Blood Orange & Meyer Lemon Marmalade with Amaretto

Blood Orange & Meyer Lemon Marmalade with Amaretto 1

Ya know, I have to say, seasonal eating rocks. It’s impossible to get into a food rut when you’re swapping out fruits and vegetables every couple of months. (And if you reach the point where you can’t. look. another squash. in the face. there’s the interwebs, serving up boundless recipe inspiration until the new kids arrive.)

But it’s only been the last few years that I’ve totally changed my mind about January and February. Usually unbearably dreary months for this summer girl, I’ve embraced them with my whole heart, as they usher in citrus season. Bright yellows, greens and oranges: the perfect antidote to brown food overload.

In addition to getting all greedy-grabby with the blood oranges, clementines, cara caras, honeybells and meyer lemons, I’m actually organized enough this year to do some preserving. Salted meyer lemons (of course). Grand Marnier sugared oranges (fabulous in summer cocktails). Zest from anything zestable, frozen (limes are super cheap these days, a quarter apiece).

And marmalade.

I woke up one morning recently and decided I really wanted to … needed to, had to … make marmalade. Blood oranges and Meyer lemons were already in the fridge. And a batch of homemade amaretto (more on that another day, yessirree, more on that) was patiently awaiting its turn in the spotlight.

Fifteen minutes into removing the peels, my kitchen smelled like sunshine, and I had a skip-hop in my step that usually doesn’t appear until late April.

Blood Orange & Meyer Lemon Marmalade with Amaretto 2

Like all in-season produce, fresh winter citrus is just amazing. First, there’s the variety. Then, there’s the scent. So tender and malleable, the skin gives off its perfume even as you’re washing it. Irresistible.

Blood Orange & Meyer Lemon Marmalade with Amaretto 2

Now, the secret to a really great marmalade lies in the zest, and the key is to leave as much of the peel’s white pith behind, as it’s bitter but otherwise flavorless. To that end, meet my new best kitchen-tool-under-$10 friend.

Food in Jars recommended a serrated vegetable peeler to zest the fruits for her citrus marmalade. I looked at my vast (vast!) collection of vegetable peelers — only one of which I actually use — shrugged and added “vegetable peeler with teeth” to my shopping list. I’m not one to doubt Food in Jars.

And, no less than I expected, she was right. The teeth allow the peeler to get a grip in a very shallow layer of the peel, leaving all of the pith behind.

Blood Orange & Meyer Lemon Marmalade with Amaretto 4

Blood Orange & Meyer Lemon Marmalade with Amaretto 5

Supreming citrus, a technique used in this recipe, is the process of removing the peel, pith, seeds and membranes, leaving behind only the tasty pulp and juice.

Here’s a quick tutorial:

  • If you need zest from the fruit, as you do in this recipe, zest the fruit first.
  • Slice off both ends of the fruit, deep enough to expose a circle of pulp.
  • Using a sharp paring knife, start from one sliced end, and, following the curvature of the fruit, cut away a strip of peel and pith down to the other exposed end. Continue removing the remaining peel and pith (it’s super easy after the first somewhat blind cut).
  • With the fruit now naked, it will be easy to see where the segments naturally separate: look for the thin white lines. Use the knife to separate the segments.
  • Cut away any strips of white pith clinging to the interior of the segments. Peel off the loose membranes and remove the seeds.

In this recipe, the seeds and membranes are pouched up in cheesecloth and boiled along with the zest and naked citrus segments, providing all the pectin you’ll need for the marmalade to set up all jelly-like — no separate purchase of powdered fruit pectin required.

Doesn’t nature just rock the party?

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So what do you do with all of this glorious boozy-citrus goodness? I adore it on fresh scones and cream biscuits. Or, you can get all French-fancy by spreading it on a slice of brioche and topping it with a generous schmear of nutella, a pinch of Fleur de sel and chopped nuts (the recipe, btw, for this week’s French Fridays with Dorie challenge).

Nutella + orange + amaretto = should be a food group all its own. Just sayin’.

Have a fabulous weekend! Eat some oranges. Smile at will.

