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20140308_100717Home canning is a slippery slope.  One year, you decide to can a few pints of green beans, so they don’t go to waste.  Then, you’re making canned corn, and pickled okra, and the next thing you know, you think “Hey, I can make jelly!”

A neighbor gave us a bunch of oranges and apples.  More apples and oranges than we could eat, for sure.  So I gave some away, but there were still apples and oranges, and we were about to go for a vacation.  I started flipping through my recipe books, looking for recipes, and came to the home canning section, where “apple butter” and “marmalade” caught my eye, there on the same page.

It sounded easy enough…

Two days of frenzied canning activity later, the pile of fruit had been converted into 10 jars of marmalade, and 6 jars of apple butter.  I’m not sure that I want to do it again soon, but homemade marmalade, y’all, it’s SO much better than the store-bought stuff.

I actually made two different batches of marmalade.  One used packaged fruit pectin (I used the Certo marmalade recipe), the other relied on the natural pectin in the oranges (and a couple of lemons).  Relying on the natural pectin did not work so well for me.  I have several jars of marmalade syrup.  I had hoped that they would eventually set up, as a couple of sources mentioned that it might take a while for the natural pectin to fully activate or something, but even after a month or so they haven’t set up.

I think in the future I’ll be relying on store bought pectin.  It takes too long to zest all of those oranges to end up with bread that is unsatisfactorily soggy because of the runny marmalade. Runny marmalade worked wonderfully in Pioneer Woman’s Yogurt-Marmalade Cake, though.

The apple butter turned out fine, too, if a little too sweet.  I’m not the biggest fan of apple butter to begin with, though.  My darling husband has fond memories of his mom’s apple butter, or I wouldn’t have bothered.