When the Recipe is Right: Remaking Orange Vanilla Bean Marmalade

#365daysofbakingPart of this whole #365daysofbaking challenge was to figure out which recipes work and which ones do not. Let’s just say the blog I found for orange marmalade didn’t work as written, and I’m not real keen on going back and picking up the pieces to make it work.

Nonetheless, every fail pisses me off. I’m the moron who thinks every recipe should work, quite simply because I make it.

Hubris will get ya’ every time.

I should also know that there are tried and true recipes from companies that just get certain things, aka Kraft, the people who make Sure-Jell Fruit Pectin. While you can royally fuck up commercial pectin recipes – and you likely will when you first set out on your joyous canning adventures – once you learn the tricks of the trade and the nuisances of certain brands, commercial pectin is your canning BFF. My cranberry, my grapefruit, and this orange vanilla bean marmalade all set up exactly as I wished they would.

Now, for you purists who loathe commercial pectin and want the traditional method – aka painfully long in time and labor, in my humble opinion – have a gander at The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook by Rachel Saunders [Dammit, the price has come down, even on Amazon. I bought this cookbook from the Culinary Institute in Calistoga, CA for $40!].

I own this cookbook, love this cookbook – the images are stunning – but won’t likely make too many recipes from it. I might. A few…maybe… but there are lots of the ingredients I could not get my hands on in northern New England. Having said that, it is chocked full of traditional methods that take days to make in gorgeous cooper pots. To each their “I have three days to spend on marmalade” own.

Me? I like commercial pectin as it kinda allows me to control the outcome, to a large degree. Plus, I don’t want to waste precious time, but more importantly, precious ingredients.

Thank you Kraft for this orange marmalade recipe made with Sure-Jell.

My Thoughts After Making:

  1. The recipe calls for 4 medium oranges and 2 medium lemons in the ingredient list. I needed almost 2x this to get the required 4 cups of prepared fruit, and I used large navel oranges. Once I painstakingly got all the fruit together, I got that favorite sight I adore when I add the sugar and watch it all start to come together as marmalade:IMG_7002
  2. The recipe says this will make 7 half pints, but I ended up with 8 half pints. I always prepare several more jars than needed because I never know when I’ll need more. I easily doubled the recipe, and was rewarded with 16 beauties.IMG_7004
  3. As you can see in the 1st picture and the picture below, I decided to add the vanilla bean paste to this recipe that I kinda absolutely knew would work because of the commercial pectin, and the results were delicious. Still, I’d knock down that 1 tsp vanilla bean paste to about 1/2 tsp. Just personal preference.
  4. Look at how beautifully the peel suspends throughout the entire jar. And those flecks o’ vanilla…:IMG_7003

I will also make this without the vanilla bean paste for a “true” orange marmalade, but the addition of the vanilla bean paste adds a nice warmth, truth be told.

If you’re wondering if I leave my comments on these blogs and sites from which I get the recipes… Yes. Yes, I do. I kindly (and sometimes painfully because I just want to blast them out of the water) leave polite comments about the failure and how they should rewrite the recipe so it actually meets with constant success.

No. No one responds.

Shocker.

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