I have lots and lots of citrus trees, which means I have lots and lots of citrus fruit. I use citrus everyday, but we can only eat so much and by the time we are finished the mature fruit, we have baby fruit coming. I give lots of fruit away and have found lots of ways to preserve the fruit and making marmalade is an obvious choice. My marmalade adventures have been pretty successful to date, but I knew they could be better. Little did I know up until now that the secret to the BEST marmalade is overnight "brining". I know, who'd have thought? Soaking the skins in a salty solution makes perfect sense. It pulls out the bitterness and tenderises at the same time. Genius. I'm going to be slapping this marmalade on everything from my toast to my muffins from this day forth.
Orange and Vanilla Bean Marmalade
adapted from here
Makes 5 - 6 cups
12 medium oranges (I used a mix of Navel Oranges and Blood Oranges)
2 teaspoons fine sea salt (I used Pink Himalaya Salt)
2 vanilla beans, split length ways and seeds scraped (You'll be using both the bean and the seeds)
Caster sugar, *half the weight of the contents of the orange mixture (explained below)
Juice half a lemon
Wash your oranges and cut the tops and bottoms off just until you get to the flesh. Cut in half from top to bottom and cut a V to remove the white membrane out of the centre. Discard the membrane and slice the oranges into half moons as thick or as thin as you like, removing and discarding any pips. I like very thin skins in my marmalade so I made like a human mandolin and sliced those suckers super fine.
Put all your sliced oranges into a large bowl, sprinkle with salt, add the split vanilla pod and scraped beans and cover with enough cold water to just cover. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, pop a small plate into the freezer for testing your marmalade for setting point.
Weigh the contents of the bowl and pour it into a large, wide pan. Weigh out half the amount of sugar (*eg. if your orange mixture weighs 1kg, you'll need 500g sugar).
Place the pan with the orange mixture over a high heat and bring to boil. Add the sugar and keep at a lively bubble for about 30 minutes. The mixture should start to darken and thicken slightly.
To set test for setting point, take the plate out of the freezer, remove the marmalade from the heat and spoon a dollop of it onto the cold plate and wait for about a minute. Push your finger through the marmalade. It has reached setting point when it wrinkles slightly. If it doesn't crinkle when you push your finger through it, return it to the heat and cook for a further few minutes and test again.
Once setting point has been reached, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Remove the vanilla pods and reserve. Leave to sit for 10 minutes before spooning the marmalade into sterilised jars. Leaving it to rest will allow the fruit to settle evenly. Cut the reserved vanilla pods into 5 or 6 pieces. Place a piece of vanilla bean into each jar and seal with lids. Marmalade can be eaten straight away slathered onto anything buttered and not nailed down or stored in a cool place for up to 3 months.