But when my friend invited me to make and can my own blood orange and strawberry marmalade last week, I was hesitant. We had returned from France the day before and the day of the jam-making was my husband’s birthday. Yet it was Elliott who said, “Go! I want you to learn, and so do you!”
So my sweet husband watched our baby alone for several hours on his birthday, all hoping for the reward of some really good jam at the end of the day. I was determined not to disappoint him.
And I set off to learn. One of my friends directed as we other three women cut, chopped, boiled, and supremed at her direction. First we peeled the oranges:
Meanwhile, we put all the orange skins to boil on the stove. I cut up a big bowl of strawberries to mix in with the oranges.
We boiled all our jars on the stove to sterilize them. The jars had been the most enigmatic part of canning to me, but they turned out to be straightforward. We sterilized the jars and lids by boiling them for 10 minutes. We would boil them again when they were full of marmalade.
After the oranges were surpremed and the skins had boiled, we mixed the orange pulp, strawberries, and finely sliced orange skins all together.
And into the pot they went, along with quite a bit of sugar and the orange-flavored water that had been boiling with the orange skins.
And then we let the mixture bubble, boil, and steam for a loooong time. The candy thermometer had to get up to 225 F and it took about an hour to do so. Meanwhile all the windows in my friend Becca’s apartment steamed up and we basked in our own marmalade-scented sauna.