Winter is coming to an end and the breeze is carrying whispers of spring. The first few months of the year were always the citrus recipe season in my childhood. All through January, Feb and March mum would make candied orange peel, candied clementine balls and jars upon jars of this orange jam I am sharing with you today. Through the following months of the year we would get to enjoy this jam with toast in the morning, mum would also use it to make bar cookies and it was her secret ingredient she added to smoothies. It added sweetness and a blast of flavor to anything it is put into.
The recipe is really simple yet the end result is enough to make you swear never to buy orange jam again.
1 kg orange segments
750 grams to 1 kg (4-5 cups ) sugar
1 cup orange juice
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup of thinly slices orange peel (optional)
If you want to add the peel to the jam peel the oranges as thinly as possible, try to get the colored part only.
Remove the white part of the peel, discard.
Cut the oranges into 1 cm segments, add the sugar and let it stand for a couple of hours (this will draw out the juices of the orange segments)
Remove the seeds(they will float on top of the juice)
In a pot, add the orange segments, sugar, lemon juice and orange juice.
Bring to a boil over medium low heat stirring occasionally.
When the mixture comes to a boil reduce the heat to low and stir every few minutes to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
Simmer over low heat until the mixture is reduced to 1/3 the original amount and the consistency is thick (this should take an hour to an hour and a half)
If you plan on adding the orange peel, after the mixture has reduced to 1/2 its original size (40-50 minutes into cooking) add the peel.
Allow the mixture to cool completely away from any sources of moisture. I cover the pot with a clean cloth while cooling, don’t use the lid of the pot, if you do the hot steam might condense into water drops and if water gets into the jam it goes bad.
Once the mixture has cooled, fill it into jars.
You can double or half the recipe, the key is using equal amounts of orange and sugar.
Adding the orange peel will enhance the flavor of the jam and it will also act as a natural thickening agent.
Cook the jam to the point of having the consistency of a thick cake batter, remember it will thicken even more as it cools down.
The amount of sugar depends on the way you want to store the jam, if you want to keep it in the fridge use 750 grams of sugar. If you want to keep it outside the fridge use 1 kg sugar. I prefer using less sugar because that allows the fruit flavor to shine