Oranges have been ruling my fruit basket for over 2 months now. The whole of December saw us trying out the different varieties that have been flooding the supermarkets and I couldn't resist trying out different recipes with them. I have made several cakes and the marmalade has been made twice and gifted to people. There is so much joy in sharing homemade goodies, especially jams and pickles. Honestly, I am not much of a fan of oranges like my hubby and daughter are. I am not a fruit lover when it comes to eating them in their natural form but I love making things out of them. Over the past few years I had only made mocktails or used their juice or zest to flavour cakes. This time I took my craze for this citrus fruit to another level by cooking the whole fruit with sugar to result in the most delicious, preservative free jam or marmalade ever! It really helped that the supermarket I frequent had a sale on Spanish navel oranges one day. A 3 kilo bag was being sold for AED 11 (approx Rs 200). A single bottle of jam/marmalade usually costs more than that.
Well, if you think that I got it right on my first attempt you are wrong. It is very very important to know the setting point for jams. If you cross that point you get a very thick and hard jam that will refuse to leave the bottle let alone spread out on your bread. A candy thermometer is a blessing if you have one but I decided not to use mine and keep an eye on the mixture instead and make sure that my jam didn't flop the first time around. I was so wrong. I made too many mistakes and the first batch was hard as a rock! Well, not quite. It was still edible but such a big disappointment.