There are a few things that I look forward to in winter: cooler temperatures, allowing us to spend extended periods outdoors, winter holidays, and citrus fruit. Here in southern Texas, our winters are quite mild, and come December and January, the tangerines and lemons are ripe for picking. Having a good friend with a humongous tangerine tree definitely has its perks, and I don't mind picking for a couple of hours in the beautiful weather to take home a few bags of the sweet, juicy fruit.
Now, if you're one of my British friends, who are often marmalade purists, you appreciate the bitterness that comes with traditional marmalade. I, however, do not, which is why I was on the hunt for a different recipe. After a bit of searching, I found the best solution to my marmalade malady and tweaked it a bit to fit my tastes. Be warned, that when you finish the last jar, tears will be shed, and you will be wishing for winter's return.
Tangerine and Vanilla Bean Marmalade
(recipe adapted from Lemons and Lavender)
- 4 lbs. tangerines, washed, blemishes cut off of the skin, and cut in half lengthwise
- 2 Meyer lemons, washed and cut into quarters
- 9 cups of water
- 4 vanilla beans, cut in half and split down the center with a sharp paring knife
- 6 cups sugar
- 8 8oz. canning jars, seals and rings
Put the tangerine halves cut side down on the board and cut into 1/8" slices. Do the same with the lemon slices and place all of the fruit in a large bowl. I like my tangerine rind to be quite thin, but if you like your marmalade quite chunky, you can made the slices wider, at 1/4"
Add 9 cups of water, cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature overnight.
Transfer fruit & water mixture to a large pot (mine is 8 quarts and it works well for when the marmalade is boiling.)
Using a sharp knife, open up the slit that you made in the vanilla bean & scrape out all of the seeds, placing them in the pot with the fruit and water. Don't worry that they are all stuck together- when the mixture boils, the seeds will separate. Add the vanilla beans themselves into the pot as well.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow it to simmer, uncovered for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and add in all 6 cups of sugar. Stir well, and the sugar will dissolve in the hot mixture. Add a candy thermometer on the side of the pot so that you can check the temperature of the marmalade. Put the pot back on the stove and bring to a rolling boil, until the thermometer reads 220 degrees Fahrenheit, which will take about 1 hour and 15 minutes. You will start to hear that the boiling sounds differently, since the mixture is getting thicker. Start watching it closely around the 1 hour mark, and as soon as it reaches 220, take the mixture off of the heat. When it is getting close, you will want to get another large pot of water up to a boil, so that you can process your jars in the next step.
Divide the hot marmalade into eight 8oz. canning jars, placing a vanilla seed pod half into each jar. Put the seal on top and tighten the ring. Bring another large pot of water to a boil and place the jars of hot marmalade into the boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove from the boiling water and place on a rack to cool. You will hear the tops pop as they come down in temperature. By the time they are room temperature, you shouldn't be able to pop the top of the seal, and they are safe to keep in the cupboard. If you prefer to skip this step, you can keep your marmalade in air-tight containers in the fridge for 2 months.