[Photograph: Stephanie Stiavetti]

I'm a huge fan of autumn, probably because it contains my two favorite holidays: Halloween and Thanksgiving. Even though I'm way too old to go trick-or-treating and I've long since given up my early-20s Halloween antics, All Hallow's Eve resonates through every fiber of my being as the ultimate time of year.

Maybe it's the fact that Fall marks the reappearance of an intense palette of browns, oranges, and reds in the foliage, or it could be that I can finally (FINALLY!) pull out my box of favorite scarves from high up in the closet. There's just something about the chill in the air, the hordes of squash stacked up in pumpkin patches around town, and the iconic images of black cats and pointy-hatted witches that appear everywhere I look. This time of year is special.

As autumn rolls around, jam-making often slows to a trickle in the absence of summer's incredible bounty. In my house, however, we're just getting started. Orange-y hues in the trees means that it's also orange season here in California, making it the perfect season for marmalade.

I like to punch up my marmalade with warming spices, and this recipe is no different. I've added a little ginger to provide a bit of zip for these short, cool days. The addition of black sesame seeds was originally to produce a festive jam for Halloween, but it turns out that they actually lend a lovely earthy flavor and snappy texture to the oranges' tart personality.

Little bits of orange and lemon zest add even more color and texture, making for an experience that pleases not just the tastebuds, but makes for a visual treat as well. This marmalade is now my go-to jamming project for Fall; it's a wonderful addition spread across warm toast or mixed into a bowl or plain yogurt.

Note: This recipe involves cutting oranges into segments, a method also called supreming an orange. Click here for a tutorial on how to segment citrus.

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Halloween Orange Marmalade with Black Sesame Seeds ยป

About the author: Stephanie Stiavetti is a writer and cookbook author in San Francisco. Stephanie's cookbook, Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese, celebrates America's favorite dish by recreating it with small production, specialty cheeses. Her food blog, The Culinary Life, is a repository for all things comfort food related, from savory dinners to transcendental desserts.

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