More jelly making

A friend shared with us some blood oranges her son grows in Florida. They were delicious, and got me thinking about a recipe I saw for blood orange marmalade. I couldn’t find the recipe, of course, so made regular orange marmalade.

I used the book on Fine Preserving published in 1969 that I thrifted, for the recipe only since the canning instructions are no longer considered adequate. I used 4 large oranges and 26 ounces of sugar. I squirted in some lemon juice because all the recipes I looked at called for it, but I don’t know if it’s necessary. It might just be a color enhancer, and not necessary for acidity. The recipe also called for something none of the online recipes I looked at asked for: reserve the seeds and tie them in a cheesecloth twist, and boil them with the orange pulp “for the flavor they impart.” Imagine my disappointment to find I’d purchased seedless oranges.

What I’d really meant to do, but forgot to do at the last moment, was make a couple jars of raspberry-orange marmalade. Forgot to add the raspberry juice. Saw a recipe for that not too long ago, too.

I did make up another batch of raspberry jelly, though. This is from a frozen gallon bag of berries, which when thawed and mashed produced two cups of juice.

I used Certo for the gelling part, but I’d really like to find a book of Pioneer recipes; there was a time there was no corner store so you had to use what was on hand. I know that what was on hand was apples, but I don’t see any recipes that say how much and how to use apples for the gelling.

If you’re asking whether it’s economically sensible to make your own jelly when you can buy it pretty cheap at the store with much less effort, the answer is: sometimes. I paid for the oranges in this case, but the raspberries were free to me. The sugar cost about fifty cents to seventy five cents for each project. Buying the jars is spendy the first time, seventy five cents each, but then you reuse them forever, sometimes a couple times a year. I can pick up jelly jars at Goodwill for either a dime or a quarter depending who was doing the pricing that day, but they tend to put them out on the shelf only in the spring and summer and there’s competition for them.

***UPDATE***: After having eaten the marmalade, I can say it is DEFINITELY worth it to make your own! It is like gourmet, compared to regular store brand. The recipe I used had a step that I think makes all the difference: The day before you are ready to actually cook the jelly, you thinly strip the orange part of the skin off the orange using a paring knife, and soak it in water overnight. Then grind the rind into small bits the next day, as usual, and use the soaking water as the “water” part of the recipe. It’s extra-orangey and has a lot of texture and mouth-feel. Great for gourmet gift giving!

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