Are you craving citrus all year round? Sicilian orange marmalade is the answer! Let’s find out how to make marmalade.
If you were born and raised in Sicily and then moved elsewhere, there will be a thousand colors and scents that remind you of home. Among these, the smell of freshly harvested Sicilian oranges in winter and of the essential oils that exude from the peel; or maybe of the bright colors that these citrus fruits reflect in the sun.
Making Sicilian orange marmalade is a great trick to preserve those smells and colors all year round (and also to make them travel outside national or international borders).
Panacea in the coldest days, orange marmalade lends itself to many uses even in summer: it can enrich a slice of bread for breakfast, fill a tart or a margherita cake enhancing the vanilla aroma, accompany cheeses for appetizers or greedy desserts, give a soft note to an ice cream.
There are many variants of the orange marmalade. Among the best known, those with the peel in pieces that gives a crunchy note, the orange marmalade and lemon juice that enhances the fragrant aromas, or with pieces of apple or ginger that integrate the beneficial properties of the citrus.
Given the simplicity of its ingredients, it is also an ideal food for those suffering from gluten or lactose intolerances.
Sicilian orange marmalade: an ancient story
Symbol of the three-pointed Italian island, given the great variety of Sicilian oranges present in the area – from the famous tarocco to the Sicilian blood oranges, from the Ribera orange to the bitter orange – the orange marmalade recipe is widespread all over the world. It is very present in the United Kingdom, where english marmalade recipe is a national symbol, or in Spain (with the famous Seville orange marmalade recipe) and California, which are also lands of oranges.
However, Sicily retains the richest history about the orange marmalade. Its origin seems to reside in Ancient Rome, although it is only between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries that procedures and uses similar to modern ones are attested.
The most ancient legend attributes the creation of Sicilian orange marmalade to Catherine of Aragon. Given in marriage to the king of England in the early decades of the sixteenth century, by eating orange marmalade managed to overcome the nostalgia for her land.
Another legend tells that Maria dei Medici, ill in France, received as a cure a box of Sicilian oranges which, due to the journey, would have been discarded. The writing “per Maria malata”, in French ” poir Marie ammalate” would have been read “marimalade”, giving rise to the term marmalade.
Sicilian orange marmalade recipe
If you are wondering how to make orange marmalade, you are in the right place.
Making marmalade at home is very simple, it requires few tools and a few small tricks. I will illustrate it step by step below.
To make my recipe, it is necessary to use the pulp of well-peeled Sicilian oranges without albedo (the white, spongy, bitter and innermost part of the citrus peel).
Preparation: 1.5 h
Cooling down: 4-5 h
- 1 kg of peeled Sicilian oranges
- 500 g of sugar
How to make marmalade:
- Peel the Sicilian oranges, completely removing the albedo and place them in a bowl cut into cubes or thin slices.
- Add the oranges until you reach the weight of 1kg. You will notice that the pulp will begin to release some juice. Don’t throw it away! It will shrink later during cooking.
- In a saucepan, add the oranges and sugar, starting to mix over high heat.
- In the meantime, heat 6 300 ml jars in a static oven at 100° for at least 30 minutes (you can place them in a pan without the lid). This will sanitize the jars and prevent them from breaking when filled with hot marmalade.
- Continue to mix the marmalade for about 40 minutes – 1 hour, until the reduction reaches the optimum consistency. The orange marmalade will be ready when, by transferring a drop on a plate and tilting it, the drop will not run.
- Pour the hot marmalade into the jars, which are also hot.
- Once each jar is filled, close the lid firmly and immediately turn the jar to start the formation of the vacuum.
- To facilitate the process, place the filled jars upside down in the same pan you used previously and allow to cool completely with the oven off and closed (about 4-5 hours).
- Voila, your Sicilian orange marmalade is ready!
Note! The cooking time of the marmalade and the final weight may vary according to the amount of juice present in the pulp. The more the juice, the longer the boiling time required and the less pulp remaining after cooking.
How to store homemade marmalade
The jars can be stored in a cool and dry place for 10 – 12 months if well sealed. Once opened, the orange marmalade should be kept in the fridge and consumed within 1 week.
For an optimal consumption, it is always good to make sure that the vacuum is present before opening the jar (if you do not hear a “click clack” when pressing the center of the lid, then the jar is vacuum packed).
If you liked this article on Sicilian orange marmalade by Francesca Spanò, how about spoiling it on your next trip to Sicily? Have a nice holiday!