Preserve oranges in an easy-to-make marmalade

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Frank Chlumsky

I have a dear, distant friend I've never met. Her name is Sylvia and she lives in Ottawa, Canada. Mark David, her son, and his beautiful wife Jacquitta, are two of my closest and dearest friends who (I'm happy to say) are never ill at ease when it comes to cooking for a chef.

We meet as often as we can and share a common interest in literature, music, good drama and good food. We enjoy sharing our thoughts and ideas about these subjects, and throughout the years I've turned to Sylvia (through Mark) for her wisdom, book recommendations and especially her recipes.

I've long enjoyed Sylvia's ginger cookies but it was only last week that I had my first sample of her homemade orange marmalade. To be perfectly honest, I never get excited about jams and jellies. They're something I pretty much take for granted. But I've just spent the last three days making Sylvia's recipe and this orange marmalade is different. Slightly sweet, yet delightfully bitter. Once again I've stumbled across a little treasure.

The name of the recipe is three day marmalade, but don't let the three days throw you. Actual cooking takes a fraction of that time and the entire preparation is incredibly simple. There are only five ingredients. And since the recipe calls for storing the marmalade in the freezer, it eliminates any need for sterilizing jars or using sealing wax.

I used large navel oranges, which produced 7 1/2 cups of marmalade at a cost of $4.30. That's only 57 cents per cup.

Sylvia's marmalade is a real winner, but now I'm looking forward to something a bit different. Corned beef and cabbage time is here and I hear Sylvia has a recipe for homemade mustard that will take your head off. I think it's time to visit my good friend Mark.

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3 oranges

1 grapefruit

1 lemon

(or as much fruit as desired)

Cold water: 3/4 cup per each cup of raw fruit

Granulated sugar: 1 cup (more or less) per each cup of cooked fruit

Day 1

Wash the fruit under running water.

Quarter the fruit, including the rind, and slice it very thinly.

Place the sliced fruit in a large, heavy-bottom saucepan and add 3/4 cup cold water per each cup of fruit.

Cover the saucepan and refrigerate overnight.

Day 2

Place the saucepan on the stove and bring it to a boil.

Simmer until the fruit is very soft (2-3 hours).

Cool, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Day 3

Measure the cooked fruit.

For each cup of cooked fruit add 1 cup granulated sugar.

Bring the marmalade to a boil.

Carefully simmer, stirring frequently until the marmalade is thick (30 minutes to 1 hour). As the marmalade thickens it will sputter, so stand back as you stir.

Allow to cool.

Place in washed glass jars leaving a little room for expansion.

Cover and store in the freezer.

Use as needed.

The flavor of the marmalade depends on the sweetness of the fruit, so add the sugar in increments and taste as you go

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