Homemade Orange Marmalade
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Canning orange marmalade announces that citrus fruit is now abundant. Is orange marmalade a jam? Well, depending on what recipe you find, it could very well be. However, a jam does not compare to homemade orange marmalade, so homemade orange marmalade you shall receive!
The process for making this preserve is tedious, regardless of the recipe you choose to follow. Some recipes call for the removal of the pith whereas other recipes state to remove the seeds, but utilize the entire orange. Which method you select is up to you, and in truth, each method I’ve tried has produced a delicious product.
Here are the methods one can use to make homemade marmalade:
• The three-day process
• Overnight soak
• Same day marmalade
For the sake of creating a great-tasting homemade marmalade in a short amount of time, the same day recipe is the one I’ll be sharing. However, feel free to give the other methods a try!
The World of Marmalade
Homemade orange marmalade should not be confused with orange jam; these are two different items. Marmalade consists of not only the orange segments but also the peel. However, jam is made with only the segments of the orange.
Orange jam is truly a tasty preserve but it does not contain that special ingredient that marmalade does, the zest of the peels. You may not believe that the orange peel would make such a difference in preserves or fruit, but it does.
Seville oranges are naturally sour in flavor which makes them ideal for making marmalade. The sugar helps to off-balance the sourness of the orange.
Seville oranges are hard-to-come-by in many parts of the world, which is why marmalade of today is made using various types of oranges and other citrus. It is not uncommon to find lemons, grapefruit, and even tangerines added to or made into, marmalade.
Navel oranges are available throughout the year, however, other varieties become more accessible closer to the winter months when the fruit and other citrus items are in season.
• Blood oranges — this variety makes a beautiful marmalade due to the rich color of the segments. It is also quite sweet and juicy.
• Cara Cara oranges — a variety of the navel orange which is sweet and quite juicy.
• Valencia oranges — this orange contains few seeds, is very juicy, and has thin skin; excellent components for making homemade orange marmalade.
In addition to the citrus mentioned, tangerines can also be used to make homemade marmalade. Feel free to mix tangerines with any of the orange varieties mentioned above.
Kumquats also make for a delicious marmalade. This citrus fruit is tart and balances quite well with the amount of sweetener required. Additionally, the skin of the fruit is ideal for making marmalade.
Homemade Orange Marmalade
Before beginning, wash the fruit well taking care to naturally remove the wax from the skins of the fruit. Wax is added to citrus to help prolong the shelf life and make the fruit appear more appealing to the consumer.
Traditional marmalade is made with high amounts of sugar, however, honey makes for a great substitute. When substituting sugar for honey, it is best to incorporate the honey slowly. Taste the mixture often to ensure the flavor is to your liking. It is best to begin by adding one cup at a time.
• 3 pounds oranges
• 1 large lemon
• 6 cups water
• 6 cups sugar or honey
• Steam canner or hot water bath canner
• Non-reactive heavy bottom 8-quart pot
• Measuring cups
• Jar funnel, air bubble remover, ladle
• Cheesecloth and food string
• 1/2-pint-size canning jars (6 total)
1. Before beginning, wash and remove the wax from the skins of the oranges.
2. Using a vegetable peeler or paring knife, remove the outer skin of the fruit, taking care to not include the pith.
3. Coarsely chop the zest of the oranges to the consistency which you will enjoy in your marmalade and set aside. Thin strips will make the marmalade more spreadable, however, a chunkier marmalade can also be achieved.
4. Discard the blossom and stem end from the zested oranges.
5. Over a mixing bowl, remove the segments from the membrane. Once all the segments are removed, squeeze membranes to extract any remaining juice. Reserve the membranes and the seeds to use as natural pectin.
6. In a non-reactive, heavy-bottom pot, combine the zest, fruit segments, juice, sweetener, and water. Bring the ingredients to a boil and stir often. Allow the mixture to boil until the sugar dissolves.
7. As the mixture is reaching a boil, make a pectin bag using the membranes, seeds, cheesecloth, and food string. Place the ingredients onto a double layer of cheesecloth and tie them together. Add the pectin bag to the boiled mixture.
8. Continue to boil, bringing the marmalade to 220 degrees F. Maintain 220 degrees F for 5 minutes. During this time, do not stir the mixture.
9. Remove the pectin bag and take a minute to scrape any extra marmalade back into the pot. Discard the bag.
10. Test to see if the mixture will set: place a dish into the freezer to chill, add a small amount of the orange mixture to the chilled plate, and run a spoon through it. If the mixture parts and you can see the plate, it is ready to be canned. If not, continue to boil for five more minutes and test again.
Canning Orange Marmalade
1. Prepare the canner.
2. Fill hot pre-sterilized jars with hot marmalade, making sure to leave 1/4-inch headspace.
3. Using a clean, damp, dish towel, wipe the rims of the jars, add warmed lids and rings to finger tight.
4. Process jars in the canner based on the altitude at which you reside. Refer to the chart below.
5. Allow jars to cool for 12 to 24 hours and check that the lids have sealed.
Originally published in the January/February 2022 issue of Countryside and Small Stock Journal and regularly vetted for accuracy.