Even if you don’t come from a household where nothing says “Happy holidays” like a bunch of rind-on citrus stewed in sugar, this recipe might butter your toast. It’s from The Herbfarm Cookbook, the house organ of Jerry Traunfeld’s storied Herbfarm restaurant in Woodinville, Washington, northeast of Seattle in the Sammamish River valley. In businesss since 1986, the Herbfarm was one of the first restaurants in the country to go all seasonal and sustainable, complete with a farm, greenhouses, and, duh, an herb garden. Fresh herbs are the inspiration for Traunfeld’s cooking, and here the addition of fresh rosemary to the simmering citrus stew gives the finished marmalade, a challenging preserve too sharp for many tastes, a surprisingly mellow, piney, smoky note.
- Cut into quarters and very thinly slice and seed 2 1/2 pounds blood or Valencia oranges and 2 large lemons. Keep the skin on.
- Cover with cold water in a large, heavy-bottomed pot and let sit for 12 to 24 hours.
- Place pot on stove and bring to a boil. Cook for 1/2 hour, stirring regularly.
- Stir in 8 cups sugar and a bundle of 6 rosemary sprigs wrapped in cheesecloth.
- Cook at a low boil for, according to the recipe, another 15 to 30 minutes or, according to me, another two hours. Take care not to burn the bottom of the pot. During this period of stirring and simmering, you’ll also spend a lot of time watching your rosemary bundle unwrap and eventually give up on keeping the herbs all contained.
- When the stuff has boiled down to a reasonably thickish consistency, test by placing a drop on a chilled plate. Put it in the fridge for a minute, then poke it with your finger. If it wrinkles then you’re ready to move on. If not, keep stirring. Repeat wrinkle test. When you think it’s done, fish out the by-now limp and gray pieces of rosemary.
- Meanwhile, you should be boiling six pint Ball jars and lids for ten minutes in a separate pot on the stove. Go here for more on sterilization and canning.
- Remove jars from the boiling water with tongs, one at a time, and fill with marmalade to within 1/2″ of the rim. Seal and invert each jar on a clean towel for five minutes. Then flip them back over again and make sure they’re sealed: the lid of the jar shouldn’t move when touched.
- Let the marmalade set overnight–and that’s it.