Bitter Heat ~ A Marmalade with Kick!
Now, that we are here (in Florida) and surrounded by all that southern goodness…you know the kind I mean; the oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, peppers, and all other colourful heat loving fruits and veggies, we just can’t stop ourselves from making some of our favorite preserves.
Last year, we made one batch of this marmalade which equates to approximately eight 250mL jars (1/2 pints)…not a lot but a lot when you consider we make about 20 different kinds of marmalade each year; it’s enough or at least that’s what we thought. But, one year later we’ve consumed each and every jar, leaving us pining for more! I can honestly say this one was a big hit and made our top 5, right between our favorite grapefruit marmalade and our pineapple ~ lime. It was one of Matt’s favorites because it packs the fiery heat he loves. For me, it borders on having too much heat but it’s a good kind of heat, the kind only habaneros and good scotch whiskey leave behind…if you know what I mean!?! It’s a heat that comes from behind but doesn’t burn the entire mouth.
RECIPE FOR BITTER HEAT MARMALADE:
- 2 1/4 pounds honey bell oranges; approximately 4 honey bells
- 2 small lemons; finely grated zest and juice
- 1/3 cup habanero peppers; approximately 3 habenaro peppers
- 6 cups water
- 8 cups sugar
- Wash oranges and lemons well. Place one small plate and several spoons in the freezer to check for doneness later on.
- Slice oranges into thin strips and then quarter.
- Combine oranges, lemon zest and juice and water in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut habaneros into fine pieces on a separate plate. Note: We always use a separate plate when cutting any kind of hot pepper and wearing gloves is also a good idea. This way you can be sure not to contaminate your cutting board and skin with that burning hot intensity these peppers pack.
- Add habaneros. Partially cover the pot and continue boiling for approximately 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Prepare for water-bath canning.
- Add sugar, stirring to combine. Boil hard, stirring occasionally for approximately 10-15 minutes or until mixture reaches gel stage. After about 10 minutes test for doneness using your frozen plate and/or spoons.
- Skim foam.
- Ladle hot marmalade into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot marmalade. Wipe rim with a damp paper towel. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to finger-tip tight.
- Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered by at least 1 inch of water. Bring to a full rolling boil and process for 10 minutes. Remover canner lid and wait 5 minutes before removing jars.
- Check seals, label jars, and store in a cool space for up to 1 year.
This marmalade can pack as much or as little heat as your taste buds can handle. If you like a marmalade with kick (or should I say punch) than, this is the one for you! If not, try it anyway using a milder pepper or by cutting back on the number of habaneros. Be sure to watch this one carefully as it approaches the final stage and start testing for doneness early. When using as much sugar as this recipe calls for it can set up a lot quicker than you’d expect. We may have over done it a little!?! Thankfully, this is one of our favorites and we will be making a second batch.
Put up Total:
- 5 x 250mL regular mouth diamond jars
- 1 x 500mL deco Weck jar
Day two and our pup is taking to the water like most labs do ~ he’s all in!