Monday, January 18, 2010

Tigress' Can Jam - Jamuary

Yea! I completed my first Can Jam!

January's produce-of-the-month was citrus. Any citrus. I've never canned citrus before, and wasn't certain what to make. I've always loved the taste of marmalade, but added a little twist, adding dried chilis for some kick. I thought pouring it over some goat or cream cheese would make a great snack or appetizer, and I love the idea of being able to whip out some marmalade and crackers from the pantry, cheese from the fridge, and voila, aren't I the good hostess?

I used a recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, Orange Chili Marmalade.

Orange Chili Marmalade

2-1/4 lbs oranges, seeded and thinly sliced*
grated zest and juice of one lemon
6 cups water
6 dried New Mexico chili peppers
9 cups granulated sugar

Bring to a boil over high heat, oranges, lemon juice and zest, and water. Boil gently for 40 minutes, stir occasionally. Add chili peppers, partially cover and boil gently 30 minutes**, stir occasionally. Discard peppers.

Boil over med-high heat, stirring constantly. Gradually add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, keeping it at a boil. Boil hard, stir occasionally, until gel stage, about 15-20 minutes.

Ladle into hot jars, 1/4 inch headspace. Process 10 minutes after coming to a boil in the canner. Turn off heat, remove lid and wait 5 minutes before removing from canner. Made nine half-pints.

* I sliced the oranges by hand, and the peel was really too large, even with my best effort. Next time I'll either use a food processor or mandoline to slice the oranges, and then chop the rind into smaller pieces.

** I wouldn't go over about 40 minutes here, or the peppers will fall apart, and you'll wind up with peppers in your marmalade.

As far as being local, organic, etc., citrus doesn't grow around here at all, so at minimum, my Cara Cara oranges came from over 800 miles away in California, and the lemon from further than that. Both were organic, however. My sugar came from Paraguay, organic and fair trade. I had a heck of a time finding any of the peppers listed in the original recipe (dried habeneros, Colorado or New Mexico peppers). New Mexico peppers were the only ones I could find, organic or not (they're not).

As far as taste goes, I think it needs about a month to "meld". It tastes uber sugary right now, with not a lot of orange flavor in the jam, but the peel is very orangey. I would've wished for a bit more pepper flavor, too, but maybe that'll come through as the sugary taste wanes and the orange strengthens.


Daisy Driver said...

I'm going to have to try this!

randombitsofnonsense said...

Looks great! I'm a New Mexico girl so I have plenty of chile to experiment with. Going to have to give this a try as well!

Anonymous said...

Looks great! Yum!

Libby said...

Wow, spicy and sweet. Looks delicious!

Elle Ross said...

wow, all i can say is YUM!

Catalina said...

Mmmm what a great idea!
Yummy flavor combo!

Anonymous said...

I have some blood oranges sitting on my counter and was thinking about marmalade. Maybe I'll modify this recipe a bit and make something spicy for my heat-loving hubby!
Great job. :)

Anonymous said...

Not being familiar with New Mexico peppers, about how much dried or fresh pepper does it work out to (for substitution purposes)? And do you think it works better with dried or fresh peppers?

We had a chili-orange marmalade sauce over chicken at a restaurant recently, and I'd love to be able to make something similar at home. Thanks!

Kristi said...

New Mexico peppers are pretty mild. You can go to to see if there are any similar peppers that sound familiar. I think I would bump up the hotness factor a little if I made this again, but not by much. I think I would stay with dried peppers - fresh may break down too much during the cooking process. The chilis aren't meant to stay in the marmalade, just the flavor.