January canning: Chile Mandarin Marmalade, with a spritz of Ginger {Giveaway}

Remembering my New Year's goals while at the grocery yesterday, I noticed that organic mandarin oranges were on sale and bought about 4 pounds with a plan to find a recipe for orange marmalade that I could modify to fit what I was imagining.

With a bit of memory pulling and help of Google Reader, I referenced back to the citrus challenge from  the Can Jam recipes hosted by Tigress in a Jam and the recipe index from one of my favorites blogs to follow, Food in Jars. Ultimately I chose the Orange-Ginger marmalade recipe as my guide, adding 4 serrano chiles to the recipe and specifying my oranges to be the mandarin variety. I upped the ginger to a big chunk about 3.5 inches long, but otherwise kept the recipe the same. Also, I realized my knife wasn't sharp enough and my patience steady enough to dice all those oranges, so I called my $5 goodwill food processor to the rescue. It's small, and I could only chop 2 oranges at a time but it was easier and faster that way.

4 lbs organic oranges* (total 12 mandarins), finely chopped
4 cups sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
3.5 inches ginger, diced
4 serrano chiles, finely diced
1 package pectin

* I think it's important to use organic fruit/vegetables when you plan to consume the rind/peel/skin, etc. When foodstuffs are fertilized or have pesticides applied those chemicals are typically concentrated on the outside. The cost in not much more to buy organic, so this may be something to consider.

Following the prep, I combined all ingredients (except pectin) for about 20 minutes, then added the pectin and simmered 10 more. I hot-packed the sterile jars and processed in the water-bath canner (boiling water) for about 10-12 minutes. The pinging sound was music to my ears as each and every jar sealed.

So here we are: Chile Mandarin Marmalade, with a spritz of ginger.

I am pleased with the appearance, texture (it seems to be gelling well), and experience. The flavor? Well, to be honest, I'd never had orange marmalade before and my reading beforehand introduced me to the concept of bittering agents in sweet jellies (the function of the rind in this case). Of course, reading about bitters and eating bitters are two different things! I think it's an acquired taste. There was a bit leftover that I spooned into a jar and stuck in the refrigerator, but not before I tried it with a cracker and cheese. Zing! Zing on the back of my tongue, a bit of after-pucker that I'm not accustomed to. I will eat this diligently and learn to love it by the end of my 7 half-pints and 7 four-ounce jars, probably spreading it on crackers with chevre, diluting for a stir-fry dressing, and slathering home-baked biscuits and scones. We'll see.

Are you interested in tasting my home-canned marmalade? I plan to give away two of the 4oz jars to my readers by random drawing. Leave me your name, and if I do not personally know you be sure to leave a way to get in contact with you (email address, website, etc).The drawing will be in one week, on Sunday February 6th.


  1. I love making jellies, but this concoction would be wonderful. I might make the recipe myself. Thanks for inspiring me.

  2. I would love to try it. It sounds super delicious.


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