Updated: Apr 14
Making jams and marmalade is a great way to preserve the flavors of seasonal fruit and enjoy them during the long cold winters, but in some places, this handcraft is first and foremost related to the idea of not wasting food. My parents were kids when the state of Israel enforced an emergency rationing plan during its first decade. These challenging years (in so many ways) taught people to cleverly use their available food resources. My grandparents, for instance, squeeze all the juice from the fruit of the Santa Roza plum tree in their yard, and besides enjoying the fresh fruit straight from the tree, it dominated my grandma's jams and fruit cakes, and my grandpa became a liquor-making master, using any leftover fruit. Nothing went to waste.
Citrus trees also dominated the landscapes in almost every family yard, however, for jam making you need to remove the thick bitter peel and it's labor-intensive, it's also a shame to discard/waste this peel when you can use it for candied fruit or marmalade. Suitably, traditional marmalade is usually made with large chunks of fruit, and also less sugar compared to jam. When we keep the citrus peel on, the result is a wonderful combination of sweet and bitter.
Makes about 4 cups
8-10 medium size oranges (about 1.5 kg ), rinsed
2 lemons, rinsed
5 cups (1 kg) Sugar
1 cup water
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
Remove the top and bottom ends of the oranges with a knife, and discard. Cut the oranges into about 1/3-inch thin slices, then quarters, and remove the seeds as you go.
Repeat the same steps with the lemon.
Place the oranges in a pot. Add in the lemon, the sugar, the water, and the cinnamon stick, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 1/2 hours, until the fruit is very soft. It may look still runny at this point, but the marmalade would harden as it cools. You can test the readiness of the marmalade by placing a teaspoon of the mixture onto a well-chilled plate and allowing it to sit for 30 seconds. The mixture should be a soft gel that moves slightly. If it's thin and runs easily, it is not ready. Continue to simmer, for 5 to 10 minutes more. Test again; repeat as needed.
Let cool, then transfer marmalade to an airtight container or sterilized jars (to sterilize jars and lids, place them in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 mins).
Keep in the fridge for up to 6 months.