Ask Evan: What is Your Favorite Way to Make Orange Marmalade?

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Every Tuesday I answer a question from a Good Food listener. You can email me a question, leave one on Facebook or add one in the comments section here. This week’s came from Margot:

With a plethora of oranges in our urban garden, do you have a good recipe for orange marmalade. I’ve tried couple different ones, did not like how they came out!

Making Orange Marmalade is not Jam Making 101.  Think of it more like a graduate seminar.  Margot, I wish I knew what problems you had with the result of your first foray into marmalade making, but I’ll try to touch on some issues.  Because Marmalade  is filled with peel, bitterness is a prized part of the flavor profile of many recipes.  Some of us shy away from marmalade precisely because of that bitterness, but Marmalade lovers appreciate the complexity of a jam that expresses sweet, sour, bitter and fruit all in one punchy package.  I think one of the big mistakes people make is by using too much peel in the recipe which results in a need for a ton of sugar.  Also, overcooking the marmalade can result in a caramelized, nearly burnt flavor which accentuates the already bitter notes in the preserves.  I turn to small batch jam maker June Taylor of Northern California to show us the way to navigate through these strong flavors and come up with a deliciously palatable result.  Here is a link to her recipe for Thick Cut Orange Marmalade.