Orange Marmalade
Halved oranges and lemons

Orange Marmalade

Halved oranges and lemons
Halved oranges and lemons

Winter is the season of oranges and I don’t think they’ve ever been better. Their juice is like sweet liquid sun, giving energy from the second it begins its slide across the palate.

Sliced citrus peels

I’m guessing bitter oranges will be as good and flavorful – they certainly smelled like heaven as I squeezed them for their juice, then carefully sliced their peels for this marmalade, which is my favorite thing to put on hot, buttered toast.

The toughest part of this recipe is waiting overnight to cook it, per the instructions.  You must wait, though, because this very important step tenderizes the citrus rinds, giving the marmalade an extra elegance.

In the Case of Marmalade, Hovering is good

Cheesecloth bag of seeds

Once the oranges start to cook with their juices, the water, the sugar, and the little cheesecloth bag of seeds to help it jell, they’ll send amazing aromas throughout the house until they reach a gentle, rusty color.  This takes a couple of hours but it doesn’t require regular surveillance until right towards the end, when the marmalade really begins to thicken. Then, you want to hover, stirring regularly, until the marmalade is the thickness and color you prefer.

Jars of jam

The French home cook reuses jars forever, from bulbous mustard jars to commercial jam jars, and so can you. Just make sure they are sterilized, and as long as the seal on the lid gives that reassuring pop! as it cools, all is well.

So if you’re a marmalade lover, you must make this. Use Seville (bitter) oranges if you can find them. If not, use regular oranges, and always choose organic.  That way, their peels – what you’re going to eat – are pure.

Now this is breakfast!

And once your marmalade is ready, bring on the hot, buttered toast, but don’t just reserve it for that. Try it drizzled over hot poundcake or vanilla ice cream. Mix it with chocolate ganache to use as a filling for a chocolate cake. Use it as a glaze for pork, or rub it under the skin of a chicken before you put it in the oven to roast…and I’m sure you’ll think of lots more ways to use this marvelous marmalade.

This jam is made in winter here in France, when Seville oranges (from Spain or Morocco) are in season.  When you come to a class at On Rue Tatin in Louviers or in Paris, we’ll make dishes from all the glorious ingredients of that season.  Reserve your spot now!

Print Recipe
Orange Marmalade
Try to find Seville (bitter) oranges for this, but if you cannot, use regular oranges. The marmalade will still be rich with orange flavor. And use organic fruit - it's pure, and it will taste better!
Servings
jars
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds oranges (if you can find Seville or bitter oranges, use those), preferably organic, or more if needed, rinsed, 1-1/2 kg
  • 2 or more large lemons preferably organic, rinsed
  • 2-1/2 quarts water 2-1/2 liters
  • 7 cups sugar 3 pounds; 750g
Servings
jars
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds oranges (if you can find Seville or bitter oranges, use those), preferably organic, or more if needed, rinsed, 1-1/2 kg
  • 2 or more large lemons preferably organic, rinsed
  • 2-1/2 quarts water 2-1/2 liters
  • 7 cups sugar 3 pounds; 750g
Instructions
  1. Halve and squeeze the oranges and keep the juice and the seeds, separately. You need 2 cups; 500ml of juice, so you may need a few more than 3 pounds of oranges. Reserve the skins from the 3 pounds of oranges; discard the rest or use for another purpose.
    Halve and squeeze the oranges and keep the juice and the seeds, separately.  You need 2 cups; 500ml of juice, so you may need a few more than 3 pounds of oranges.  Reserve the skins from the 3 pounds of oranges; discard the rest or use for another purpose.
  2. Squeeze the lemons; you need ½ cup (125ml) juice so you may need to squeeze an extra lemon to get enough. Reserve the skins of the 2 lemons.
  3. Place the orange seeds in a piece of cheesecloth and tie them tightly in it. They contain pectin and will cook with the marmalade, helping it thicken.
  4. Slice the orange and the lemon skins, which will have some pith clinging to them, as fine as you can. You may dice them if you like. It’s fine to keep some of the pith; check it carefully for seeds, and get rid of any you find. Place the citrus skins, the citrus juices, and the water in a large, non-reactive pan, stir, cover, and let sit overnight.
    Slice the orange and the lemon skins, which will have some pith clinging to them, as fine as you can.  You may dice them if you like.  It’s fine to keep some of the pith; check it carefully for seeds, and get rid of any you find. Place the citrus skins, the citrus juices, and the water in a large, non-reactive pan, stir, cover, and let sit overnight.
  5. When you’re ready to make the marmalade, prepare eight 8-ounce; 250ml jars and lids by sterilizing them in boiling water, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Stir the sugar into the fruit peels, and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat so the mixture is at a rolling boil, and cook until the jam is thickened to your liking, stirring it from time to time. As it thickens, after at least 1 hour of cooking, you can test the thickness by dripping some of the jam on a plate, putting it in the refrigerator, and checking it a minute or two later to test its thickness. As the marmalade gets closer to its ideal thickness, you’ll need to stir it more frequently.
  7. When the marmalade is cooked to your liking, remove it from the heat and pour it into the sterilized jars. Seal according to the manufacturer’s instructions, or do as the French do: once a hot, dry lid is placed on the clean jar, turn it tight and turn the jar upside down. When the jars are cool, wash and store them. The jam will keep indefinitely, except that you’ll eat it up quickly!
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This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. Cherie

    Would Valencia oranges be better then navel ? Or how about Cara Cara ?

