Why marmalade? Marmalade captures the bittersweet tangy brilliance that is citrus and preserve it for later in the year – like summer. I think that one of the only redeeming parts of winter is citrus fruit. I hate the cold and I live in Minnesota, so this is for reals. There is nothing better than marmalade on a biscuit, brushed across a BBQed chicken thigh, tossed into a stir fry or dropped into the bottom of a champaign glass topped with bubbles. Seriously, why aren’t you making this RIGHT NOW??
This recipe is based on a version by my preserving hero, Cathy Barrow, of the blog mrswheelbarrow.com. Cathy is a well-know marmalade skeptic, but she finally cracked the code with this recipe. What I changed is primarily in the preparation. And my laziness.
Marmalade takes some work, I’m not going to lie. The reason I call this a lazy marmalade is that I made it in steps with lots of time in between (like days and weeks). This approach lets me squeeze in a batch of marmalade between work, school, band, circus, friends and other hectic life schedules. Ironically, the marmalade benefits from long soaks, which extracts more pectin from the citrus. Yeah for me!
I don’t love lots of pith in my marmalade, so I take the zest off with a vegetable peeler, then julienne it into think strips. But you need the pith for it’s pectin, so after juicing the fruit, the pith gets chopped and mixed with water, is left to soak for at least 8 hours and is then simmered for an hour. The liquid is strained off and added to the zest and juice before adding the sugar.
A note on citrus – I prefer in-season winter citrus that’s organic, or unsprayed local, (but I live in Minnesota, so no luck there for me). You’re using the whole fruit here so although it’s processed, cooking will not remove chemicals from your finished product. If you’re fortunate enough to live in the southern USA, go local, or backyard. Your marmalade will be better for it.