Today I’m so excited that I’m sharing with you one of most interesting marmalade recipes out there. Although I’m not a big fan of citrus jams in general, but definitely this one is an exception. Bitter orange marmalade has a rich flavor and delicious taste with balanced combination of sweetness and bitterness.
Bitter orange jam is a typical Ottoman dish which is widely known in Turkey as “turunç“. It is also known in Palestine but less commonly, where it’s called “mrabba khesh-kash”, “mrabba naranj”, or “zifer” as in Nablus.
I was very lucky to learn this recipe from one of few women who still make it the original way, year after year. All the credit goes to Mrs. Firyal Alul, thank you so much for keeping our heritage alive and for the love and patience you have shown…
- 2 kg bitter orange, thoroughly washed
- 1 kg sugar
- 1/2 kg water
Use stainless steel mandoline to thinly shave off the very outer skin of bitter oranges. Peel each bitter orange into 5 to 6 slices from top to bottom. Put orange peel in a deep cooking pot filled with boiled water and leave them for 3 minutes over a medium heat. Take them off the pot and soak them in another bowl filled with cold water. Change the cold water four to five times within 24 hours in order to get the strong bitterness out of them.
Cut each orange peel slice into two or three thinner slices. Wrap each peel slice to get the final form of rolled orange slices. In order to keep this form, place them in a long string using a steel needle. Knot the edges of the string together after having it filled with rolled slices. You might use three to five strings for this quantity of oranges.
Place a cooking pot over medium heat, add 1/2 kg of water (about 2.5 cups) and sugar and stir for 5 minutes until sugar gets dissolved. Add strings of rolled slices to the pot and leave them over low heat for about two hours while stirring from time to time until sugar syrup gets slightly thickened. (Test consistency of sugar syrup by taking a spoon of it and cool it down, you should get slightly thick syrup not too thick). Cut strings off the rolled slices and then add half cup of bitter orange juice (using same oranges of course), leave them over heat for another 15 minutes. Make sure to lift off formed foam. Place the marmalade into jam jars and keep them in the refrigerator.