Cara Cara Orange Marmalade
A wonderful, pectin-free marmalade made with Cara Cara oranges. Cara Caras are beautiful red-fleshed oranges. They are a cross between the Washington navel and the Brazilian Bahia navel and are sweet and low in acid. People love their complex flavor and often describe them as having notes of cherry, rose petal, orange, and blackberry.
Homemade marmalade tastes great on toast, olive oil pound cake, ice cream, on top of brie, in grilled cheese sandwiches, brushed on grilled meats, or swirled in oatmeal. This recipe yields six to seven 8-ounce jars, but they won’t last long.
3 lbs Cara Cara oranges
6 cups (42 oz) granulated sugar, divided
Tools needed: Knife, 2 stainless steel pots, large stainless steel bowl, digital instant read thermomter, boiling water canner, funnel, jar lifter, 6-7 8 oz. Ball canning jars with new lids and screw bands.
Using a sharp knife, trim tops and bottoms from Cara Cara oranges. Score peel of each orange lengthwide into quarters. Remove peel and set fruit aside. Place peel in large stainless steel saucepan with enough water to cover generously. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat and boil for 10 minutes. Drain. Cover generously again with fresh water and return to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes, until peel is softened. Drain. Using a spoon, scrape with pith from peel and discard. Using a sharp knife, cut peel into paper-thin strips. Do not cut strips too thick as they will be in your final product.
Working over a large stainless steel saucepan to catch juice and using a small sharp knife, separate orange segments from membrane. Place segments in saucepan and squeeze membrane to remove as much juice as possible, collecting it in the saucepan. Discard membrane and seeds.
Add cooked peel and 4 cups of water to segments. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until peel is very soft when squeezed with fingers, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and measure 6 cups, adding water as necessary to yield the required quantity. Mix well.
Meanwhile, prepare boiling water canner, jars and lids. Add jars and lids to canner, add water to the jars and the canner until it reaches the top of the jars. Cover canner and bring the water to a simmer over medium heat. Boiling the water is not necessary. Keep jars hot until you are ready to use them.
Ladle 3 cups of the cooked mixture into a clean large, deep stainless steel saucepan. Ladle remaining mixture into a second saucepan. Bring both saucepans to a boil over medium-high heat. Maintaining boil, gradually stir 3 cups sugar into each saucepan. Boil hard, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches 220 degrees which is gel stage, about 12 minutes. When gel stage is reached, skim off foam. It is very important each saucepan’s contents reach 220 degrees for marmalade to set properly.
Ladle hot marmalade into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles from jars with a chopstick or rubber spatula and adjust headspace again if necessary. Wipe rims, center lids and screw on bands until resistence is met.
Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid, wait five minutes before removing jars from canner. Place hot jars on towel (not directly on countertop) to avoid jars from shattering from temperature change.
Cool jars completely before moving or testing lids. Don’t dry the lids or jars at this point. You don’t want to disturb the lids while the seal is being formed. Let sit, undisturbed for 24 hours. After 24 hours, check lids for vacuum seal. Remove screw bands. With your fingertips, press down on center of each lid. Sealed lids will be concave and will show no movement when pressed. A cool, sealed lid will stay firmly attached to the jar. If any lids are not sealed, refrigerate and consume contents within two weeks.
Label sealed jars with date and store for up to one year in cool, dark place.
Recipe adapted from “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving”, 2006.