Wednesday, February 5, 2014

That one time I tried making orange jam.

I have wanted to make some sort of food and put it in a jar for the longest time! When we moved into this house a couple of years ago and lucked into a mature blood orange tree, I knew that someday I would try my hand at orange marmalade. Or preserves or jam or jelly. Whatevs. I just wanted to CAN something.
I searched online and read a whole bunch of different recipes for orange marmalade. I knew I probably needed pectin or gelatin, but so many recipes discouraged it. Or, they said to make my own pectin with pear peels and other natural junk but, oh man. That just sounded like way more work than I had already agreed to take on!

I knew I didn't want to use any part of the orange peel and/or pith from this fruit. These blood oranges have some crazy-venom-something-or-other in the pith that makes your lips and tongue tingle for a while after coming in contact with it. Weird.

Check it out - I used my mom's bowls. :o)

So I cut supremes to remove all the pith and peel and membranes. I started with 35 oranges and made my way through 20 before I had had enough. Sheesh that was time consuming!!!

This stuff smelled amazing as soon as it started heating up! I followed a recipe that just called for boiling this mixture for 30 minutes until the sugar thickened it up like candy - no pectin or gelatin added. Hm. Didn't quite work out the way I'd hoped...

And the end result, without pectin or gelatin, was a blood orange glaze rather than a spreadable jam, but that's ok. This stuff tastes AMAZING! We plan to pour it over some vanilla ice cream, and I also want to use some in the crockpot to cook chicken breasts. I'm thinking a sweet and spicy type of dish over some steamed rice... Oh yeah, that is happening soon!



I could easily go down the road of being irritated about all the time I spent in the kitchen last weekend, slaving over blood orange supremes and jars in boiling water only to have my first attempt at canning be a bit of a flop. But the truth is that I'm still super {embarrassingly} proud of myself for putting some sort of food in jars. My lids all sealed up like they were supposed to, and these jars of orange glaze should be good in our pantry for up to a year.

At any rate, the process of canning food is no longer
a mystery to me and I'm ready to try it again!
How about you? Have you made jam before?
Did you use pectin or gelatin in yours?
Enlighten me...

17 comments:

helena said...

they look fabulous, I always feel so content when I turn produce, especially from the garden, into something in a jar for later. I make berry jan without adding pectin - the fruit has enough. mostly I make chutney with any fruit I have - although I think oranges would be too wet - you would have to mix them with something like apple or pumpkin to provide bulk.

Susi said...

Sounds wonderful over vanilla ice cream. My husband keeps warning me that its time consuming but canning is on my list of things to do. My sister and I plan to make Salsa with tomatoes from her garden this year.

debs14 said...

I have made lots of strawberry jam over the years. And it tastes so much better than shop bought jars! Some fruit needs pectin and some doesn't. But I can't remember what the rule is for marmalade! I think you can get preserving sugar that has it added but don't quote me!

Ruth said...

Your jars look lovely! I've made jam before, but I cheated and cooked it in the bread maker.

Karen said...

It sounds delicious even if it wasn't what you planned.

Beverly said...

Beautiful and the chicken possibility sounds extra yummy. I canned tomatoes when I lived on the farm. Quart jars and half didn't properly seal :( I was on the phone with the Ag extension agent lamenting the failure and she was so sweet reassuring me, etc. When she said next time, I said "oh no ma'am, tomatoes are cheap at the grocery store!!" I do think I'll try it again now that 25 years have passed.

Becky said...

I've made jam quite a few times and I always use pectin. Your jam looks lovely - well done!

Audrey said...

Wow, good for you, Deb! I have not canned because I find it intimidating. Being vegetarian I could only do recipes with pectin. I have made icebox pickles though....and, whew, are they good! And I have freezed fresh peaches from our tree. Like you, canning is on my to-do-list and has been for a long time! Good for you to cross it off yours! XOXO

Maria Ontiveros said...

We love making jam. Ollalliberry is our favorite, although we make apricot and peach as well. We prefer the types with little fruit prep. Paul now uses low sugar pectin to jam, and it works great.
Rinda

Karen said...

I love canning, but didn't do any last year since our garden was such a disappointment. I went the freezer route instead. The orange marmalade with Asian food should be fantastic! I used to make a strawberry jam that didn't require pectin. I think those recipes are quick a bit trickier.

Alison said...

You will be not be surprised to hear that I have NEVER made jams or preserves...I LOVE your comment about 'using pear skins or other natural junk' !!
Alison xx

Amy said...

I'm more of a relish/chutney person but have made jam a couple of times - went for a berry variety as apparently they have a high natural pectin content and don't always require extra.

Margaret said...

I tried making jam once. It was one of the most stressful events of my life. It is hard

Sian said...

It looks lovely, all lined up there! Quite often I make what we call freezer jam here, which doesn't need pectin. And I have bought kits to make marmalade rather than try to gather the stuff together myself. You have put me in the mood for another go at some now

Miriam said...

It all looks so lovely Deb. I have made strawberry jam in the summer but not marmalade, my mother-in-law has that down to a fine art.

alexa said...

The jars look beautiful! Very satisfying to have made something oneself :). We always put a lemon in, though whether that's for setting purposes or just for flavour, I have never been quite sure :). Seville oranges (what we use for marmalade) are just appearing in the shops here so I may be doing the same this weekend ...

Fiona@Staring at the Sea said...

Those jars look lovely all in a row, even if the contents didn't turn out how you thought they would. I've never made fruit jam...yet...but have made sweet chilli jam many times, which is a lovely relish for cold meat and in chicken fillet burgers.
PS I don't boil up my jars to sterilise them. I just put a little water in them and heat in the microwave.

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