Thursday, February 21, 2013

Preserving the Season

One of our teachers at work has been bringing in fresh, homegrown oranges from her tree.  Let me tell you, they are addictive!  Thankfully they're good for me because I can't stop eating them.  I'm not sure why oranges that come from your own (or a friend's) tree taste so much better than the ones you buy in the grocery store, but they definitely do.

Last week when she stopped by the office, I thanked her for bringing them in and told her how much I'd been enjoying the oranges.  I mentioned that one of my goals this year was to learn how to make orange marmalade.  She thought that sounded fabulous and asked how many oranges I'd need.  I told her that the recipes I'd been looking at required 8 or nine oranges.  Two days later, she left a bag of oranges on my desk =)

Since I'm definitely one who is always up for a challenge, I knew that my first attempt at orange marmalade was in my very near future.  I mentioned it to Kevin and he thought it sounded like a great project for us for the long President's Day weekend.  Having given donated all of my canning jars in our move last summer (I know, I know, but honestly we were too darn tired to move and/or find a place for one more thing), I stopped at OSH one day and picked up a dozen canning jars and some paraffin.  (Yes, I know that paraffin is not 'the' standard for canning, but it's what I've always used to make jam.  If it was good enough for my grandmother, it's good enough for me!).

When the weekend finally rolled around, we were ready.  Kevin and I were both very excited to attempt something new.  Moreover, we could hardly wait to taste the end result on a warm, buttery biscuit.  Mmmmm.

What we discovered is that orange marmalade is not difficult to make.  Compared to other jams we've made in the past, it's a bit more time consuming (particularly preparing the ultra fine strips of peel that go in the marmalade), but certainly nothing prohibitive.  And with only three ingredients - oranges, sugar and water - it's an inexpensive way to preserve the bounty of the citrus season.

If you have an abundance of oranges, why not give it a try?  It's a cinch, and you'll be glad to have those gleaming jars of yummy orange marmalade lining your pantry shelves.

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