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january is on the move

Recipe: blood orange marmalade

Jeremy often comments on the amount of daylight we get in December – or rather the lack of daylight. Every evening when the low sun slipped behind the mountains, he noted the time with an Eeyore-esque sadness in his voice. The only reason I had any awareness of the short days was because I received this daily reminder from Jeremy. It doesn’t get to me. But I will say that January offers something refreshing. It’s not just that we’re on an upswing from the daytime minimum, but it feels like the world is in motion again. These days, the world is moving a little faster… on skate skis. I think of skate skiing as the third in our triumvirate of free-heel skiing (telemark and classic nordic being the other two) and the winter sibling of trail running. It’s probably the most challenging skiing technique I’ve learned to date. Twila warned me of this when I inquired about it over the summer, so I didn’t have unrealistic expectations going into skating.

a morning of skate practice

beautiful sunlit fog

While I’m spending a good bit of time clambering up that (steep) learning curve for skate skiing, it’s important to mix it up with some turns on the mountain or a ski tour into the high country. Getting outside every day obliterates that disconnect that so many feel in winter from being holed up indoors. And with each snowstorm or bout of sunny weather, I have this intimate feel for January in the mountains. It’s lovely and invigorating. There are no winter blues over here.

it’s extra nice when i get puppy time

jeremy, erin, and banjo under falling snow

banjo wants us to go!!!

Another thing I look forward to in January is the arrival of blood oranges. Citrus is delightful in winter – but blood oranges are just so beautiful and fun. In my opinion, they don’t really have a superior flavor to other varieties like satsuma mandarins or Cara Cara, but they make beautiful gifts. I’ve been waiting months to get my hands on some blood oranges so I could make marmalade. Sure, I could have used other oranges earlier in the season, but blood oranges have that lovely reddish jewel hue that is hard to resist.

gorgeous color – amiright?

blood oranges, sugar, and powdered pectin (optional)

give the oranges a little soapy scrub a dub dub

There were a number of recipes that treated the fruit differently. Some kept the pith in the marmalade while others didn’t. I opted for a recipe which minimized the amount of pith. You can zest the oranges with a vegetable peeler, or do like I did and use a sharp knife. A little of the white pith won’t hurt your marmalade. Cut the zest into thin strips and then boil it for a half hour or so to make the zest tender. Just remember to reserve that zest water because you’ll need most (or all) of it for the marmalade.

zest the fruit

cut the zest into thin strips

boil the zest in water

While the zest is taking a hot bath, start to supreme the oranges you just zested. You’ll need to cut the pith away down to the fruit and then cut the fruity segments out from between the orange membrane. Do all of this over a wide bowl so that any juicy drips will be caught along with the fruit. When you’ve completely supremed an orange, squeeze the remnants of any excess juice from the skeleton before discarding (or composting) it.

cut away the pith

supreme the orange

sugar, tender zest strips, powdered pectin, orange segments (and juice), 6 cups zest water

So, you don’t have to use pectin if you don’t want to, but it’s included if you want a firmer marmalade. It’s the first time I ever used a powdered pectin and this one (Pomona’s Universal Pectin) must be activated by a calcium solution. Follow the instructions in the packet and everything will work just fine. Regardless of the powdered pectin you use, it needs to be mixed into the sugar before you add it to the fruit. If using Pomona’s Universal Pectin, add the calcium solution (in this case, 1.5 teaspoons) with the rest of the liquids.

whisk the powdered pectin into the sugar

add the zest liquid to the fruit, juice, zest, and sugar-pectin

stir it all together

boil for 30-40 minutes until it reaches temperature for a full minute

A candy thermometer is a handy tool to have around. I recommend using it. It isn’t essential, but it removes a lot of guesswork from the process. When the marmalade heats up to boil the temperature will rise quickly and then plateau at a few degrees below your target temperature for about a half hour (you should be stirring periodically the whole time). This is when a lot of the water is being boiled off. For sea-level or thereabouts, the target temperature is 220°F. If you live at altitude, the general formula is to reduce the temperature by 2° for every 1000 feet above sea level. For me, this means my target temperature is 203°F. When the mercury finally reaches your target temperature, let the marmalade continue to boil for a solid minute. Test the marmalade by placing a small spoonful on a chilled plate. When it cools, it should be the consistency you expect of marmalade rather than syrupy. If it’s syrupy, let the marmalade boil another 5 minutes and test again. When the marmalade is done, you may choose to can it or refrigerate it in an airtight jar without canning.

blood orange marmalade


I found this marmalade to be smoother and less sweet than typical jars of marmalade from stores. It lacks that sharp bite you get with some varieties which turns folks like Jeremy off. He actually liked this one, as did I. I kept one large jar for ourselves and divvied the rest into smaller jars to give to friends. So if you want to make blood orange marmalade, now is the right time to go and get some blood oranges!

