I like sweet-tart jams, and this marmalade is one of the best I've tried. Tangy orange accepts a sweet hug from bright-red pomegranate, and the whole thing is given a happy, drunk kiss from a touch of tequila. The alcohol mostly boils off, leaving a complex flavor, a touch of bitter orange, and the autumn depth of pomegranate.
Little bits of orange and orange zest add a lively texture to this tenderly bitter marmalade, which goes well on toast with a cup of tea. Make sure to strain your pomegranate seeds out of your juice before cooking with it—they don't add anything positive to the texture!
Note: This recipe involves cutting oranges into segments, a method also called supreming an orange. Click here for a tutorial on how to segment citrus.
- 4 pounds navel oranges, scrubbed clean
- 1 1/2 cup freshly squeezed or store-bought pomegranate juice, strained of seeds
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup high quality tequila
- 4 cups sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Place a small plate in the freezer so you can test jam for proper thickness later. Make sure your jars and lids are sterilized and ready to go.
Use a zester to remove zest from oranges. Add zest to a large, deep, heavy-bottomed pot. Remove remaining peels from oranges. Wrap peels in cheesecloth, secure with butcher's twine, and add to pot.
Use a sharp knife to cut oranges in between the pith into clean segments, making sure to work over a bowl to catch any escaping juice. Squeeze remaining pith and discard. (See video instructions here). Pulse oranges in a food to chop the segments into coarse chunks that are about 1/2-inch across, 2 to 3 short pulses. Add oranges to the pot with zest and peels. Strain juice you saved while segmenting oranges and add it to the pot, along with pomegranate juice.
Add 1 1/2 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, lower heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cool, remove the bag of peels from the pot and gently squeeze juice from the bag. Do not wring it completely, which will make marmalade bitter—just release any loose, excess juice absorbed by peels and then discard the bag.
Add tequila, sugar, butter, and salt to the pot, stirring well to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until fruit begins to bubble and spit. Cook for 30 minutes longer, stirring frequently to keep fruit from burning.
Begin testing marmalade for doneness: Spread 1/2 teaspoon of cooked fruit on the cold plate and place it back in the freezer. Wait 30 seconds, then run your finger through fruit. It should be thick enough to maintain a path when you run your finger through it. If you’d like thicker marmalade, place the plate back in the freezer and cook fruit for another 4 minutes and test again. Repeat until desired thickness is achieved, but be careful about cooking too long or you will alter the taste of your marmalade.
Remove pot from heat and use a spoon to skim any foam from the surface of the fruit. Ladle marmalade into sterilized jars and process them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Unopened jars will keep at room temperature for up to 6 months. Opened marmalade should be refrigerated.
Cheesecloth, 8-ounce sterilized mason jars, water bath for processing