There are a lot of misunderstandings about the use of sugar in preserving. One critic scolded me for not mentioning sugar as a preservative in my book, Well-Preserved. I didn’t because sugar is not a preservative, at least, not unless you use it to dehydrate a product, like, say, sugared ginger. In canning jams and jellies, sugar is used to enhance flavor, help hold the shape of fruit, and help jell the juice. None of those things actually preserve the food, but they do improve the quality of your end product. Honeybells are super sweet and I just couldn’t bear to apply my usual one to one, pulp to sugar ratio for citrus marmalade. So I was totally thrilled to discover the Honeybell peels had enough pectin to properly jell the marmalade even though I used 1/3 less sugar than I usually do! The result is really the best marm I’ve ever made.
- 5 to 6 Honeybell tangelos (for 3 cups Honeybell pulp)
- 1 scant cup Honeybell rind, cut into matchsticks
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups sugar
Adapted from blogs.denverpost.com
Remove the peel. With a sharp paring knife, remove the white pith from the inside of the peel. It’s okay if you don’t get it all. Cut the peel into thin matchsticks. Place in a small pot with the water and boil gently over a medium low heat until the peel is tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside. Do not drain.
Cut any white pith off the orange. Cut the Honeybells in half and remove the seeds. Place the Honeybells in a food processor and pulse to grind. Pour the pulp into a bowl, add the peel and water and refrigerate for a few hours. Up to over night is fine.
Pour the pulp, peel and water into a deep, wide heavy bottomed pot. Add the sugar and bring to a boil over a medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Watch to be sure the marmalade doesn’t foam up (you can add about a teaspoon of butter if it does, which will help settle down the foam). Boil at a moderately high boil for twenty minutes. The marmalade will look runny. It’s okay. Do a gel test: place a small amount of marmalade in a spoon in the refrigerator fro about 5 minutes. If it stiffens up the marmalade is ready.
Prepare the jars: sterilize 3 half-pint jars and bands (to sterilize boil the jars and bands for 10 minutes at sea level; add 1 minute for every 1,000 feet above sea level). Simmer new lids in hot water for a few minutes to soften the rubberized flange. (I just drop the lids into the hot sterilization water after I’ve taken it off the heat.)
Spoon the marmalade into the jars leaving ½ inch headroom. You can use quarter pint jars, as I have in the picture, but if you use pint jars you have to increase the processing time by five minutes plus altitude adjustments). Wipe the rims, place on the lids and screw on the bands fingertip tight.
Place in a pot with a rack and cover with two to three inches of water. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes at sea level (add 1 minute for every 1,000 feet above sea level). Remove the jars and place on a rack or cloth towel and allow to cool. Check the seal and store in a cool dark place for up to a year. Refrigerate after opening.