I added a tablespoon of Garam Masala that was heated briefly on the stove to bring out the aroma of the spices.
Sterilize your jars and lids (this recipe made fourteen 250ml and twelve 125ml jars). Add the mixture to the jars (for the Honey Ginger mixture I topped each jar with a star anise) then seal and process in a water bath for 10 minutes.
After letting the jars cool, test the lids to make sure none are popping up. If any do, transfer to the fridge and eat within 10 days.
Think outside the toast and use you imagination when it comes to this versatile preserve. I think the Honey Ginger marmalade will be great as a marinade for chicken. The Cinnamon Pear marmalade surprised me. I really experimented with this one, and it turned out to be my favourite. I can't wait to use it as a topping for French toast or poached pears.
Director of Teacher Training for the Maritime Yoga College and Registered Holistic Nutritionist.