My First Canning Project

It sounded exotic: Blood Orange and Grapefruit Marmalade. It also had fresh and candied ginger in the recipe. Something a little out of the ordinary, but also looked relatively easy. I bought the ingredients, then hemmed and hawed for a couple of days. Scary, this whole canning business thingy. Botulism, jams that don't set, and what if it didn't taste good? Oh my!

I finally got over myself, and gave it a shot. It's gonna take two weeks to jell properly, but initial taste tests are looking good. Here's the photo goodness, click for larger photos:

The gingers: candied and fresh. That little white grater at the bottom of the page? Worth its weight in GOLD. Spouse had been using a microplaner to grate ginger before, but I grated two tablespoon's worth in less than 30 seconds. Alton Brown finger-waggle against single-task tools be d@mned, this one's a keeper.

The ruby red grapefruit and blood oranges, ready to be pulsed. The thing I liked about this recipe is that you cut the fruit up into chunks, and then use the whole kit-and-kaboodle. No slicing away of pith or any other delicate maneuverings.

The citrus, pulsed. Looks kinda like hamburger meat. Mmm, hamburger marmalade...

The stovetop setup. Just right for the job. The water bath pot is the perfect size, covering two burners at once. The grey cooking pot to the right is our trusty Le Crueset, in which we bake bread, make soup, roast chickens, and now make marmalades. Good heavy pot, and the marmalade did not stick or burn. The back burner held the pan with the simmering canning jars, ready to be filled.

After being filled, then 15 minutes in the water bath, the end result. Gorgeous color. As I type, I'm hearing the canning lids being vacuumed-sealed into place by the cooling marmalade. The finger tip taste out of the pot wasn't as intense as I was hoping, but it had a nice balance of sweet and tart. I'm hoping the flavors deepen during the jelling process. I'll get back to you on that once the marmalades have set, in two weeks [Wait, TWO WEEKS? D@yumm!]


  1. That sounds wonderful! Blood orange season here in NorCal is short - the farmer's market only has them a couple weeks of the year. Due to my stubbornness, we missed them this year!

  2. Beautiful, and looks like a pretty easy assembly. Where did you get the white grater? Grating ginger is my least favorite task as I am usually adding my personal blood to the mix as I grate my knuckles. BTW, can't get botulism from this because the clostridia botulium orgs hate the high-acid environment and won't grow, that is why you can use the hot water method and don't have to use the really scary pressure cooker. Great post, thanks.

  3. @Chance: I got this one from Whole Foods, but here's the exact same one for $5.95 thru Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/clav8a

  4. Lookin' good. If you are ever interested in my process which is a bit different than yours, let me know. (Don't do the water bath after filling hot jars.)

    You are on your way. Good girl! :)

  5. Deb, if you heat the marmalade mixture to a rolling boil and stir to prevent burning, it should reach the jellying stage at around 45 minutes.

    Your jars should be hot, lids in hot water as well. Just put the marmalade in the hot jars, wipe rim with hot cloth, put on the lid and screw band on firmly, but not tight.

    Place in a non drafty area and let sit for 24 hours. Leave at least an inch between the jars as they cool and they should seal just fine. No water bath needed. I do all my canning this way if there is enough acid in the mixture.

    My Ball Blue Book from 1960 provides the same steps above for marmalade. However, on Ball's website, they have added the water bath step. Some may disagree with me, but I have never used the water bath method on marmalade, tomatoes, salsa, pickles, and no problems. It's up to you of course. It's just a whole lot easier without the bath. Let me know if you have any questions - you can email me from my blog. :)

  6. @S_Vandemore: many thanks for the canning technique, will try it out next time!

  7. I'm with Vandemore. I have used the automatic dishwasher method of preparing jars for chutneys, jams, jellies for years with great success. Run them all the way through the cycle with a heated dry cycle. Pull them out individually, close the machine again. Make sure the lids have been boiled. Fill hot jars to within 1/4" of top, wipe the rim, put a hot lid on, twist on a ring, and flip them upside down on a cutting board for 5 minutes. After that, flip them right side up and listen for the lovely "ping" sound as they cool. I've had near perfect success with this method. You're particular enough about keeping things hot and wiping rims that you're bound to succeed well too.

    Canning chutneys, jams and jellies is GRAND FUN and the reason why I want that fruit tree in the yard. Homemade preserves make great gifts! A favorite book for impressive combinations: PERFECT PRESERVES by Nora Carey.
    Hugs to you!

  8. @Lizard - I like your dishwasher technique, very cool. I'll definitely put the preserves book on the wish list! BTW, when we meet you in Vegas, I'll bring out a jar of the marmalade. I feel like a big girl now, hee!

  9. Good for you...starting exotic...that stuff looks awesome! We almost never have problems with stuff setting...hope you have that luck too!


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