Mandarin orange marmalade is one of the staples I try to have on hand in my pantry. Not only do I love slathering it on my toast in the morning but I also use it to make Italian desserts. Mandarin orange marmalade goes into the fig filling for making Sicilian cuccidati cookies, marmalade crostatas, filled sweet breads and cookies. You can use any type of mandarins to make this marmalade – Tangerine, Satsuma, or Murcott – just to name a few varieties out there. You can also use Clementines. There’s no need to separate the fruit from the peel or remove the white pith. Everything goes in except the seeds. Lemon is added to tone down the sweetness.
MANDARIN ORANGE MARMALADE
(Marmellata di Mandarini)
Difficulty Rating: Intermediate
Makes 9 half-pint jars.
3 pounds mandarin oranges
2 large or 3 small lemons
3 pounds (about 6 3/4 cups) granulated sugar
3 cups water
Special Equipment: Canner, 9 (half-pint) Mason jars with lids and bands.
Wash the fruit thoroughly to remove any residue.
Place cut side down on a cutting board and cut each half into thin, half-moon slices (around 1/8-inch thick). Then cut the slices in half. Discard any seeds, which will make the marmalade bitter.
Place the fruit and juices in a large 8-quart stainless-steel pot. Stir in the sugar and water. Cover with a lid and let sit overnight at room temperature.
The next day, bring the mandarin mixture to boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon and mashing down lightly during cooking to help separate the fruit from the peel. Cook the marmalade for 50 to 60 minutes, until candy thermometer registers 220 degrees F. To test for readiness, place a small amount on a chilled plate, if the mixture seems runny, cook a few minutes longer.
Carefully ladle the marmalade into hot sterilized jars to within 1/2-inch of the top. Wipe the rims clean with a damp paper towel to help ensure a tight seal. Immediately cover the jars with lids and screw the bands on tightly.
Place the jars on the canner rack or a folded towel placed in the bottom of the canner and fill with water until 2-inches above the lids. Bring to a boil and process jars for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the jars from the water and place on a towel to cool. When cool enough to handle, loosen the bands of the lids to allow trapped moisture to dry out and prevent the lids from rusting. Check the seals by pressing the middle of the lid with your finger. If the lid springs back, the jar did not seal properly. Improperly sealed jars need to be refrigerated as soon as possible to prevent spoilage. Allow marmalade to sit 24 hours at room temperature before using. Marmalade will keep for 6 months.