Karen, xoxo

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Blood Orange & Meyer Lemon Marmalade with Amaretto

adapted from Food in Jars

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 60-70 minutes
Yield: 1 pint

2 pounds total Meyer lemons and blood oranges (I used 2 large lemons and 3 small-medium blood oranges)
4 cups of water, plus extra as needed
2 cups supremed citrus (from the lemons and oranges)
2 cups water (use the zest water and top off)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups demerara sugar
2 tablespoons amaretto

1. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the fruit (try not to include the pith in the zest). Slice the zest pieces julienne, then again into 1/2″ strips. Boil the zest in 4 cups of water and reduce to medium-high to maintain a good simmer. Cook for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile. supreme the citrus and remove seeds. (You should have about two cups of citrus.) Discard the outer peel containing the pith, reserving the citrus, seeds and membranes. Bundle the seeds and membranes in a triple layer of cheesecloth, tie off the top, and set aside.

3. The zest ready when the pieces are very soft and uniform in color. Drain and measure the liquid. You’ll need two cups for the next step – top off the liquid with additional water, if necessary.

4. Place two small plates in the freezer.

5. In a large non-reactive pot, add the 2 cups of liquid, supremed citrus and cheesecloth bundle. Turn to high and bring to a boil. Add the sugar and stir well to dissolve. Maintain a good boil as close to the high setting as possible. Stay close; you may need to frequently adjust the heat, reducing slightly to prevent boil-over and then increasing to maintain boil temperature.

6. While the marmalade cooks prepare your heat-safe storage container(s). This recipe makes about 1 pint or 1/2 liter. (The canning jar I used, shown in the pictures, is a half liter.) Wash the jars, the seals and lids with very hot sudsy water, and rinse with very hot water. It wouldn’t hurt to boil the jars. Leave to air dry on paper towels.

7. After 30 minutes, begin checking the temperature of the marmalade. When the temperature reaches 220°F, boil for 3-4 additional minutes, then add the amaretto, stirring well.

8. Take one dish from the freezer and drop some of the marmalade mixture in the center. Let it set for a few seconds, then push one edge with your fingernail. It should be a little wrinkly and more or less hold its pushed-in shape. If it runs right down the plate when tilted, continue the boiling for 5 minutes, then check again with the other plate from the freezer.

9. When the marmalade passes the plate test, turn off the heat, and gently but thoroughly stir the marmalade. This will help to even distribute the zest. Carefully spoon the mixture into your heat-safe jars, leaving 1/2″ headroom. If using canning jars with proper seals and lids, go ahead and place them on, taking care not to over-tighten the lid. Allow to cool until the jar can be handled, then place in the refrigerator.

Note:  I’m crazy conservative about food safety. This recipe has NOT been evaluated for water-bath canning safety — I’m not sure what effect the amaretto would have on the chemistry of the marmalade. I created this recipe specifically for refrigerator storage, not for canning, although I’m using canning jars and canning prep methods.

Interestingly, as the marmalade cooled in the jar, the sealing lid gave out a very loud {POP} and dimpled — a sign of a vacuum seal taking hold. I’ve heard this was a popular method of canning in times of yore; however, I don’t recommend relying on it for food safety and, indeed, my jar is tucked safely in the refrigerator as I type this. Don’t worry if your seal doesn’t do the vacuum thing: it will be okay in the fridge.

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  1. You had me at blood orange and Meyer lemon marmalade, and then you really had me at homemade Amaretto! I’ll vote for the new food group 😉

  2. yummiest :)

  3. I didn’t know the words “homemade” and “amaretto” could go together in the same sentence. Tell me more! I don’t really like marmalade (too sweet), but yours looks great. Look at that color! Something tells me I’d prefer homemade to Smuckers.

  4. I still have some Meyer lemon marmalade and Kumquat preserves sitting in my pantry (or refrigerator) from last winter, but nothing with blood oranges. How could such a tragic situation occur??? And certainly nothing with Amaretto. What’s wrong with me??? I now have a red mark on my forehead from banging my head against the wall.

    This is beautiful – love the tartine with the chopped pistachios (?) on top.

  5. Well, you do “rock” …this is a great post! Beautiful photos, nice writing, fun recipe, great ideas…… have inspired me. With all the citrus growing in my backyard, I’d better get busy! From one summer girl to another, your version of today’s FFwD challenge really exceeds all expectations and is what all this sharing, trying and learning new things is all about. Well done.

