Blood Orange & Vanilla Marmalade

As a kid you wouldn’t get me to eat blood oranges.  The word blood was so off-putting I didn’t even want to look at the things.  Nowadays I love them.  Last year I accidentally bought blood instead of regular oranges, and that really got me hooked.  I have to say, though, that I only ever buy organic ones as the non-organic ones were really disappointing.

So I’m eating quite a lot of blood oranges at the moment, and that’s how I got the idea to make blood orange marmalade.  If you’ve been here before, you’ll know I prefer easy solutions to most everything, so I just adapted the recipe for pear jam I made last year and substituted the pears for blood oranges.

I actually started prepping yesterday, because I knew I really, really disliked the task of filleting oranges.  I’m just not good at all this fiddly stuff, and after an hour I just couldn’t be bothered anymore, put everything in the fridge, and left it for today to continue.  Which is when I got the idea to opt for the easy way out again – instead of peeling and filleting the oranges, I simply halved them, went at the segments with a sharp knife and cut out the flesh.  The result:  nice clean-cut half-segments.  You just have to get the knife deep into the bottom of each segment to get the segments out in one clean-cut piece.   And make sure not to cut into your hand if you happen to cut through the bottom of the orange.

The fruit to sugar ratio in the original pear jam recipe was 1 kg fruit to 800 g sugar.  I had to fillet 3 kg of oranges to get 800 g fruit from the oranges,  so my ratio was 800 g fruit  to 600 g sugar.  Also, I used flesh only, not the juice.

Blood Orange & Vanilla Marmalade

3 kg blood oranges
800 g white sugar
1 vanilla pod

Fillet oranges and discard juice (or use for other purposes).  In a large heavy based pan, bring fruit and sugar to a rolling boil, and cook for 10 – 15 minutes (see comment below).  Meanwhile, cut the vanilla bean in half lengthways, and scrape out the seeds.

Add vanilla pod and seeds, and cook for a further 5 minutes.  As plain sugar works a bit differently than jam sugar, test the consistency of the marmalade by spooning some onto a plate.  If it’s too runny for your taste, keep cooking for another 5 minutes, then check again.

Once it’s reached the consistency of your liking, take out the vanilla pod and fill into jam jars.

Due to the high juice content of the oranges, the consistency of this marmalade was still very runny after 30 minutes of boiling, which I don’t mind at all, I’m just mentioning this in case you want to try this and get disappointed by the consistency.  For a firmer marmalade, I suggest using jam sugar.

I have to say making this marmalade – despite the annoying task of filleting the fruit – was a real joy.  The colour of blood oranges is gorgeous, and during the cooking process it becomes even more beautiful.  And then there’s the taste… tangy but not a hint of bitterness, mixed with the sweetness of the oranges and the sugar combined…  No fruit filleting in the world will keep me from making this again!

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