I always thought that I didn't care much for marmalade; it was either too bitter, had too much peel, the peel was tough or it just tasted like it had been cooked to death. Several years ago I realized that I LOVE marmalade, if it's prepared correctly- having none of the above personality defects. I started making my own (sometimes crazy) versions and have had a lot of fun experimenting with different fruit and spice combinations.
I think this Clementine and Cranberry Marmalade is my favorite thus far; it's bright, fresh, sweet and................. just so lovely to look at on a slice of toast or English muffin or in a pretty clear jelly jar. It's also delicious for glazing a ham, drizzled over pound cake, on pancakes.... and talk about a gourmet PB&J! Combine it with a splash of balsamic vinegar along with a touch of Sriracha and you have a quick, easy, fun and festive appetizer served over cream cheese with crackers along side. The wonderful uses for this condiment are really endless.
One of the secrets of retaining the fresh taste of the fruit is using the freezer jam method which avoids cooking the fruit and sugar for hours on end, resulting in a drab, dull taste and color. There's no pot-watching as in the traditional method and the hands-on time is minimal. The mixture does have to sit in "time-out" with an occasional stir until all the sugar is dissolved, but I have a little trick to help speed up this process which I share in the directions below.
I really enjoy having jam in my freezer; it's great to pull out for a hostess gift, a yummy treat for a neighbor or just to tell someone who's having a tough day that you care about them. It seems that everyone appreciates a bit of sweet, heavenly, fruity love in a jar! Now is the perfect time to whip up a batch or two of this yummy treat - you'll love having it for the holidays!
Oh, and if you're in the neighborhood, stop over for lunch.............. it might not be super-duper-fancy-dancy, but I've got lots of this wonderful Clementine Cranberry Marmalade and a bunch of Indian Flat Bread to go with it! We'll just chat and get to know each other a little better! 🙂
2 cups prepared fruit - clementines vary greatly in size - this will determine how many you'll need. I had fairly large clementines and I used about 8 of them.
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
4¼ cups sugar, measured into separate bowl (measure carefully! and don't use more or less - making jam is a precise science and it won't turn out right if the ingredients are not accurately measured)
1 cup dried cranberries
¾ cup water
1 box powdered fruit pectin, I used Sure Jell
1. Wash and dry your glass jars - mixture will make slightly more than 5 cups of marmalade. You can use any size jars.
2. Remove colored part of peel from the oranges using a vegetable peeler. Cut the peel into thin slivers, or finely chop. I use one of these zesters - it works perfectly to remove the peel in small slivers. Peel and discard remaining white part of peel from the clementines. Coarsely chop the fruit, reserving any juice. Mix with the slivered peel along with the lemon juice. Measure 2 cups of the fruit mixture into large microwave safe bowl. Add sugar and stir for 3-4 minutes.
3. This is the little trick I told you about in the post. Freezer jam can be a bit grainy as it is hard to dissolve all the sugar. This trick will prevent the grainy problem - place bowl with fruit mixture in the microwave and heat on high for 3 minutes. Remove and stir again for another 1-2 minutes. Let mixture sit for an hour or two, stirring occasionally. If all sugar is not dissolved after 1-2 hours repeat microwave step and stir well. After all sugar is dissolved, add dried cranberries.
4. Mix water and pectin in small saucepan. Bring to boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 min. Add to fruit mixture; stir for another 3 minutes.
5. Fill jars to within ½ inch of tops. Wipe off top edges of containers; immediately cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Marmalade is now ready to use. Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or freeze extra containers up to 1 year. Thaw before using.