  6. Oh my SA, you have certainly outdone yourself here!

    I love this flavor combo and pretty basically need to rush right home and make it for myself!

  7. i always love coming to your blog and seeing your photos!! so refreshing.

  8. I want a vegetable peeler with teeth now! Can’t wait to see the homemade amaretto. It sound like a perfect gift for my Dad.

  9. I want your marmalade! It sounds so delicous. I attempted marmalade this fall with and it was a complete disaster. You’ve inspired me to give it another go. Great tips, excellent post. And where did you find the peeler with teeth? PS, I also love seasonal eating. Summer is tough where I live though because of th extreme temperatures (average is over 110 for two of the months) so I have to relish all the great produce in winter and spring months. So fun though to try what is seasonal. I’m going to plant some veggies this weekend that will hopefully be ready by May!

  10. Last year I made Meyer lemon marmalade and sorry to say I’m missing it this year! I like your combination of Meyer lemon and blood oranges, the color is also beautiful! When I made my Nutella tartine I found a jar of homemade orange marmalade(it was good) in the back of my fridge and I don’t remember who gave it to me,whoops! There is something very rewarding about making homemade marmalade even though it is a lot of work;-)

  11. I have marmalade envy! Yours look gorgeous and I can’t wait to hear about your amaretto. After all my work on failed marmalade I’m not sure I’ll feel like doing it again soon but if I do I’ll try your recipe. I’m pinning it so I won’t forget!

  12. Looks delicious! I’m impressed you made your own marmalade!

  13. Okay maybe when daughter moves out I can turn her sunroom into an orangery. Until then I will just have to be envious (coveting is not permitted) that you can grow your own citrus fruit. I haven’t even seen blood oranges in our market at any price. Your marmalade is beautiful and I’m sure it is delicious as well. I’m sure that tartine was extra special. I love your posts, so creative and entertaining.

  14. Your Post just rains happiness. I love what you’re doing, what you’re making, what you’re cooking and what you’re eating this Winter. Yes, we should eat what is now and what is present. Thank you for the inspiration. It has been a long time since I have made my own orange marmalade but I’m encouraged to do it again. May I borrow your phrase, “Doesn’t Nature Just Rock the Party.” What a powerful group of words.

  15. Wow, amazing photos, and what a scrumptious idea. I just happen to have Amaretto and Blood oranges on hand….

    I bet this tasted amazing with nutella.

  16. Hmmm…I have two friends, one with a Meyer Lemon tree and the other with a blood orange. Guess who I’ll be emailing after this comment?! It is citrus season here in So Cal, so with your wonderful recipe, I’ll soon be in marmalade heaven. Thrilled this is refrigerator canning rather than the water-bath method!

  17. Congrats on a beautiful batch of marmalade! And you get out the fancy Leifheit jar! I absolutely the vibrant colour of blood orange marmalade. Your photos make me what to whip up a batch too. I ran out the ones I made last year, it’s about time! Great choice for the tartine.

  18. “…my kitchen smelled like sunshine.” Love that!

  19. Absolutely gorgeous! What a creative marmalade, you have me wishing I would have made my own this week! Yay for seasonal citrus :)

  20. I’ve never made homemade jam, and thought I never would because you can buy such great jams and preserves, but this post may have made me a homemade jam convert.

  21. Congratulations! What a great looking preserve. I think it’s so awesome that there are still people out there these days who take the time to make their own preserves. It’s something I aspire to!

  22. I love seasonal eating! And I love winter citrus. I’m so impressed you made your own marmalade. I like that you can do it without commercial pectin. I’m going to have to try out your recipe. I have some Meyer lemons, so just have to get some blood oranges. Thanks for the inspiration!

  23. I made some jams this summer, but since I am without a really reliable way to can them, I just put them in fancy WECK jars and passed them out to friends! … Maybe this year I can find some suitable jars to keep some bits around for the winter time :) You have inspired me some more to work on my jarring! :)
    What a great idea to “zest anything zestable!” :) I’m totally going to do that now! I’m also going to make different citrus sugars :)

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