What’s your favorite lazy morning breakfast?
Often in this house, it’s a thick slice of sourdough, toasted crisp on the edges, buttered, and topped with a dollop of orange marmalade. With a steaming mug of coffee and the morning paper, a breakfast like this can be the best escape of the day.
This orange marmalade recipe is chunky with the mildly bitter pith balanced with just enough sugar but not too much. The bonus is the addition of a tablespoon of orange liqueur per jar. The alcohol sizzles and quickly evaporates when the hot marmalade meets the liqueur – the mellow result is a richer orange flavor.
Here’s some tips to help ensure the best marmalade: find the brightest citrus for the best color. Since the entire fruit is cooked (skin, pith, pulp), organic citrus is recommended (trusted backyard citrus are good candidates). Navel oranges are preferred because of their firmer texture; juicy Valencias are a good substitute (results in less pulp). The recipe uses a lemon, either Meyer or Eureka, to provide flavor contrast. Use Meyer if the oranges are not particularly sweet, and Eureka if they are.
Recipe: Grand Marnier Orange Marmalade
Summary: use fruit with bright peels for a colorful marmalade. No adjustments necessary if making with or without the orange liqueur.
- 2 1/2 pounds navel oranges
- 1 lemon, Meyer or Eureka
- 6 cups granulated sugar
- 6 cups water
- 7-8 tablespoons Grand Marnier or orange flavored liquor (optional)
- Prepare fruit: scrub citrus well and dry. Cut off both ends of the fruit, then cut the fruit in half at the equator. Using a mandoline or by hand, thinly slice fruit into 1/8 inch slices. Remove seeds if any. Stack the slices and cut in slices to end up with quarter slices. Place the sliced oranges into a preserving pan. Add 6 cups of water.
- Cook citrus: bring the cut citrus to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a rapid boil and boil until citrus peel is very soft, about 30-40 minutes (taste test). Stir frequently to prevent bottom sticking and promote even cooking.
- Sterilize jars: while citrus is cooking, start the processes for sterilizing jars and soften jar lids according to manufacturer’s directions or see this post in Food In Jars for processing jars and lids using a safe canning process. Place two saucers or small plates in the freezer.
- Add sugar: after citrus peels are soft (taste; mixture will have thickened), remove pan from heat and add the 6 cups of sugar to the citrus. Mix together well and return pan to heat. Bring mixture to a boil and adjust heat so that the mixture maintains a rapid boil without boiling over. Cook for about 20 minutes – mixture darkens and thickens; stir frequently.
- Test: test periodically for doneness by doing the gel test: place a teaspoon of marmalade on one of the frozen plates and return plate to freezer for 45 seconds. Remove plate from freezer and run a finger through the middle of the marmalade dollop. If the marmalade stays separated, the marmalade is ready. If the marmalade runs back together, continue to cook for 3-4 minutes, and retest. Keep retesting as necessary.
- Fill jars and process in water bath: before ladling marmalade into jars, add 1 tablespoon of Grand Marnier into the bottom of the sterilized jars. The liqueur will sizzle as the jam hits it; the alcohol evaporates leaving an intensified orange flavor. Clean rims, seal with lids and rings. Process the filled jars in a water bath for 10 minutes; refer to link above for directions. Remove on to a wire rack to cool without disturbing for 24 hours. Check seals, label, and store in a cool, dry place for up to a year. Freshly cooked marmalade gets better after a couple days of melding.