It is, I think, the 10th of my 12 Days of Christmas blogposts. Today I made a batch of our low sugar orange and grapefruit marmalade. It is still sweet but uses far less processed sugars and so theoretically is good for you.
It’s one of those things that we have had on toast and brown bread in our house for many a year. Another traditional Irish food that we definitely must have for Christmas.
There are 2 ways to make Irish Marmalade, you can either pulp your oranges yourself and then make the preserve or you can buy it in a pre-packed can. It’s rare that I’d recommend that anybody make something directly from a tin but honestly it is hard work to ream the oranges and prepare them for making marmalade. The beauty of doing it from a tin is that you have no mess and plenty of space in your fridge. Making the preserve is quick, easy and can be done at any time of the year, not just when seville oranges are in season and in the shops.
You will need a large stainless steel saucepan. I mean big. It should hold approximately 6 litres of water when full.
You’ll also need a large wooden spoon, plenty of clean, washed jars (this recipe makes 6 jars of jam comfortably) and a funnel.
But how is it low sugar you ask yourself?
Well normally when making marmalade or jam the rule of thumb is approximately twice as much sugar as fruit. I’m giving you my secret below:
- 1kg orange pulp with peel (or use a pre prepared tin – mine is from Homecook by Boyne Valley Foods, I’ve no affiliation just our family has used them for years and there are only oranges and nothing else in the tin)
- Juice of 2 grapefruit
- 1kg sugar
- 200g fruit sugar (also known as fructose)
- Peel of 2 apples
- 450ml cold water
Mix all the above ingredients together in the large stainless steel saucepan and put on a medium heat constantly stirring with a wooden spoon. Place your empty washed jars with the lid off on a baking tray and place in a cold oven. Turn the oven to 140 degrees Celcius.
A foam will begin to appear on the top of the marmalade mixture. Keep on stirring with the wooden spoon. Bring to a slow boil (not big bubbles or vigorous bubbles). Once boiling, set a timer for 20 minutes, stir every 3 minutes or so and the foam/scum will eventually disappear.
When the timer goes off, take a teaspoon of the marmalade and put on a cold saucer then put it in the fridge for 2 minutes. Remove the saucer from the fridge and run your finger across the top of the marmalade. If it ripples, then the marmalade is ready. If not, then boil for a further 5 minutes then try again.
Once ready, turn the heat off and leave to stand for at least 10 minutes. Sugar is hot and marmalade is full of it! After 10 minutes, stir one last time to get rid of any air bubbles trapped at the bottom of the saucepan. Fish out the apple peel. Remove the jars from the oven (careful they’re hot!) and using the funnel, fill the jars. Put a waxed disc of paper on top while still hot. Then seal using cellophane and elastic bands.
Providing you’ve sterilised the jars well and sealed them well they will keep for up to a year in a dark, dry and cool place. That is, unless you’re one of my family members, in which case I’ll be making this marmalade again in a month’s time.