Finally just got through the 25lb bag of oranges I brought back from my California trip. The first (most simple) thing I did was, of course, juice about half my oranges (orange way #1). I was thinking about freezing some, but with this beautiful hot weather we have had, I don’t think it will last past the week. I saved the orange peels from the juicing and decided to make candied orange peel (orange way #2):
- Boil whole pieces of orange peel
- Let cool, scoop out white membrane inside
- Cut into desired size (usually strips)
- Boil again in, basically, a simple syrup mixture; just enough water to cover the top of the peels and about an equal portion of sugar.
- Strain (saving the liquid) and toss the peels in, you guessed it, more sugar.
- Spread the peels on covered baking sheets (or whatever you had, I ran out and used broiler pans and pizza pans) and let sit until dry and crystalized
Simple as that. Even easier, you know that liquid you saved? Now its gonna be orange syrup (orange way #3):
- Reheat the boiling mixture an add about half the amount of liquid in orange juice (so 4 cups of liquid=2 cups of orange juice, 6 cups liquid= 3 cups oj, etc)
- Put in jars and leave 1/2 inch head space and process in boiling water bath canner for 30 minutes.
- If not canning, syrup keeps for about 10 days.
The last way I used my oranges (#4) was in marmalade. I am not sure if I did a “true” marmalade because about half the recipes I read called for a 36 hour recipe time. I think it involved a lot of softening of peels and such. I took about 12 oranges, peeled and removed membranes and boiled them with water, sugar, lemon juice, pectin, and some finely chopped peel (for a little tang). The pectin I used, Pomona’s Universal Pectin, has the added mix in of calcium water so that not as much sugar is needed in the “jamming” process. The pectin comes from citrus and is preservative free. It seems like a pretty good buy, though it is from Massachusetts… I plan on making my own pectin eventually, but for now I would like to get comfortable with the whole process before throwing in another task.
Operation Orange a success!
I went out to Detering Orchards two days in a row and picked about 14lbs of strawberries; half I froze and half I tried making some strawberry honey jam. The “jam” tastes really good, but I realized that it is crucial to use the correct amount of pectin. So instead of jam, I have some sweet preserves. They will still be good for adding to smoothies and making wonderful french toast topping.
Next up, pickling! Happy Summer!