- Start to Finish: 50 minutes
- Servings: 3 cups
- Difficulty Level: Novice to intermediate
Both tangy and sweet, orange marmalade’s history traces back hundreds of years when it often was presented as gifts to England’s aristocracy. While it’s no longer valued for its purported medicinal or aphrodisiac powers, marmalade’s popularity at the breakfast table has never waned. Those who must monitor their sugar intakes can make this delicious treat at home with just a few ingredients and avoid sugar altogether.
- 4 large ripe navel oranges
- 1 small lemon
- 4 tablespoons sugar substitute
- 2 cups water
- 1 ounce unflavored clear gelatin
- 1/4 cup water
Some sugar substitutes, such as stevia, are sweeter than others. Start by adding half the recipe amount then taste for the desired sweetness level. The sweetness of the oranges make a difference as well.
Cut the oranges in quarters and scoop out the pulp. Scrape out the white stuff inside the rind and discard it. Remove as much of the membrane between the orange segments as you can without making yourself crazy. Pick out the seeds and place them in a small piece of cheesecloth or a muslin bag. Do the same with the lemon but discard the lemon seeds.
Using a very sharp paring knife, cut the orange slices into very thin matchstick pieces about 2 inches long. Anything longer than that causes a tangle in the pot. Shred or slice the lemon peel into even smaller bits.
Roughly chop the orange and lemon flesh and throw it in a medium pot with 2 1/2 cups water. Bring the water to a rapid boil. Lower the heat, then add the bag of orange seeds and boil it gently for 30 minutes or until everything is tender. Remove the seed bag.
Dissolve the gelatin in 1/4 cup warm water. Add the gelatin and sweetener to the orange mixture and stir thoroughly, tasting for sweetness as you go. Be careful not to burn your tongue on the hot liquid.
Spoon the mixture into three sterilized 1/2-pint jars. Seal and refrigerate.
Chia seeds — yes, like the ones sold on TV — work well as substitute for gelatin. Just add a couple of tablespoons after removing the marmalade from the heat. The seeds give off a gelatinous thickener of their own and do not impart a discernible flavor. The down side is that it kind of looks like you have ants in your jam, so be sure to advise your guests otherwise.
Liquid pectin can be used, but it contains sorbitol, which may be disallowed by your dietary restrictions.
If you don’t mind the additional flavor, add some sweet apple to the orange — it releases natural pectin.
Some cooks like to prep the seed bag and orange pulp and let them sit covered in the fridge for a couple of nights before making the jam.