Sweet orange marmalade and some equally sweet awards!

Have you ever smelled an orange blossom in an orange field? If you haven't let me tell you that it is one of the most delicate and refreshing scents ever! I stayed in southern California for a couple of years and our winter weekend gateway there used to be hiking in the nearby hills where due to the elevation it would somehow seem more wintry (well, relatively atleast :D). We used to start early in the morning; hike during the day; grab a cup of coffee and then head back down in the evening. While driving back to the city we would pass through these gigantic orange fields in bloom and oh boy, I would just open up the car windows and let the most refreshing citrusy scent fill up my nose and my mind!

Its amazing how our mind associates foods with memories! Last weekend local farmer's market carried such fresh and sweet varieties of navel oranges, satsumas, mandarins, meyer lemons that for a moment unknowing to myself I flashed back to those SoCal winter evenings! I couldn't resist picking a few navel oranges for some home-made orange marmalade. The store-bought marmalades are okay but I feel they are a tad too sweet and not orangy enough. So I usually make my own take on it. Contrary to perception orange marmalades is one of the easiest things to make. I usually make a very small amount that I can finish off in a couple of weeks, so I don't need to worry about the nitty-grittys of canning.

(Follow the read more link below for the rest of the recipe)
Source: Adapted from Alton Brown recipe here.
3 large navel oranges (organic preferred -- see note)
1/2 lemon
1C orange juice
1C water
1/2C sugar or honey (original recipe called for double the sweetner)
1 cardamom
pinch of dried ginger (optional)
pinch of salt

    1.  Using a grater zest the oranges and lemon to produce around 1/2C of peel.
   2. Using a knife chop off the tops and bottoms of the oranges so they stand well. Remove the white skin around the oranges, like so:

   3. Cut the oranges into slices. Remove as much of white stuff (pith, skin and membrane) as you can and set the orange flesh aside. I got around 2.5C of orange flesh from 3 oranges.
   4. In a stainless-steel heavy bottomed pan add orange flesh, juice of half a lemon, water and orange juice. Heat on medium high heat until the mixture starts to boil.
   5. Once it starts boiling reduce the heat to simmer and let simmer (uncovered) for 40minutes or so until the oranges have pretty much fallen apart.
   6. Now add orange peel, sugar, cardamom, salt and ginger powder and let cook for 20mins more until the mixture darkens in color.
   7. Meanwhile, set a small plate in freezer for 15-20mins. The taste of done-ness for marmalade is to add a small teaspoonful on the frozen plate and move the plate back to freezer. After 3 minutes if the marmalade has  set well (not runny and not very hard) then the marmalade is ready.
   8. If its too runny, let cook for some more time. If very hard, then add some more orange juice and cook for a few more minutes. Remove from heat, let it cool.
   9. Heat a very clean glass jar with 1Tbsp water in microwave for a minute. Take it out. Pour the marmalde in the glass jar, cover tightly.

  1. I love to use orange peels in my marmalade.. since we are using the skin of oranges I feel its best to use organic oranges here which have less likelihood of carrying the pesticides or waxy residues on the skin.
  2. My oranges were super-sweet so 1/2C sugar was all I needed. You may increase sugar to 1C depending on your sweet-tooth and the sweetness of oranges :)
  3. If you are making a larger batch or want to preserve the marmalde for longer than a few weeks, proper canning procedures are highly recommended. You can read here for the canning procedures.
  4. Orange peels are very healthy and I love the slight edge they give to the marmalade.. they do have a bit of bitterness though, so feel free to skip the peels if you wish or use peels of just one orange instead of all three.
Okay, now some award time! Recently three of the fellow bloggers pleasantly surprized me with these lovely awards:

First stop is Dolly of Curry and beyond fame who awarded me this beautiful blogger award. Dolly has a most wonderful blog with delicious home-cooked recipes and equally warm writeups! Do stop by at hers! Thanks Dolly!

The second one is an award which was so graciously given to me by not one but two of the fellow bloggers. SE of Denufood and Sayantani of A Home-makers diary. SE has a great space with some scrumptious Marathi recipes and some of the most unique and delicious recipes from all-around the world! Do check-out her blog at Denufood.

Have you ever seen a rose-garden so very beautiful and at the same time so very delicious? If not, you must visit Sayantani here for her edible rose-garden :) With her warm writeups and creative artwork, you will be hooked onto her blog in no-time! Thanks SE and Sayantani both for this Creative Blogger award:

Now as part of this award I have got to share 7 secrets about myself. So here you go (oh and don't run away from this blog after you have read these ;)

  • I have an unreasonable and totally illogical fear of amusement park rides - particularly the scary ones and have escaped ridding even a single one for last 10 some years!
  • I have always loved the concept of gardening and have always imagined myself to own at some point a decent enough yard where I will grow all the vegetables and fruits! I say concept because all my real-life attempts at gardening have been disastrous.. that too being in California! I have convinced that its not me but instead its because I am growing veggies and herbs in pots on my apartment balcony instead of in direct soil.. though there is no denying it, I really need some green thumb or some Gardening 101 class!
  • I love to read, knit and crochet. Major Jane Austen and Harry Potter fan!
  • I am a gym junkie.. love to workout and love equally to nag my husband to visit gym :)
  • Not much of a movie goer.. the last one I watched was like close to a year ago. But yes, before you get excited, Avatar is on my list next!
  • I come from a professional painting family.. my grandfather was a very well-known pro painter who used to do banners for all the big-hit Marathi movies at his time. How I wished I had inherited his painting gene, but alas.. I think it skips siblings :( My brother is an excellent sketch artist but there isn't much of a painting talent in me. Even as a kid I would dream of growing up to be this wonderful painter who when agitated or sad retreats to a painting room in her own house and paints for hours making a master-piece that people would oohh over.. well, I don't have a big house with a painting room and I certainly don't come anywhere close to the painting talent I imagined myself to have, but I do paint once in a while (acrylics) sitting in a corner of my tiny apartment :D, here is one of my latest one, its not very good by any means, but painting is indeed a great meditating art that I hope to continue pursuing!

I pass on both of these awards to all of my wonderful readers and fellow bloggers who visit this space and leave these encouraging words for me that surely make my day! Please feel free to collect it. You guys are the best, thanks! :)