All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2025

Monday, November 16, 2009

my little marmalade tree

Nine years ago, I bought an indoor orange tree about a foot and a half high. It's a Calamondin. and every winter ( sometimes Fall) it makes lots of little, bright, sour oranges over the period of a few months. It has beautiful, fragrant white flowers that make you forget winter is happening just outside the window.
For the first few years I might nibble on the inch-sized oranges, but usually I ended up throwing them away. Then a few years ago I suddenly wondered: what about making marmalade with them? Well, I did, and it's wonderful. Because the fruit is so sour, you don't even need pectin or lemon juice, and the skins are soft and thin, so you just slice the whole fruit up, throwing away the random seed or two. The marmalade is somewhat soft, and easily spreadable.
A note : Before you run out and buy a Calamondin, be aware that nurseries and greenhouses use poisons on their plants, so you need to wait a year before eating the fruit: use organic or natural liquid fertilizer and you can be assured the fruit is safe.
To make the marmalade:
Gather up the little oranges and wash. Slice very thinly, discarding any seeds you come across. This recipe is for 2 cups of sliced oranges, so adjust if you have more or less.
Simmer four or five jamjars and lids in boiling water, then let drain on a fresh, clean dishtowel.
Place the 2 cups of sliced oranges in a heavy bottomed pot, along with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil.
Add 3 cups of sugar and stir, turning heat down to a high simmer.
Continue to stir marmalade for approximately 25 minutes, stirring quite a lot, until it reaches around 230 on a candy thermometer, or drips thickly from a wooden spoon. This is just around soft-ball stage.
Ladle marmalade into jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headroom, then place the lids and rings on and tighten. You should hear them ping about a half hour later as they seal. If they don't seal well, just keep in the fridge, where, I assure you, they won't last long.

And to folks in warmer areas, I envy you! These can grow outside as long as the temperature stays above 20F.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you're using a different citrus, like clementines, unless they are marked "organic", make sure you rinse the citrus well in a vinegar bath of 2 tablespoons vinegar (any kind) to a quart of water. Rinse again in clear water, and pat dry before slicing. I do think clementines with 2 tablespoons lemon juice would approximate the taste of the Calamondin oranges - the peels are thin with very little pith. I'll let you know when I try it.
Featured on TasteSpotting!


Barb said...

Well, once again I have learned something new from you! I have never heard of this little orange tree before, and I am completely impressed that you thought to make marmalade from those adorable little oranges. Your photos are gorgeous - and I love the 'packaging' in the last photo - beautiful! Thank you for sharing this.

(Oh, and thank you for the salad and soup reminders - they look so good!)

La Table De Nana said...

I am totally impressed also..I don't know if that is the little orange tree I had..but I lost it!:(

An old boyfriend of one of my daughters gave it to me years ago..and I thought it was adorable..I liked it less when they parted ways..It lost a bit of it's luster:) and then when the tiny fruits came our first grandchild always picked them off when they were teeny tiny..

Unfortunately I lost the little airy full leaved tree.. I'd like another perhaps one day..It felt a bit like Provence to me....You are good to have had such a have a green thumb.. the jar and the tree shaped marmalade on the plate are perfect!

katrina said...

Hi Barb! It must be those deep homesteading genes I was born with that couldn't bear to throw away fresh fruit! It really is a delicious marmalade - much better than any I've bought. The only problem is I only have one tree producing four jars of marmalade. Maybe I should get another tree - or move to a warmer place.
Glad you enjoyed the soup and salads! How's your weather? New England has been in the 60's, thank heavens for a reprieve before the deep chill.

katrina said...

Nana - only you would see that blob of marmalade as a tree! Clearly, you need to get another one; they are lovely trees to see in the wintertime, aren't they? I was amused by your story about your little orange tree, by the way:)
Thanks for dropping in!

Kate said...

I concur with Barb and La Table De Nana... beautiful everything!!
My husband's uncle used to have one of these trees and it was magical to see little oranges here in upstate NY in the colder months.
I have a friend with a Meyer lemon tree... and a little orange tree would be a perfect companion - botanical and culinary! Thanks for the walk in Provence ;)

katrina said...

Thank you, Kate!
Do I assume the lemon tree is either indoors or in California? Either way, this orange tree would be a lovely companion. I'll forever think of this tree as "Nana's Provence" ; a much needed daydream during the chilly months.

Chef Fresco said...

Aw I love this! Very impressive & nice pics too :)

katrina said...

Thanks, Chef! Glad you enjoyed - and, since I'm down to only two jars, I think I'm going to try making some clementine marmalade as soon as the Spanish clementines show up.
Thanks again!

Cooking Foodie said...

i am running out to get the tree... lovely pics

katrina said...

Cooking Foodie - You'll love this tree!

Sophie Sportende Foodie said...

I am impressed!! That marmelade looks so tasty!!

A job well done! Thanks for this yummie recipe!

katrina said...

Thank you, Sophie! I'm hoarding the last two jars, waffling about whether to give them to special people, or quietly push them further back in the cupboard - for ME. Is that bad?

katrina said...
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