This blood orange jam contains both fennel fronds and fennel pollen which gives the spread a subtle and craveable anise flavor. Lower in sugar than regular jam, I especially enjoy this on thick-sliced Panera Bread sour dough.
My mom didn’t can much, but she knew how to do it. At one end of the road I grew up on, there was a field that was cleared a couple three times over the course of my childhood. One year after all the young trees and underbrush were cleared, massive mounds of blackberry brambles popped up. My next door neighbor and I spent about days upon days (it might have even been a full week) picking blackberries. We divided our booty up and my mom made blackberry jam with all those berries. Truth be told, I had picked so many blackberries and my mom had canned so much jam, that once we’d eaten it all and finally run out, I was put off blackberry jam for quite a while.
Philip’s mom canned regularly. They had an orchard and a vegetable garden and she was always putting up the bounty.
As for Philip and I, we were clueless. We had tons of canning equipment as the dreaded Indian Meal Moth means we have to store our grains and specialty flours in Mason jars. But we didn’t have a clue about how to use them. I had a couple three books and one morning we got into the kitchen and decided to make blood orange jam because this gorgeous citrus fruit doesn’t last very long.
We made the first batch, trying to lower the amount of sugar. Success! The second batch I made on my own and juiced the blood oranges. It didn’t jell and didn’t make much. Knowing I wanted to share this recipe, I got back into the kitchen and worked my little tail off to perfect it. Finally! Not only did it work, but Philip and I now have 6 half-pints (6 cups) of blood orange and fennel pollen jam to enjoy as long as it lasts.
Gather your tools. You’ll need:
1. sharp knife 2. measuring cups 3. measuring spoons 4. mixing bowls 5. large pots 6. spoons 7. colander 8. potato masher
Gather your ingredients. You’ll need:
1. blood oranges 2. granulated sugar 3. low sugar pectin 4. fennel pollen 5. fennel fronds
Blood Orange and Fennel Pollen Jam
Makes 6 half-pints (6 cups)
5 pounds blood oranges, ~8 cups peeled
2 cups water
6 tablespoons fresh fennel fronds
5 tablespoons low-sugar pectin
3 cups sugar, separated into 1-cup and 2-cup portions
Peel blood oranges. (I found it easiest to rid them of pulp by cutting them in half from navel to stem end, inverting the peels, and scrapping out the segments.)
Put peeled blood oranges in a pot and add water. Bring to boil. Once boiling reduce to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes.
Over a large bowl, place colander. Add about half of the boiled blood oranges and mash thoroughly with a potato masher. (A good workout. ;-0)
Once thoroughly mashed, pour juice and bits into large pot and repeat with remaining boiled blood oranges. You should end up with about 5 cups of juice and pulp from this process. If you don’t, return boiled blood oranges to colander and work that masher harder.
With 5 cups of blood orange juice and pulp in a pot, add fennel fronds, fennel pollen, low-sugar pectin and one cup of sugar and bring to a hard-rolling boil, stirring constantly for one minute. Skim off any foam.
Add remaining 2 cups of sugar, one cup at a time and stir well. Boil until jam is set, skimming off foam as necessary.
When jam is set, ladle into clean, sterilized (sitting 180 degree F water) jam jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe off clean, sterilized (see above) lids and then screw on rings until they are finger tight.
Process in boiling water bath for five minutes. Remove from bath with canning tongs and allow to cool. The lids should start popping as the jam and jars cool.
After 12 hours, check the lids by pushing in the middle. If they pop back, they are not properly sealed and must be refrigerated and eaten within 3 days or reprocessed in the boiling water bath within 24 hours.