A recent trip to Florida placed me on Interstate 95 where numerous citrus centers offered in-season Valencia oranges and Vidalia onions for purchase. With prices and supplies good, I bought several bags of each with plans to make marmalade. The oranges were juicy, thin-skinned and contained minimal seeds, making them ideal for my purpose. And, the onions, as anticipated, were sweet and packed with flavor. Besides the oranges and the onions, little else is needed to make marmalade, and most of us will have all the ingredients we need already in the house. Orange marmalade, for instance, consists of nothing more than fruit, water and sugar. You don't even need extra pectin (the substance that causes gel formation) for making orange marmalade, because there's plenty of natural pectin already in the peel. Marmalades are easy to prepare and are a key ingredient in many other recipes for marinades, glazes and sauces. If you are one of those people who think they don't like orange marmalade, I'll hope you'll try this recipe. Commercially prepared marmalades can be bitter and a ghastly off-color. They are expensive, too. An encounter with bad orange marmalade can seriously put a person off, but a good marmalade will transform a marmalade-hater into a marmalade-eater (and maker), for life.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at email@example.com
Valencia Oranges Marmalade
4 medium (or 3 large) Valencia oranges
1 large lemon
4 cups sugar
1 quart water
Wash fruit, then cut into quarters and remove seeds. Cut fruit again into chunks of equal size. Place fruit and 1/2 cup of water into the work bowl of a food processor and process until the fruit is chopped into small bite size pieces. Place fruit mixture and the remaining 3 1/2 cups of water into a large non-reactive saucepot. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook for 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat, cover, and allow to sit at room temperature for 24 hours. The next day, bring mixture to a boil, then lower heat and cook until the citrus is tender, about 1 hour. (Be sure to stir mixture occasionally to prevent scorching.) Once citrus is tender, add sugar, in 1/2 cup increments, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Turn heat up to medium and allow mixture to boil and thicken to the consistency of jam, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove pan from heat and cool slightly before pouring into sterilized jars. When marmalade reaches room temperature, close jars with lids and refrigerate for up to 2 months. Makes about 2 pints.
Orange Dipping Sauce or Glaze
3/4 cup homemade orange marmalade
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon coarse-grain mustard, more or less to taste
Tabasco Green Pepper Hot Sauce
Place marmalade, orange juice, lemon juice, honey and mustard ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer, on low, until mixture bubbles. Cook for 5 minutes, then remove from heat, adding hot sauce, as desired. If using sauce as a glaze, brush glaze on desired food during the last 10 minutes of cooking time. (Do not keep glaze that has been in contact with the juices of raw meats or fish.) Leftover glaze that has not been in contact with raw meats or fish may be stored covered in a sterilized jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Makes about 1 cup.
Vidalia Onion-Roasted Garlic Marmalade
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 medium (or 3 large) Vidalia (sweet) onions, peeled and sliced very thin
1/2 cup homemade orange marmelade
1/2 cup orange juice
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup dark balsamic vinegar
2 roasted garlic cloves, mashed to a paste (recipe follows)
Salt and fresh ground pepper
Heat the oil and butter in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat, then add onions. Stirring occasionally, cook onions, covered, until they soften and become translucent, 20 to 25 minutes. Stirring constantly, add, marmalade, orange juice, sugar and vinegar. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture becomes bubbly, stirring frequently. Lower heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until mixture becomes as syrupy and thick as honey, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. At this point, add 2 mashed roasted garlic cloves to the onion mixture and cook 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool slightly before spooning into sterilized jars. When mixture reaches cool room temperature close jars with lids and refrigerate for up to 1 month. Makes about 1 pint.
Roasted Fresh Garlic
Whole heads of fresh garlic (in any quantity desired)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove loose paper-like skin from around garlic heads. Slice off tops of garlic, just enough to expose the garlic cloves. Place heads, in a single layer, in a small baking pan. Drizzle heads with olive oil, allowing oil to seep down between the individual cloves of garlic. (Garlic heads should be well coated with oil, but not overly saturated.) Cover baking pan with aluminum foil and roast for 40 to 45 minutes, or until garlic becomes caramelized and feels soft when pressed. Allow roasted garlic to cool enough to handle, then squeeze garlic from their skins. Once all the garlic is removed from the skin, mash with the flat end of a knife, or fork. Store roasted garlic in a tightly covered container, in the refrigerator, for up to two weeks. Freeze roasted garlic paste, for up to 3 months, in small portions, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap; place packets into a heavy-duty freezer bag. Thaw before using, or drop frozen directly into soups and stews. Kitchen Ade Note: Each garlic head holds approximately 10 cloves of garlic. Roasted, each garlic head will yield about one 1 tablespoon of garlic pure.