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Author Notes: I have several friends who love bitter marmalade, including my spouse. This recipe has met his approval because I used a local favorite rum that adds just a slight punch. The more orange peels used, the more bitter the marmalade. I like to use two thirds of the peels, which adds just enough bitterness to the marmalade without overpowering the sweetness. Use a rum of your choice - I used Mad River First Run Rum. —Bevi
Makes 5 to 6 half pints of marmalade
- 2.2 to 2.5 pounds Clementine oranges, medium sized
- 6 cups water
- 3 cups cane sugar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons rum - your choice
- seeds of one vanilla bean - save the pod
- Day 1. Peel the oranges. I find that I use 14 or 15 oranges to meet the weight of 2.5 pounds. Slice the peels of 10 of the oranges into very thin matchstick slices after removing as much of the inner white pith as possible (slice more or less peel to regulate the bitterness). Chop the fruit, and try to remove all the seeds. Place the matchstick peels and chopped orange into a large, nonreactive pot, or a jam pot. Pour in all 6 cups of water, cover, and let sit overnight.
- Day 2. Prepare your water bath and sterilize 6 half pint jars. In the meantime, uncover the oranges and peels, and simmer them on medium heat for about an hour, until most of the water is evaporated and absorbed.When you take a peel between your fingers and it pulverizes as you rub it between your fingers, this step is complete.
- Add the cane and turbinado sugars to the marmalade pot. From this point, the marmalade can take anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes to become the proper consistency. Turn heat up to high, and stir to dissolve the sugar. Allow the mixture to boil on high heat for about 6 minutes, and then turn the heat to medium. Stir the mixture, making sure it is always simmering. At this point, add the rum and the vanilla seed, as well as the vanilla pod.
- Keep stirring the mixture until it is shiny, and you can run a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pot and you see a clean "trail" of the pot. Again, the time it takes for the marmalade to reach this stage will vary. You will find that you will adjust the heat so the marmalade simmers, but not overly so.
- Remove the vanilla pod from the jam. Ladle into sterilized half pint jars, and process in a water bath for 12 minutes. When you remove the jars from the water bath, set them on a towel and wait for the PING sound that indicates the jars are sealed. Refrigerate any jars that do not PING.
- This marmalade is delicious on toast, in a grilled cheese sandwich, as a cocktail ingredient, and as a glaze (thinned with more rum!) for fruit tarts.