Jams and Spreads

Champagne Orange Marmalade


GraphicSpoonCMYK-01Winter is dreary.  Even in the south, where we typically only deal with 2-4 “snow days” every year.  It’s even been really mild this year with no real snow so far, but everything is still brown, barren, dead.  There’s only one small farmers market open and although it’s a gem and I love it, it’s not overflowing with the hustle and bustle of people out to get fresh air with their kids and dogs and friends.  We’re there to get gorgeous locally grown food and then we race back to the car where it’s warm!  But citrus.  Ohhhhh, sweet citrus.  It’s here to cure us of the winter blues!  How can one be unhappy while eating a bright, sweet juicy orange?  Particularly if it’s a cara cara orange!  I don’t guess I’d been paying attention in years’ past, but this is the first year I’ve noticed them and noticed that I ADORE THEM. They’re sweet, tart, and have an almost pink flesh.  My family hasn’t been able to keep them in our fruit stand for more than a day or two without gobbling them all up.  My kids especially love that there are no seeds.

I’m a huge fan of trying to savor the seasons.  I freeze everything I can get my hands on in the summer, but oddly enough, I’ve never officially “canned” anything.  I’ve made enough freezer jam to fill the Titanic, but never anything shelf stable.  Until today!  It’s really less daunting than I let myself believe, and I’m so proud of how the little beauties turned out.

The inspiration for making orange marmalade came from a few things.  I saw someone mixing whole grain mustard with orange marmalade as a glaze for broiled scallops and I thought that it was something I absolutely had to do, and when I did it and became obsessed with the flavor as a glaze for fish and chicken, I thought about how homemade marmalade would be a bajillion times better, and why on earth would I not try to make it homemade when I had a bowl full of gorgeously delicious and in-season cara cara oranges right there in my kitchen?!  I skimmed through several different recipes, then landed comfortably on Love and Olive Oils‘ blog.  Isn’t it funny how when you’re looking for a recipe and there are so many different versions, you somehow just *know* when one is THE ONE you’re looking for?  She made blood orange marmalade three ways- one with strawberry, one plain, and one with chianti to further highlight the color of the blood orange and kick the flavor up.   Her recipe also didn’t ask me to use 8 cups of sugar for 5 cups of water (some of those recipes were cuh-razy!).  So, seeing as how I had bright cara cara oranges instead of blood oranges, and seeing as how I love to add that little something special and unexpected to my recipes (as she did with strawberries and wine), and seeing as how I still had leftover champagne from NYE (that I froze for cooking, not drinking), I came to the conclusion that I had the perfect vision for this recipe!  I did use a bit more wine to water ratio than she did (because why not), and I reduced the sugar and replaced some of it with local honey.  This is what I mean by “stealing a recipe” to make it your own.  Gone are the days of the coveted, top secret grandmothers’ hand written recipe card with 40 years of cooking splatter on it (which does, admittedly, have a ridiculous amount of charm attached to it), and here are our days of finding a boatload of different versions of the same recipe, some with a new idea or an interesting tweak to them, all just waiting at your fingertips for you to recreate with your own spin on them.  I love it.

Make this soon, then smear some with butter on a steaming hot biscuit for a badass breakfast.  Then smear some with brie and roll it up with some chicken and greens in a tortilla for a badass lunch.  Then stir a spoonful of whole grain mustard into 3 spoonfuls of marmalade and smear it onto some salmon and broil it for a badass dinner.  There are so many sweet and savory ways to use this gold!  I’m so very happy with it, and I hope you’ll make it soon to see for yourself how good it is!  Click on the link below the photos to view and print the recipe.

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