Sunday, February 8, 2009

Cara Orange Marmalade

At this time of year, it is quite difficult for me to pass up buying Cara oranges, the "sport" developed from a navel orange. One would expect it to taste the same as a navel orange, but the taste is as distinctive as the color. It is a low acid, mildly sweet fruit with the most beautiful orange pink flesh. After using one in a salad, it was time to experiment with preserving them.

8 large Cara oranges
6C sugar
2T raspberry champagne vinegar
1C Moscato wine (or any leftover dessert wine, even water)

After scoring and peeling the oranges, place the peels in a pot of water and boil for an hour. This makes the pith quite soft and enables you to scrape it off of the peel without much trouble. Skipping this step and leaving the pith on the peel will result in a more bitter taste and less appealing look.
When you have cooled down the peels with cold water and scraped off the excess pith, slice the rind as thinly as you possibly can. Separate the orange segments and cut into small pieces. Place them in a measuring cup so you know how much you have and place them in your 8 quart pot. Add the wine and sugar to the pot. The reason you are measuring the fruit is that you should be using equal parts sugar and fruit for a good outcome to your marmalade. The oranges I selected made about 6 cups worth of fruit so I list 6 cups of sugar in this recipe. Please adjust the sugar amount if needed.
Stir the fruit, wine and sugar together and add in the vinegar. Since the Cara orange is lower in acid than come other citrus, it seemed prudent to add in a vinegar to this recipe. I always make sure it has 6% acidity, but it can be any vinegar you choose. As soon as I finish my bottle of raspberry flavored vinegar, I plan to keep champagne vinegar on hand for this type of use. Set the burner on high and stir down the marmalade until it bubbles so much you cannot stir them out. This should be the setting point. However, I added about 1/3 package of pectin to this batch because it needed it. For longer storage and better preservation of flavor, after placing the marmalade into sealed jars, put them into a water bath for 10- 15 minutes.
This recipe made 6 half pints of marmalade.

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