8 Seville oranges
8 blood oranges
2 large lemons
4 quarts water
15 cups sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c bourbon
Wash fruit well in warm water. Juice all the citrus and strain, saving any seeds and pulp. Remove the membranes and any remaining seeds from the oranges. I found that dividing the halves in half again and scraping them with a butter knife worked the best. Don’t worry about the white pith, that can stay. You just want to get out the segments and seeds. Seville peels are tough, while blood orange peels are more delicate, so it takes a little work. Add the membranes, seeds and pulp to cheese cloth or a cotton jelly bag, and tie off.
Slice the peels with a very sharp knife. I sliced mine lengthwise into long thin strips. You can also make thicker strips or shorter strips, depending on the desired texture of the final marmalade. In a large non-reactive container, add the peels and cheese cloth bag to the juice, along with the water and salt. Set this mixture aside over night or at least 8 hours, the longer the better. You are tying to extract all the natural pectin you can from the oranges. I made mine first thing in the morning, then processed it that evening, but it made for a rather late night.
In a large stock pot, bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Simmer with the lid slightly ajar for 2 hours. (While you are doing this, sterilize your jars and prep your lids.) The water should reduce by at least one third. The peel will be very soft. Remove the cheese cloth bag. Add the sugar and return to a boil. Boil the mixture on medium high heat until a candy thermometer reaches 220 degrees. This may take as long as an hour. Stir often to keep the bottom from scorching. Keep an eye on it as you get close to 220 because it has a tendency to boil over. When you hit 220, test the jam to see if it’s ready to set by the following method. Put a small plate in the freezer. Pour a spoonful of 220 jam on it and let it sit 1 minute. Run your finger through the jam. It should have formed a film on the top. If it has, you’re ready to go. If not, boil your jam 5 minutes longer and test again.
Pour your marmalade into prepared jars, wipe rims and seal. Water bath process for 5 minutes. Leave your jars to cool on a towel or rack overnight. Your marmalade should have set by then, although some people say it can take up to two weeks. Mine set by the next morning. And violá! You’re ready for the latest episode of Downton Abbey.