After the Chinese New Year, there'll be so many Mandarin oranges left and I'd be scratching my head thinking what to do with them. Normally I'd give them away but this time, I was a bit adventurous and tried my hands at making them into marmalade. Although it was a bit time consuming and standing in the kitchen in this heat, my efforts paid off when the marmalade turned out great and was well received by family members. Initially I was afraid that the marmalade wouldn't set as I've reduced the amount of sugar. Mandarin orange marmalade works well as a gift too and the taste is so much different from store bought ones. One thing for sure, it has less sugar!
Recipe for Mandarin Orange Marmalade ~ 橘子果酱
(adapted from 'here' with modifications)
- 2 kg, about 16 Mandarin Oranges
- 700 gm sugar (reduced from 1.2 kg)
- 5.1/2 cups water (reduced from 6 cups)
- Peels from 3 Mandarin Oranges (reduced from 8)
- Juice from 1 large lemon
- Wash and scrub the Mandarin oranges. Peel the oranges carefully and cut the peels of 3 oranges into thin strips with a sharp knife.
- Place the peels into a pot, put enough water to cover the peels and bring to a light simmer. Remove the peels, set aside. Discard the water. (This step is to remove some bitterness from the peels, but if you like your marmalade to be a bit bitter, then omit this).
- Remove the piths or membranes from the oranges. Set aside.
- Cut the oranges in half, crosswise, break out the segments and remove the seeds. Wrap the seeds and piths tightly in a clean muslin cloth.
- Put the orange segments, lemon juice, sugar, water, peels and the bag of piths and seeds into a large pot. Stir over medium heat without boiling.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and let it bubble for about an hour, uncovered, stirring occasionally until gel point is reached.
- Ladle the jam into the sterilised jars, leaving about 1/2 inch gap from the top and twist the lids while the jam is still hot.
- Yield : Four to Five, 340 ml jars
- When the mixture is boiling, sterilise the jars. Wash the jars with washing liquid, rinse well.
- Place the jars in a large pot, completely immerse the the jars in water.
- Bring to a boil over low heat and boil for 15 mins.
- Turn off heat, if the jam is not ready to fill the sterilised jars, leave them in the hot water for up to an hour. Longer than that, need to sterilise again.
- Place the hot jars on a clean towel, upright.
- Do not boil the lids, add into the hot water after turning off heat when jars have finished boiling.
Note : The seeds are full of pectin and pectin is needed for jam setting.
Jell point testing
Put a few saucers into the freezer to chill for a few hours. Turn off heat, then spoon a dollop of jam onto a cold saucer, leave to cool for a few mins. Then push your finger into the jam and if it wrinkles, it's done. If not, then boil the jam for another 10 mins. and check again. Click 'here' for more tips on how to test whether the jam is done.
Sterilising the jars