Mojo Marmalade Sauce

I live in an area with diverse demographics, which I think is rather wonderful.  Within a ten minute drive of my house there are hundreds of restaurants which serve everything from traditional Italian to Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Greek, Indian, Pakistani, and good ol’ “Canadian” (fusion) food.  What we do not have, however, is anything even remotely Mexican or Latin.  There are no Brazilian barbecues.  There are no homemade tortillas or empanadas.  There are definitely no Cuban restaurants.  I think this is a sorrowful state of affairs, because I truly adore Latin food.  The spice!  The zest!  The FLAVOR!!  I might not cross the road for homemade ravioli, but I would traverse 1000’s shining seas (of pavement) for some really good Mojo Chicken, and yet the closest we come are quesadillas on the “Pub Grub” menus.

Mojo Chicken was the inspiration for this sauce, which is about to be canned in large amounts.  Well, ‘large’ being 3 quarts or so.  Mojo is a flavoring made from oranges, limes, garlic and spices.  And oh, OH is it ever good.  Want succulent chicken?  Marinate in Mojo.  But if we were to push my affinity for Mojo Chicken aside, you might ask yourself what else this could be used for.  After all, if you’re going to buy or make 3 quarts of anything it had BETTER have more than one use, right?  Yes, my friend.  Yes it does.  This is what else it can do:

  • A spoonful of this makes a fruit based salsa (like mango or pineapple) taste a gazillion times better.  It also adds an intriguing new dimension to savory salsas.
  • Use it to brighten soup or stew!  A quick stir into chicken soup and the sunshine will melt your cold away.  It’s also a natural pairing with sweet potato, pumpkin, or squash soup.
  • Add a bit of interest to your next curry.
  • Use as a marinade for salmon, and pump it up with some garlic and dill…..I don’t have words for how good this is.  Truly.
  • Add some garlic and olive oil and this is a great dressing for roasted beets and root vegetables.
So there you go.  Five good reasons to make this sauce, which (when properly canned) has a nice long shelf life in your cold room, so you have time to think of five MORE reasons to make this sauce.  Also, my next post will be my version of Mojo Chicken, so bear with me as I write this up.

Mojo Marmalade Sauce

Makes 3 quarts

  • 5 large navel oranges (about 4 lbs)
  • 6 limes
  • 7-8 small habanero peppers, or 5 large ones
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 cups water
Begin by thinly slicing just the zest off of the oranges.  Leave the bitter white part, we don’t need it here.
Slice into thin strips.
Slice the zest off of the limes.  This is a bit harder to do because limes are much smaller and the peel is thinner, so take it off in it’s entirety, including the pithy white.
Slice the lime zest up thinly as well.
Chop the habanero peppers into small squares, each no more than 1/16th of an inch.  I like a bit of heat so I chopped them up seeds, veins and all.  If you want a sauce which is milder, take the seeds and veins out before you chop them.
Time to revisit those oranges!  Slice the pith away so that you just have glorious peeled oranges left.
Halve the orange and then cut it into 5 wedges.  Cut each wedge horizontally into 1/4 inch chunks.  They may seem big, but they’ll reduce in the sauce.
Put everything into a large pot….
…and add the sugar and water.
Bring this to a boil, cover it, and let it simmer for an hour.  After an hour it should look like this:
Mash the contents until they are pulpy and you don’t see any significant chunks of orange left.  This will not be like a puree, and you will still see the zest strips.  That’s okay, that’s what we want.
Pour this into 3 sterilized quart containers.  If you feel like listening to me go on and on about sterilization, feel free to read the relevant part of this post.
In a very large pot with a rack in the bottom, “process” (fancy term for boil) the jars for a half hour.
And there we have it!  Mojo Marmalade Sauce, which can be used to add instant zip and flavor to so many things.  I don’t know about you, but I feel like having a Cuba Libre to celebrate this momentous event.
Let them stand at room temperature for 24 hours.  If you want more guidance on canning, my thoughts and reference material are available here.
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  • Cherie

    I’ve made mojo sauce a dozen times, but never in a larger batch to be saved, and never have I canned it. What a great idea, it is SO amazing to have sitting around. mmmmm

    • Tina


      It really does come in handy!! This one doesn’t have any additional herb seasonings in it because I wanted it to be flexible enough to use in a few different types of cuisine. However, a dash of cumin and oregano and you’ve got Cuban! A sprinkle of allspice and thyme and you have West Indian! I love the flexibility of having an *almost* ready ingredient on hand 🙂