Orange you glad?
Special to the Sun
TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Remember when your kids went through that knock-knock phase? At about age 5 my sister Gigiand#8217;s three children each hit me with and#8220;Knock knock. Whoand#8217;s there? Orange. Orange who?and#8221; Final answer: and#8220;Orange you glad I know this joke?and#8221;
Not wanting to damage their precious self-esteem and have to pay for rehab when theyand#8217;re, like, 35, I laughed loudly thus encouraging them to say it over and over again. It got to the point where it took all my effort, by the time the last baby came along, to not say, and#8220;Orange you glad Gigiand#8217;s not having any more kids?and#8221;
Fast forward to the Sierra, in the dead of winter, not a decent fruit in sight and then and#8211; Eureka! Orange you glad for those deliciously sweet Clementines, Mandarins and navels popping up at affordable prices? Just when you feared a serious case of scurvy (look it up) was about to set in, you find yourself inundated with bags of this Vitamin C wielding cargo from visiting friends (and you know they are real friends, because they sure havenand#8217;t come for the snow!) hailing from the warmer climes of Folsom, Auburn, Sacramento and Fresno.
I wish I could tell you to freeze the oranges to use throughout the winter months, like bananas, but really, no can do. What you can do, however, is make a batch of marmalade to use for baking, even barbecuing, days to come. But I am getting ahead of myself. For now, simply put on the 70s classic and#8220;Lady Marmaladeand#8221; get your and#8220;Gitchi, gitchi, yaya, dadaand#8221; on and whip up a batch of Billand#8217;s Orange Marmalade.
Bill is one of those Renaissance men who went out with, well, the Renaissance. He is an engineer who also just happens to make his own jams and jellies and also award-winning wines. Fortunately, he rarely mixes up his vats, and his marmalade recipe is also blue-ribbon worthy.
Billand#8217;s Orange Marmalade
4-5 medium oranges washed, cut into 1/8 inch slices and quartered, removing seeds
1 lemon, zest finely grated and juice
6 cups water
3 pounds plus 12 ounces sugar
10 (8-ounce) canning jars with lids, boiled in water for 10 minutes
Place oranges, lemon zest/juice and water in 8-quart pot and bring to boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for 40 minutes or until fruit is very soft. While the fruit is cooking, place a small and#8220;testerand#8221; plate in your freezer. Increase heat under fruit to return to full boil and add sugar. Stir mixture continuously until it reaches 222-223° on candy thermometer and darkens in color, approximately 15-20 minutes. Test the readiness of the marmalade by placing a teaspoon of mixture onto the chilled pale, allowing it to set for 30 seconds. Tilt the plate. The mixture should be a soft gel that moves slightly. If it is thin and runs, it is not ready. To fill jars, place funnel on top of jars and ladle in marmalade to just below the threads of the jar. Wipe the rim and the threads of each jar. Top with a lid, followed by the ring, and then tighten. Boil the filled jars for 10 minutes, being careful they do not touch each other. Remove jars with tongs and place in cool, dry place for 24 hours before opening. Once open, store in refrigerator. Unopened marmalade will last up to six months.