great on buttered toast

Blood Orange Marmalade
[print recipe]
from Food In Jars by Marisa McClellan

3 1/2 lbs. (1.6 kg) blood oranges (about 10-12)
6 cups (1.2 kg) sugar
2 tsps powdered pectin, optional (if using Pomona’s Universal Pectin, add 1.5 tsps of the calcium solution per product instructions)

Wash the oranges in soapy warm water, rinse and dry completely. You can either cut the zest in strips from the oranges with a sharp knife (trying to avoid the white pith as much as possible) or use a vegetable peeler to peel the zest from the oranges. Slice the zest into thin strips. Place the zest strips in a medium to large saucepan with 2 quarts of water over high heat. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-high and let the zest simmer for 25-30 minutes until the ribbons are tender. Drain the zest, reserving the liquid. Set both aside. Supreme the oranges by cutting the white pith from the fruit and then segmenting the fruit by cutting each section away from the orange membrane. Do the segmenting over a large bowl to catch all of the orange pieces and juices. If you are using powdered pectin, whisk it into the sugar now before adding to the fruit.

In a large stockpot, combine the zest, fruit juices, 6 cups of zest cooking liquid, and the sugar (with the pectin mixed in, if using). If you are using Pomona’s Universal Pectin, add the calcium solution to the pot now. Attach a candy thermometer to the pot to monitor the marmalade’s progress. Stir everything together over high heat and let it come to a boil. Stir frequently to prevent burning and allow the marmalade to boil vigorously until it reaches 220°F (or 203°F at 8500 feet). This should take about 30-40 minutes. It took me 40 minutes. The marmalade will climb in temperature very quickly and then sit just below your target temperature by a degree or two for quite some time. Once the marmalade reaches the target temperature, let it remain boiling at that temperature for a minute. Remove the marmalade from the heat and spoon a little onto a chilled clean plate. If it sets up when cooled, it is ready. If it is still runny, cook the marmalade for another 5 minutes. Stir to distribute the zest.

To can the marmalade, please refer to the canning instructions described in the strawberry vanilla jam recipe. If you don’t want to can the marmalade, you can store it in the refrigerator in a sealed jar for up to a year. Makes 8 cups.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

blood orange curd roasted beet, chèvre, hazelnut salad with blood oranges orange creamsicle frozen yogurt two ways orange pound cake

14 nibbles at “january is on the move”

  1. Mary Ann says:

    This looks amazing! I just bought a bag of blood oranges, may need to give it a whirl!

  2. Susanne says:


  3. Wendi Spraker says:

    Just lovely! So comfy and delish, I’m sure. thanks for sharing!

  4. Judy says:

    I’ll definitely give this recipe a try. I have a tree full of blood oranges just outside the backdoor!

  5. Twila says:

    So glad you are going for it on skating. The hard work will pay off. You’re going to have lots of skis to bring along when you visit sometime in Big Sky ;). Hope to see you soon!

  6. Renda says:

    How much does this make and can the recipe be doubled?

  7. Bette says:

    Totally off-topic, but are those little puppy socks? Nonslip booties? Something else? Adorable!

    PS. Marmalade looks great. ;-)

  8. farmerpam says:

    Such a lovely color.

  9. jenyu says:

    Mary Ann – perfect timing!

    Susanne – thank you :)

    Wendi – you’re welcome.

    Judy – ugggggh, I am envious of your tree!!! :)

    Twila – I hope so. Otherwise this doesn’t even count as fun #2 ;)

    Renda – The recipe states “Makes 8 cups.” And you probably shouldn’t double the recipe because jams and marmalades and such can be quite finicky. If you double it, it might take FOREVER (or NEVER) for it to reach the jelled state due to excess water content.

    Bette – oh, those are dog booties for the snow because Banjo’s paws are furry. The snow will ball up and turn to ice under his paws which can be quite painful (so the boots solve that problem).

    farmerpam – right? I love it!

  10. Christine says:

    Banjo is a ridiculously photogenic pup. (And the booties! The cute, it burns!)

    This recipe, like all of your recipes, looks amazing. Must buy pectin!

  11. Rocky Mountain Woman says:

    Beautiful! I know it probably tastes wonderful, but I’d just love looking at it in my pantry.

  12. Links: Marmalade, Soups, and a Winner - Food in Jars says:

    […] blood orange marmalade on Use Real […]

  13. Shiru says:

    This looks so wonderful! The colour of the marmalade is absolutely gorgeous. I wish the winter citrus season were just a tiny bit longer. Though I myself have recently made a good few kilogrammes of marmalade, so I shouldn’t complain! Also, I have to say, those are some great pith-removing and orange-supreming skills! I always end up with a very juicy, sticky countertop after…

  14. RHENA says:

    The date is 29th March 2019…a long time since that last comment. Am going to try the recipe – it looks great!

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