Recipe and photos for Mexican Orange Marmalade made with organic sour oranges
There is nothing as sunny on the breakfast table as marmalade spread on toasted whole wheat bread. Jams with all kinds of fruit are popular in Mexico, but I never see orange marmalade in the stores, even though Mexico commercially grows oranges. Lucky for us, our neighbor grows organic sour oranges to use in marinades for meat. He let us pick some from his tree, but I was thinking about marmalade, not marinade. Because this orange is not common, many marmalade recipes call for regular oranges, but I found a recipe in Putting Food By, a book that has been in print since 1973, that called for Seville oranges. (If there is any type of food you want to preserve, from applesauce to zucchini pickles, this is the one book you need.)
The recipe calls for lemons, as well as oranges. I gave it a Mexican twist by using instead true Key limes, the common lime of Mexico.
Mexican Orange Marmalade Makes 5 – 6 1/2 pint (1/4 liter) jars
- 2 lbs. (1 kilo) Seville oranges, or other sour orange, or sweet oranges
- 5 key limes (small Mexican limes)
- 8 cups (2 liters) water, about
- 8 cups (4 lbs./1.8 kilos) sugar
Read the recipe through. Scrub oranges and limes well. Place in a large pot and add enough water to cover, about 8 cups. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil; simmer until a fork easily pierces the fruit, about one hour.
When tender, remove the fruit with a slotted spoon and allow to cool. Save the water. When cool enough to handle, halve the fruit from end to end, remove the seeds, and slice the orange and lime halves into very thin slices. Save the seeds.
Bring the water back to a boil and add the seeds. Boil for 10 minutes. This gives marmalade its characteristic bitter flavor.
Strain the liquid to remove the seeds. Do you remember the sieve I use to sift flour? This is the same multi-task sieve I use for liquids. Alton Brown rules!
Now add the sliced fruit back to the hot liquid. Heat to boiling and add sugar, stirring until it dissolves.
While the marmalade is bubbling, and you are stirring it occasionally, sterilize jars, lids, ladle and the tongs you will use to remove lids from the pan. Everything needs to be scrupulously clean when making jam.
Using a thermometer, bring the marmalade to 9 deg. F. above the temperature that water boils at your elevation. This instruction may sound complicated, but it is the most precise method to attain the correct temperature. For me, this is easy to determine because I live at sea level, where water boils at 212 deg. F. (100 deg. C. — trust the metric system to be easy to work with, as it is based on the decimal system). At sea level, my marmalade needs to reach 221 deg. F. (105 deg. C.) — 212 deg. plus 9 deg.. Here’s a temperature conversion chart if you need to convert from Farenhiet to centigrade. Skim off any foam that collects on the surface.
As soon as the temperature is correct, ladle into hot, sterilized jars. Wipe jar rims to clean any spills; place lids on and screw rings on tightly.
Place in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. (Check this site for time adjustment for high elevation.) If your marmalade will be used up fairly soon, you can skip this step and keep the marmalade in the fridge.
Use tongs to remove jars from pot and allow to cool at room temperature. You may hear a small pop as each jar cools and the air decompresses. You want to hear that, as it indicates the jar is sealed.