This is one area in which our region excels: Oranges in Winter. Oh, it is good. Not only are they high in vitamin C which is very handy this time of year, but citrus fruits are little orbs of sunshine on a cold day.
We used some of the littlest orbs - calomondins - to make marmalade this week. Calomondins originated in Asia and are thought to be a hybrid of kumquats and tangerines - but no one seems to know for sure. They have thin, sweet peels like kumquats, and they peel easy and have easily sectioned fruit like tangerines. They are extremely sour, though, which is why most people grow them only as ornamentals.
We bought four little baskets full from the Hendersons at the farmers market on Saturday and turned them into sweet and sour marmalade. The process took about two hours of my time in the kitchen, although the juice had to rest in the fridge overnight midway to develop the pectin.
I am not a fan of jellies, jams, and marmalades generally. But I love the idea of local ones so much that I truly enjoy them when I make them or get them from someone who has. And they do taste so much more fruity than the kind you buy at the supermarket. This one is my favorite so far - tangy, textured with little bits of tasty peel, and lovely to behold spread on warm toast on a cold morning.
CALAMONDIN MARMALADE RECIPE
Select four cups of firm fruit, free of blemishes. Remove seeds and slice thinly. Measure fruit and place in saucepan. Add 3/4 cup water to each cup of fruit. Bring to a boil and boil for 15 minutes. Cool, and place in the refrigerator overnight to develop pectin.
The next day, measure the stock, and for each cup of stock add 1 cup sugar. Bring mixture to a boil and continue to boil until candy thermometer reads 220 degrees. Pour immediately into sterilized jars and process in a hot water bath for 5 minutes.