I’ve been on a citrus kick lately. But Husband isn’t a fan. And I struggle to finish a package of oranges or the like before they start to go off. The solution of course is to buy them individually, but that costs more. Not to mention that my favorite citrus are seasonal.
In the meantime, I belong to a couple different canning/preserving groups on Facebook, and people were talking about doing marmalades, and mixed fruit jams and jellies. So I had a thought. Poked around at a couple orange jelly recipes, but wasn’t entirely enthused with what I was seeing. So, armed with the knowledge that oranges are nicely acidic and so I can basically do whatever I want so long as I don’t add anything low acid, I went to the store for oranges.
8 large mandarin oranges
1 cup of commercial orange juice.
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
a splash of lemon juice
4 tablespoons of Ball’s low/no sugar pectin
Sliced the ends off of the oranges, deep enough that I saw flesh and not white skin. Peeled them, and then used a sharp knife to slice off the white pith/skin. Broke them open, sliced off the interior pith (that white pith can be bitter, you really want as much of it as physically possible removed). Cut them into chunks, removed any particularly loose skin pieces but wasn’t OCD about it. Used a potato masher to break up the chunks a bit. Eyeballed the mass in the sauce pan, and added 1 cup of juice. Next time I’ll just buy a couple more oranges instead, but it works for now.
Added the rest of the ingredients. Brought to a strong boil for 1 minute per pectin instructions. Jarred up (this made exactly six 1/2 pint jars), and water bath processed for 10 minutes.
I licked my stirring spoon while the mixture was heating and the vanilla came through nicely, but I can’t taste it at all in the finished jam. In retrospect I should have added it at the end of the boil instead of before, and I might add a bit more too next time. Also, store bought juice has always had a slightly odd undertaste to it, and that come through in the jam. But otherwise I’m delighted with how this turned out. Its a nice loose set jam, not overly sweet, and I totally ate the first jar with a spoon the next morning.
I’ll be buying a bunch more mandarin oranges this week so I can do a couple more batches!