20 January 2010

A Can Jam! Part 1

I spent most of Sunday getting ready and working on my projects for the Can Jam. I went a bit overboard.

Let me show you what I ended up working with.


In the front we have some lovely and tiny blood oranges. I know, they don't have the usual skin color of the blood oranges I'm used to seeing. But, when I peeled them open they were just as beautiful and you'd expect.

In the bowl in the back we have Meyer lemons (about 18 of them!) and 6 Pink Cara Cara oranges. Their stickers said "Pink is the new orange!" I'm so glad I found out now! Can you imagine how embarrassed I would be if I was still wearing orange?!?!

Just because they were so beautiful, here's another picture.



The first thing I made was some blood orange marmalade. And oh my gosh is it perfect for Nate. He's got a love of all things bitter. He's also allergic to fun, but that's another story. This marmalade is perfect to me. It starts out sweet but ends up deliciously bitter. Not at all sad bastard bitter.

Ingredients:
6 small blood oranges
1/4 c. water
3/4 c. sugar

This made almost a full 12 oz jar of marmalade. I know, 12 oz canning jar?!?! Nate got me 2 HUGE boxes of canning jars he bought from a guy at work. They ordered them from a restaurant supply company. I was wary about them 'cause they aren't from a source that I know. So, we busted out his handy dial calipers and measured the thickness of the glass and it is the same as that of my regular ball jars. So, with my, erm, wide knowledge of canning equipment I deemed these worthy. I decided to only try one jar to mitigate the damage if it cracked or blew up or what have you.

OK, enough about weird canning jars. You want to hear about the marmalade.

First things first: tie on your favorite apron. Trust me on this, it will make your day go MUCH better.


Then, we're gonna need some coffee. Or at least I am if I'm going to make it through the day.



The first thing I always do is get all of the ingredients and equipment and put them out on the counter. The last thing I want to do when I've got a giant pot of boiling water and a hot sugary mess is to have to scramble looking for something.


Um, yeah. I did decide that onions were necessary items for this. I'll tell you about that later.

Next up, grab your bowl of blood oranges and your microplane grater and zest them completely.


OK, so here's the deal. I know traditional marmalade, you peel the oranges, scrape all of the pith off, and then chop up the peels. That sounds like a LOT of work. So I took the easy way out and just zested the little buggers and used that zest in place of the peels. A lot LESS work. And that is a good thing. And I'm kind of lazy.

Next, peel all those oranges.


Aren't blood oranges gorgeous?!?!

Then we need to chop them up into bits. I just pulled the segments apart and cut them in 1/2 to 1/3rds.


I ended up with 2 cups of orange pieces.

Throw them in a pot and add the sugar.


Then I cooked it for about 45 minutes until the orange pieces broke down completely.

Not quite ready...


Ah, that's more like it!


I like my jams and marmalades to be pretty well set. If you like yours a bit runnier, please, don't cook it as long as I did.

I ended up with one 12 ounce jar of blood orange marmalade. AND these weird jars worked just fine! No explosions, no cracking. What a relief.
I'm thinking we'll probably use this for breakfasts. Either mixed into yogurt with granola, or on top of a bagel with cream cheese. Oh man that sounds good...


Stay tuned for the Meyer lemon extravaganza!

I have a problem. Every time I go to the store I want to buy more citrus to can.

3 comments:

Jane said...

Nice post. It's going to be a good year with the can jam.

Catalina said...

I love your pictures!!
And your marmalade of course ;)
It looks super yummy - those blood oranges look so pretty.
What did you use the onions for?

Melamalie said...

Beautiful!

I found myself buying blood oranges and planning a marmalade after making my tangerine lemon jelly in the can jam. I think it's an addiction, this canning thing.