Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Seville Orange, Jaggery, Vanilla Marmalade

Seville Orange, Jaggery and Vanilla Marmalade

Seville oranges are in the grocery stores right now.  Race out to get some, then come back and follow this recipe for the most delectable marmalade you’ve ever tasted.

I started out to make my other Seville Orange Marmalade, Orange Blossom Blessed, but if you read this blog once in a while, you’ve gathered I’m not that good at following directions, not even my own.  I impulsively change ingredients, always based on a little nudge, likely from my cooking ancestors peering down at me from heaven.

Seville Oranges
Sevilles are more bumpy than other oranges.
Unlike the last time I made Seville marmalade, I purchased 18 oranges this time around.  In fact, only 12 would fit in the pot, and these made eleven 250 mls jars of marmalade. 

This is a labour of love, so if you want marmalade with no effort, sorry, it won’t be on my recommendation.  I started this at eight last night, left it to sit on the stove by ten, restarted at seven thirty this morning, and by ten this morning I was finally ladling it into jars.  But oh, it’s so worth it!

12 Seville oranges
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
14 cups cold water

5 cups jaggery powder (shakkar, gur, or brown sugar if you must)
4 cups white sugar
1 vanilla bean  

Start by scrubbing the oranges.  Be sure to remove the labels and any glue still clinging.  Although the oranges will be well sterilized with all the boiling, other residues should be carefully removed. 
One at a time, halve then quarter then eighth and perhaps even sixteenth each orange.  The thinner the segments, the easier it is to remove the seeds.  Set them in their own clean bowl, as they’ll be needed later.  Seville oranges have huge seeds, and gazillions of them.  Frankly, they reminded me of old men’s teeth.  The Seville orange isn’t pretty, nor is it good for eating out of hand.  Little flesh, almost no juice, and sour.  But cook it with other ingredients, and once you’ve tasted its complex and floral flavours, you’ll understand why it’s so precious. 

Seeded and sliced but not yet slivered Seville Oranges
One orange seeded and sliced

De-seeding and cutting then finely slicing the oranges into thin slivers takes about eight minutes per orange, so put on some nice music.  I washed my hands frequently as the acidity of the oranges was a bit irritating.  If I had surgical gloves, I would have worn them.  I made sure to use freshly sharpened knives so the process would go as quickly as possible.

Once the oranges are all slivered up, put in a very large heavy bottomed pot and add the cold water and salt.  Put the seeds into a carefully tied cheesecloth, and add to the pot.  Turn heat onto high to bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a moderate boil and continue to cook for another hour.  Stir from time to time.  Turn off heat, cover and let sit over night.

Add the sugars and vanilla bean, stir and turn on heat to high again.  When boiling furiously, reduce heat to a moderate boil and let cook.  Stir from time to time to ensure sugars aren’t burning at the bottom of the pot.  After about an hour, remove the vanilla bean to a clean plate, and run a knife down its length.  Scrape out the seedy goo, and put all back into the marmalade mix.  The goo will eventually disperse and you can pluck out the bean later, when you’re ladling this stuff into jars.  (I kept my old de-seeded bean, and let it dry to toss into more white sugar, for a vanilla and orange scented sugar.) 
Sliver as finely as you like
I like small slivers, but had to settle for some larger bits.

The marmalade mix will be very watery for a long time.  As it starts to thicken, watch it carefully.  A rule of thumb is to keep dripping tiny amounts of it onto a chilled plate.  Once it thickens to the point of making little ridges, when pushed with a finger, it’s considered done.  I read this advice, and I gave it in past recipes.  I’ve since decided the marmalade is too stiff when you follow that advice.  Please ignore my previous advice about when marmalade is set.

The seeds are full of pectin, and the marmalade will thicken because of that.  Press down on the bag of seeds from time to time to squeeze it a bit.  
I decided to use the taste test for thickness.

French toast with Seville Marmalade
This thick and syrupy worked very well!

Once it seemed quite syrupy and thick, I ladled it over a simple, unflavoured French toast. Voila. Perfect.

Be sure to use clean, sterilized canning jars and lids.  Ladle marmalade while still hot and jars are freshly sterilized.  Seal and set aside.

Tighten each lid after marmalade has cooled.  I will be storing these in the fridge, as I’m fearful of a population. 

However, the sugar keeps bacteria away as it replaces moisture molecules, thus keeping a clean mix.  Never skimp on the sugar with the idea you’re making a more healthy marmalade.  If you truly want less sugar, I’m afraid you’ll have to eat less marmalade, which won’t be easy…

Sunny Seville Orange Marmalade
Canned Sunshine!

Marmalade Papillon supervising making Seville Orange Marmalade
This made eleven jars with one Marmalade coloured Papillon hoping for a taste..

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