Recipe: Citrus Marmalade

A friend of mine asked if I could make some orange marmalade for him. I recalled a recipe from Ina Garten that I had been wanting to try, and this seemed like a good excuse. I looked up Ina’s recipe on the Food Network and read it and the comments section. The general consensus seemed to be that it was a great recipe but called for too much sugar. Now, I’m not afraid of sugar (as my triglycerides can attest). But I wanted to make sure it was edible and not overly sweet. So I cut back the sugar just a bit. And, as my experience in jam-making has taught me, I added a bit of butter to keep the marmalade from foaming up when it is boiled.

The ingredients, with my alterations, are as follows:

  • 4 large navel oranges (or 6 to 8 blood oranges)
  • 2 lemons
  • 8 cups water
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon butter

I wanted to make blood orange marmalade, because I thought the color would be stunning. Unfortunately, the grocery didn’t have blood oranges. So I used navel oranges. I washed the lemons and oranges, cut the ends off them, and cut them in half crosswise. Starting with the lemons, I cut the fruit into half-moons with the thinnest blade on my mandoline slicer. I began with the lemons, so I could pick out the seeds as I went. I put the slicer over the top of my pot, so the slices went right into the pan. That way, I avoided the mess of juice all over the counter, and I didn’t lose any juice.

Oranges and Lemons

Once the oranges and lemons were all sliced into the pot, I added the water.

Adding Water to Marmalade

I brought the water and citrus to the boil over medium-high heat, stirring often.

Cooking Oranges and Lemons

Once the mixture reached a full rolling boil,

Marmalade - First Boil

I added the sugar and stirred until the sugar all dissolved.

Sugar is Good for You

Marmalade with Sugar - After Frist Boil

Then I covered the mixture and let it sit on the counter overnight. By morning, the fruit had given up a lot of juice; there was a good inch or two of liquid floating on the top of the pot.

Marmalade in the Morning

I added the butter to the pot,

Little Pat of Butter

and brought the mixture to a boil. I lowered the heat to a simmer, and simmered the marmalade for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Simmering Marmalade

Then I turned the heat up to medium, and brought the mixture to a boil.

Boiling Down

I boiled the marmalade until it reached 220 degrees on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, I got my canning jars and lids ready, and put the pot on for the water bath.

Boiling to 220 dF

I canned the marmalade in 8 ounce jars and processed it in a water bath for 10 minutes.

Marmalade Water Bath

Then I set the jars on a kitchen towel to cool. I heard the pinging sound of the lids sealing, and within a few hours, the marmalade was set.

Citrus Marmalade

While the marmalade was simmering, I started making marbled rye bread. So by the time the marmalade was cool, I had fresh bread to sample it with.

Marbled Rye and Marmalade

Both the bread and the marmalade are delicious! I can see why Ina used 8 cups of sugar in her recipe; mine is a bit tart. But to me that’s how marmalade is supposed to taste. Some might want it sweeter. But it’s perfect as far as I’m concerned.


  1. Mike said,

    March 12, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Wow. Very impressed! I’ve never thought about making this from scratch but you’ve made it so easy….I’m sure it was delicious! Blood oranges would be interesting too, I’ll have to look for them at the stores!

    • gaaarp said,

      March 13, 2012 at 8:02 pm

      I’m almost ready to make more, and I’m going to try blood oranges next time for sure.

  2. Elaine said,

    March 11, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Your photo with the marmalade on the bread is so good. I always thought making marmalade would be difficult for some reason, but your step-by-step process makes it look less daunting. What is so great is that you can enjoy it for months to come now that you have it canned.

    • gaaarp said,

      March 11, 2012 at 9:53 pm

      It’s surprisingly easy. And if the canning part is what scares you, you could freeze it instead. My mom and I used to make strawberry jam every year and we always froze it.

  3. Abby said,

    March 11, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    I’ve never made marmalade…this looks wonderful! I love canning, but I really have to gear myself up for all of the steps, jars, etc. 🙂

    • gaaarp said,

      March 11, 2012 at 9:19 pm

      This is such an easy recipe. I always recommend it to people who want to start canning, as it’s a great one to begin with.

  4. Katie said,

    March 11, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Homemade marmalade AND homemade bread? That sounds like such a winning combination! I love the step by step photos. They’re definitely helpful.

    • gaaarp said,

      March 11, 2012 at 9:18 pm

      Thanks. It’s hard to remember to take pics while I’m cooking sometimes.

  5. Di said,

    March 11, 2012 at 10:56 am

    One of these days I really need to try canning. I’m just not sure where I’d store the jars once I was done. =) I’m with you–I like things on the tart side.

    • gaaarp said,

      March 11, 2012 at 11:03 am

      I did this recipe another time as a 4-citrus marmalade by reducing the lemon to 1, and adding 2 limes and 3/4 of a grapefruit. It was beautiful and delicious!

  6. November 11, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    […] Sunday evening, I started the 4-citrus marmalade. I began with my citrus marmalade recipe, which I altered by reducing the lemon to 1 and adding 2 limes and about 3/4 of a grapefruit. The […]

  7. Kayte said,

    July 2, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Wow, all that canning experience! The marmalade looks really wonderful and makes a fabulous avatar…I am going to love looking at that all month long, although I will miss the rooster a bit.

    • gaaarp said,

      July 3, 2011 at 7:31 pm

      Thanks. I went on a canning binge a while back. I’m pretty much over it now.

      Don’t worry — the rooster will make his appearance again soon.

  8. Margaret said,

    July 2, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Marmalade looks great. Haven’t made Ina’s yet, but may have to try it. Great process pics.

    • gaaarp said,

      July 2, 2011 at 3:25 pm

      Thanks. It is really delicious. I did one with three types of citrus, too.

  9. sallybr said,

    September 29, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Wow, what a nice job on the bread…. I will be also looking forward to your post about it.

    I am definitely marble-challenged.

    Marmalade seems very tasty to me – I’ve never done any kind of canning.

    • gaaarp said,

      September 29, 2009 at 5:39 pm

      Thanks. I just started canning a few weeks ago, and I’ve already made jalapeno jelly, six-pepper jam, Cabernet Sauvignon jelly, blackberry Cabernet jam, grape jam, and now citrus marmalade.

      This was my first attempt at marbled rye, too. It was easier than I thought it would be.

  10. Janice said,

    September 28, 2009 at 12:47 am

    Can’t wait to see the bread post – such a beautifully marbled loaf! But then, we’ve come to expect so much from you. 🙂

    Marmalade looks good, too!

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