Monday, February 28, 2011

That's a Spicy Marmalade!


Okay, so no one here in Sacramento really took the prediction last week of snow flurries very seriously. But the threat of a hard freeze was another matter. We threw sheets over delicate plants in the yard and moved some flower pots into the house. Now, what to do with the fruit on our citrus trees? We certainly didn’t want to have citrus-cycles come morning! And although we have eaten lots of the oranges and lemons and given
bags full to our friends there was still quite a bit of fruit on our trees. Somehow I am always surprised at the quantity of fruit a healthy citrus tree can produce! At any rate my husband donned his farm worker garb and headed out to clean off the orange and lemons trees. I even took all the fruit of the kumquat!
Now, what to do with the bowls and bowls of fruit…there’s of course orange juice, more bags to friends, eating them until your mouth can’t take any more…and then…canning! I launched into canning overdrive. First there was some lovely lemon curd. Next, Meyer lemon marmalade, but what to do with all those oranges… I wasn’t really up for a big batch of traditional orange marmalade. Now as some of you know I sort of have a thing for fruit with some sort of Chili pepper…Chili Blackberry Syrup, Ancho Chili Apple Butter, Pepper Pomegranate Jam…so what’s the most obvious answer here?
Orange Chili Marmalade…da-a-a!


Orange Chili Marmalade

2-1/4 LBS Oranges (unpeeled), seeded and thinly sliced
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
6 C Water
6 Dried New Mexico red chilis
9 C Granulated sugar

In a large, deep stainless steel saucepan, combine oranges, lemon zest and juice and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes. Add chili peppers, partially cover and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until fruit is very soft, about 30 minutes. Remove and discard chili peppers.
Meanwhile, heat canning pot, add jars to heat, put lids in a small sauce pan of water and heat…

Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Maintaining boil, gradually stir in sugar. Boil hard stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches gel stage, about 15 minutes. Skim off foam.

Ladle hot marmalade into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary. Wipe rim. Put lids on jars and tighten to finger tight.

Place jars in canner. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and wait 5 minutes, then remove jars.

The chilis made the marmalade a wonderful red orange and the amount of chili produced that wonderful heat that works so well with the sweet of fruit. I tested my concoction out at a party we went to, serving it with goat cheese and crackers and I am pleased to say it was a success!


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