    1. Susan

      Cherie,
      I wish I knew what Cara Cara oranges were. I think Valencias would be better than navel as they have slightly more flavor. What are cara cara oranges? They sound fun!

  2. Kameela Hays

    Hi Susan
    What a delight.Seville orange marmalade. Sunshine in a jar in January.Pure heaven. I use the same recipe as yours but boil the oranges and lemons first
    Also for two years now I have reduced the sugar as my husband was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and the taste and texture isn’t affected in any way. Its more than a spread and I use it abundantly in cakes sauces and just straight from the jar!! I give these jars of sunshine to my French friends as post Xmas presents. They love it
    Tip: Seville oranges freeze very well if time is short. The marmalade can be made later. Taste isn’t compromised at all😊

    1. Susan

      Kameela, Wow, I never thought to freeze the oranges. That is a great tip. I also reduced the sugar from my recipe, for a friend who is eating less sugar, and I agree – it is just as good if not better. I used 1kg250 instead of 1kg500. It’s gorgeous, yummy, and took just a few minutes longer to cook.

      1. Sandy Higson

        I have been freezing them for
        Years. I freeze all fruit and veg.
        I have too as I cannot always get the fruit I want.
        I run a small Artisan jam business in the north east
        Called The Mad Jam Woman

        1. Susan

          I love the name, and freezing fruit is a good idea. I do it with berries all the time, but haven’t with oranges.

  3. ShePaused4Thought

    I need to be on the hunt for Seville oranges. There is nothing better than homemade orange marmalade on hot buttered toast.

    1. Susan

      Call Melissas….I’m sure you can find them!

  4. Kameela Hays

    Excellent that is the ratio of sugar to fruit I use. Like minds think alike! Bon weekend😊

    1. Susan

      I play with the sugar, but this is a great amount. Allows the flavor of the fruit to really emerge, yet it’s nice and sweet!

      1. Susan

        Sounds good.

  5. verdi

    Bonjour Susan!

    Love your blog!
    While I was reading this entry I Googled Seville oranges and to my complete surprise discovered that the sour orange tree growing in my parents garden for over 40 years in California is a Seville Orange tree! I can’t wait to pick them all to make your delicious recipe for marmalade.
    Merci beaucoup!

    N.B. Cara Cara oranges https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cara_cara_navel

    1. Susan

      Wow! This is amazing. Just wait. and while the juice is quite sour, it would make a great addition to regular orange juice in the morning, as a refresher. Let me know how your marmalade turns out!

  6. Elizabeth Petrie

    This brings back memories of watching my dad make marmelade with Seville oranges. Mmm – the whole house smelled delicious! Dad added small chunks of ginger to the mix, too. And does anyone have some suggestions for what to do with the leftover/unused orange and lemon pulp? I hate wasting good food.

    1. Susan

      Elizabeth,

      There isn’t much leftover pulp. You squeeze the oranges then use the peel. If you were to have leftover fruit, you can always put it through a juicer. What lovely memories you have, and ginger sounds like a good addition.

      1. caro10d

        I always chop the whole fruit, no squeezing, and it always works no waste. Breakfast isn’t breakfast with out marmalade!

        1. Susan

          Carol – will have to try that! Thanks for the tip.

  7. Jan Butterfield

    Do the orange seeds soak overnight too, or are they added only during cooking? Sorry if this is an unnecessary question – just want to be clear. Thanks.

    1. Susan

      Jan, I haven’t yet met an unnecessary question. The seeds can soak overnight! It’s not imperitive, but they release pectin, so it’s not unhelpful that they’re in the pot.

  8. Judy

    Do you not process. I would be afraid if not processed once in jars????

    1. Susan

      I don’t process. If the jars seal, which they do, then processing isn’t needed. What are you afraid of? There is so much sugar that the worst that might happen is mold forms on the surface of the marmalade, and you scrape it off. But this has never happened!

  9. Jim

    Will this recipe work with Stevia or Erythritol instead of sugar?

    1. Susan

      Dear Jim,

      Honestly, I don’t know. I would try it with Stevia – the same quantity. Will you let me know? Thank you!

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