A long time ago, I stopped by to visit a friend from school, and his mom was busy making this incredibly wonderful smelling mixture of peaches and citrus and – surprise! – maraschino cherries!
Mrs. B called it marmalade, but I call it heaven on a Bay’s Sourdough English muffin – with just a schmear of soft Irish butter brushed on first.
Of course, Mrs. B bought her peaches fresh and peeled and sliced the lot…
Why would I, when I can score a large bag of quality sliced, organic frozen peaches for under $15 a bag?
I also switched up the brown sugar added, choosing to use this smoked brown sugar (available on Amazon) to add just a hint of depth to my marmalade.
And it was good. Let’s make a batch!
•1 navel orange, sliced*
•2 Clementines, sliced
•1/4 cup water
•6 cups peeled, sliced peaches
•4 cups sugar
•1 tbsp smoked brown sugar
•1/3 cup maraschino cherry juice
*My only orange had an extremely thick rind, so I zested it, and then peeled it before adding just the slices to the pot. We’ll add the zest in a bit.
Place the orange and Clementines in a large saucepan with the water.
Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes.
Note: watch the pot and remove from heat if the water boils off.
Add the sliced peaches, sugar, brown sugar, orange zest, and maraschino cherry juice.
Increase the heat to medium and stir.
Note: back in the day, Mrs. B also did not have the handy-dandy non-stick pan that I was using, so, if you’re like her, you’re gonna need to stir a lot and watch the pot as the sugar melts. As it is, I was able to work on a few other projects, coming back to this pot and stirring every couple of minutes.
Cook, uncovered, and stirring every now and then, at a good simmer, still over medium heat, for about 30 minutes, until the marmalade has thickened and the color taken on a nice golden hue.
While the marmalade is simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil and sterilize canning jars and lids.
Note: we have water that will leave a (harmless, but unattractive) cloudy film on canning jars, so I add about 1/2 pint of white vinegar to the water in the canning pot and – voila! – no more filmy jars.
I choose to break up my peaches just a bit with my immersion blender – leaving good sized chunks of peaches, but making it all a bit more spreadable on those English muffins (or toast, I guess toast is good, too).
Give it a taste.
Ladle the marmalade into prepared (sterilized) canning jars, then add three or four maraschino cherries (without stems) to each jar; pushing the cherries down into the marmalade.
Note: do you recall the Swozzled Cherries from last December? Well, I divided up my marmalade jars into “adult” and “general audience” versions by using the swozzled cherries in half the jars I made. Keeping things straight is a snap, simply mark the lid of each jar with the swozzled cherries with a Sharpie marker, and you will know whom to give which at the end.
Place lids on each jar, tighten the bands on each with just your fingertips, and process in a boiling water bath for ten minutes.
Remove, cool on a rack, then label and give out, or hoard, as you prefer. I ended up with eight half-pint jars.
Nicely peachy, but with an added bright citrus punch.
And then, those cherries!