This is a niche post, for the benefit of a select band of pot plant owners. In short, if you own one of these ornamental orange trees (left, as seen on the Cherry Heaven site), this one is for you.
Regular readers and subscribers to this blog may recall that some weeks ago, a post called Frugal Grandma’s Jam Explosion detailed the many different jam pots heaped into my arms by my clever (and sweet-toothed) Frugal Grandma. Among them was an unusual marmalade, made by Frugal Grandma from the tiny oranges that grow on an ornamental plant in her conservatory.
Miss Thrifty reader Angela got in touch to ask if Frugal Grandma would share her recipe:
“My friend has one of these plants with loads of lovely looking oranges and she told me you couldn’t eat them so it would be nice to be able to make something with them.”
I know what Angela means: FG has had her orange tree for more than 20 years now, and the little oranges it produces look so good. They range in size from large marbles to large gobstoppers. Sadly they are as sharp and unpalatable as fresh lemons, but it seems such a shame to waste them.
Over to Frugal Grandma:
I never follow an exact recipe but, as a rule of thumb. you are looking at 1 lb oranges to just over 1 lb sugar.
You can make this up to a larger amount by using any “sad” oranges, lemons, limes or grapefruits that you want to use up.
I have got a lovely machine that slices and grates, although I do get rather a lot of large-ish bits of peel in my preserves. Cut up all the lumps you can manage (I do this with kitchen scissors) or, if you have to do it by hand, slice the peel as thinly as you can. I bet it gets thicker as you go on…
I use the whole fruit, but you may wish to remove the pips. I only remove the ones that make themselves easily removable. (Editor’s note: I’d leave them in! They contain natural pectin, which helps the marmalade to set. If you take them out, you may want to use jam sugar, which has pectin added.)
Cook the shredded fruit until the peel is soft with about a pint of water to 1 lb of fruit. You may need less water with a larger quantity of fruit. If you are using an open saucepan, I recommend that you add more water. This part of the recipe is very important, because if that orange peel is not cooked until it is soft, it will go very hard and unchewable in the sugar. Alternatively, if you have a pressure cooker, cook the peel for 10 minutes and leave to cool until the pressure is released.
Once the fruit is really soft (tested by teeth), add the 1 lb of sugar and stir until it is dissolved.
Boil briskly for 20-30 minutes until the marmalade sets on a cold plate. Better still, use a thermometer.
Lots of recipes say boil for 10-15 mins, but we like our marmalade fairly thick.
Hope this helps !
P.S. How strange that I made 12 jars of orange and lemon marmalade this morning – and, for the first time in years and years, I wasn’t using my own oranges. My little tree decided to have a rest and had a blind year this year. Not even one flower, let alone fruit.
Love from Frugal Grandma x