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The Queen-like Closet (1675) - LXXXVI. To make the best Orange Marmalade. - Orange Marmalade

The Queen-like Closet (1675) - LXXXVI. To make the best Orange Marmalade. - Orange Marmalade
In a few months I will be cooking a luncheon for a very special group of people. I'm honored to have been asked to do this. No pressures :-) but I have challenged myself to serve a mostly period set of dishes and among the dishes I am preparing to serve is orange marmalade. I have been eager to try this dish since I first saw the instructions in Hannah Woolley's (1622-1675) The Queen-like Closet OR RICH CABINET Scored with all manner of RARE RECEIPTS FOR Preserving, Candying and Cookery. and now I have the perfect excuse! Granted the book was published a little later then the period we use in the SCA, I believe it is a representation of dishes that were used very late in period.

I was fortunate to run across some blood oranges marked down because they were not perfect. I love blood oranges and used them to make this dish. It is sweeter then I would have expected but I am going to have a hard time keeping it until September! EVERYONE who has tried it has liked it, and it uses the part of the fruit that most people would throw away. I like to save my orange and lemon peels to make candied peels. It only takes a few hours of time and it makes a lovely presentation at the end of a feast or to put out for lunch, or even a quick snack when you are on the run. I had no difficulty having enough peel to make this marmalade.

LXXXVI. To make the best Orange Marmalade.

Take the Rinds of the deepest coloured Oranges, boil them in several Waters till they are very tender, then mince them small, and to one pound of Oranges, take-a Pound of Pippins cut small, one Pound of the fi∣nest Sugar, and one Pint of Spring-water, me't your Sugar in the Water over the fire, and scum it, then put in your Pippins, and boil them till they are very clear, then put in the Orange Rind, and boil them together, til you find by cooling a little of it, that it wil jelly very well, then put in the Iuice of two Oranges, and one Limon, and boil it a lit∣tle longer; and then put it up in Gally-pots.

86. To make the best Orange Marmalade

Take the rinds of the deepest colored oranges, boil them in several waters till they are very tender, then mince them small, and to one pound of oranges, take a pound of pippins (apples) cut small, one pound of the finest sugar, and one pint of spring-water, melt your sugar in the water of the fire, and scum it, then put in your pippins, and boil them till they are very clear, then put in the orange rind, and boil them together, til you find by cooling a little of it, that it will jelly very well, then put in the juice of two oranges and one lemon, and boil it a little longer; and then put it up in gally-pots.

Interpreted Recipe

1 pound of orange peel
1 pound -or- 2 cups apple sauce (unsweetened natural)
1 pound of sugar
2 cups water 
Juice of 2 oranges
Juice of 1 lemon

This recipe made 4 8-ounce jelly jars of marmalade.  I first cut the peels into like sized pieces and boiled in water several times.  I usually bring the first water to boil and boil for five minutes to remove as quickly as possible any dye and bitterness. Then I drain the peels and on the second boiling boil again for five minutes before draining.  When I do the final boiling I boil till tender.  I wish I could give you a magic number for how long you should boil "until tender" but I think it depends on the age of the fruit, and the thickness.  When you can easily pierce with a fork or toothpick it's done.  The average time is
about 15 to 20 minutes.

I then drained the peels a final time and let cool enough I could easily handle them and minced them small.  When they were minced I had about 2 cups of peels.  I started using apple sauce when I started making fruit paste for the pectin to thicken my fruit pastes, which is why I knew I could use natural, unsweetened applesauce in lieu of the pippins called for in this recipe.  What I have discovered using applesauce for it's pectin instead of pectin is that sometimes your pastes, candies or jellies will set up long before the reach the standard height for sugar cookery.  It is also possible that my digital thermometer is no longer dependable. My modern recipes for orange marmalade advised that I cook the marmalade till it reached 222-223 degree's. But what happened was that it was ready to be put in the jars before it reached that height.  
The instructions indicated that you wanted the same amount of apples as oranges, so I added the water, applesauce and sugar to a pot and heated until the sugar had melted, then added the orange peels. At this point I baby sat the mixture, stirring constantly until I noticed that the marmalade had thickened and that my spoon was leaving a noticeable trail behind it.  My digital thermometer was reading 214 degrees and I agonized over letting it cook further or not.  I did add the orange and lemon juice to the mixture and cooked another five minutes before pulling the pot off the stove and canning the jelly.  At this point, the jelly that spattered was setting on impact on the counter, the stove and me! It was done.  

This is truly one of the best orange marmalades I have ever tasted, much better then commercially made.  The sample 8 ounce jar I kept back was inhaled by the taste testers and their friends.  I strongly recommend that you consider making your own to serve at a future event, to give away as largesse, etc. When properly canned, your items can be put up and used as frequently as you wish.  



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