Orange Marmalade

Is it tea time already?

On a recent trip to Great Britain I learned to appreciate a hearty breakfast. This was due to the fact that most British cuisine never exceeds bar food and after a week there is only so much fried fish and meat pies a person can take. So every morning I made sure to eat an entire English, Scottish or Irish breakfast depending on which island I happened to be staying. The basic components never changed but there was always a somewhat different approach to the meal. Whether it had both white and black pudding, home fries or hash browns or sausage and or bacon there was one thing that remained constant, marmalade. What was even more surprising was that even if the marmalade was in a little prepackaged tub it was still really good quality.

After returning home I went to the store to buy a jar of marmalade and was a little depressed to discover the only way to get a good marmalade was to pay through the nose and even those turned out to be too sickly sweet. So I thought, how hard could it be to make?

My trusty friend and daily tormentor the World Wide Web quickly showed many a simple recipe. As I read them each seemed way too simple and more importantly called for too much sugar and hardly any orange peel. Quite a few called for the addition of packaged pectin to help the marmalade set. Well I knew that marmalade originally had been made before people had the convenience of buying commercial thickeners. After a more intense search I discovered how to create pectin with the innards of the oranges in the recipe. Unfortunately these recipes called for at least two days worth of cooking. Now I like cooking and probably could spend two days making jam but I do have a day job and my wife prefers to spend some time with me away from the stove so I needed to find a compromise. So I mixed the recipes together eliminating some stewing and adding extra peel and less sugar. The result was a phenomenal success.

A few quick notes. I am not going to explain my method for canning again, if you don’t know how check out the fig jam recipe. Pick fruit that is in excellent shape and unbruised or marked on. I used naval juice oranges and it took nine to get the needed amount of juice. The membranes come out of the oranges very easily with a spoon just make sure there is no pith attached. This is not true for the lemons and it took awhile to dislodge the membranes from the halves. If you can get Meyer lemons substitute them for the two chopped lemons. Scraping the pith away from the orange peel is a pain, takes forever and makes a mess. The most success I had was using a teaspoon like I was rubbing off a scratch ticket. I like bitter marmalade, if you prefer a sweeter taste add more sugar. I happen to own a couple muslin bags but you can buy them at any high end cooking supply shop. If you have a good grocery store that has good cheese (more per pound than steak) they may have cheesecloth lying around as well. An electric juicer is really useful but this can be done by hand. I do not have a candy thermometer so I boiled the mixture until it foamed up and would not go back down while stirring heavily with a spoon. A thermometer would be easier.

Orange Marmalade

  • 3 pounds oranges
  • 4 lemons
  • 7 ½ cups sugar
  • 8 cups water
  • Muslin bag or 4 layers cheesecloth tied together

Wash fruit well and dry completely. Juice enough oranges to get 4 cups juice. Do not strain the juice but make sure to set aside any seeds and membranes in a separate bowl. Juice two lemons and add liquid to orange juice. Once again make sure to set aside any seeds and membranes. Scoop the remaining membranes and pulp from the orange and lemon halves and add to reserved seeds. Scrape as much of the pith out of the orange halves as possible. Julienne the orange peels extremely thin and set aside. Slice the remaining two lemons in half, then half again, and half each twice more to get thin slices. Remove seeds and white center membrane. Leave the peel attached to the lemon fruit. Cut into tiny wedges that look like a piece of pie. In a large stock pot pour the orange/lemon juice and water. Add the chopped lemon and sliced orange peel. Place the reserved seeds and membranes into the muslin bag. Tie it up and then place into pot tying the top to the handle so it stays upright but still is submerged in the liquid. Bring contents to a boil and cook on high for about a ½ hour or until orange peel is soft and cooked. Remove muslin bag and let cool. Remove marmalade from heat and measure out the total liquid. It is recommended to add 7/8 cups sugar for every 1 cup liquid. I had nine cups liquid when done with the first boil and only added 7 ½ cups sugar. Add more sugar to taste. Pour liquid back into stock pot and add measured sugar. Once the muslin bag is cool to touch, squeeze out the pectin into the marmalade. The easiest way to do this is grab a lemon sized ball in the bag separate it from the rest and squeeze. Keep milking the bag till at least 4 tbsp of whitish liquid is extracted. The more the better though. Do not let any of the actual bits in the pectin bag out into the marmalade while squeezing. Bring the marmalade to a boil and cook until a candy thermometer reads 220 degrees. Can quickly. The marmalade will be very thin at first. It sets as it cools.

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About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
This entry was posted in Breakfast, Food, Rants, Recipes, Things in Jars and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Orange Marmalade

  1. Babygirl says:

    Really nice post.. I enjoyed reading this

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  3. Liz says:

    I have yet to make homemade marmalade. This is something that I do want to try. It is hard to find a good, purchased marmalade.

  4. Laura says:

    I’ve been wanting to make marmalade. This recipe sounds great. Love the picture too!

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  6. My BlogJect says:

    ok first up, i’ll try not to get too ranty – fried fish and meat dishes the only british cuisine… where were you staying and traveling? british cuisine is so diverse. my friends and i were only saying a few days ago that there is no REAL british food as we’re such a multi-cultural island that all our food reflects many a different style. ok, there is the ubiquitous fish and chips (very british) or a classic sunday roast, but i must be honest i haven’t eaten either of these dishes for months!

    as for scottish, irish, english… what about the little known welsh one? (i’m welsh so it stood straight out).

    lastly, you’re marmalade recipe looks fab however i’m not actually a marmalade fan. just pass me the eggs and the bacon and toast and many a mug of tea! i am a huge breakfast fan!!

    much love from this side of the pond, fab post nonetheless!

    • We did have many lovely meals. Last year we went to Ireland and traveled through Wales to get to Scotland. We stayed outside Edinburgh, in Glasgow and Keith and numerous places in Ireland. The food we had at traditional pubs, was good, even great, but we did tired of it. Keep in mind we were traveling and the places we went tended to offer the same thing. My wife did some posts when she went to London, that you’ll like far more if your blood isn’t still boiling. She loved Notting Hill in particular. By the way that header photo is of a pub in Scotland.

      • My BlogJect says:

        Great photo!
        I wasn’t blood boiling ranty, just wanted to spread a little bit of a message hehe. I hope I didn’t cross the line. I suppose if you were off the beater track in more traditional type pubs it could get very similar!
        Did you enjoy your time travelling here then?

      • Oh don’t you worry. You should’ve seen me when I read a Rick Steves article talking about how Americans just slathered BBQ on everything because they couldn’t cook according to the Italians. The trip was amazing. Scotland and Ireland were both gorgeous. We were there 14 days. Our only regret was we didn’t see England (driving through the tip doesn’t count.) Katherine got to go this year and we plan to go back together. She loved London. But she didn’t go to Bath or Stonehenge of Stratford Upon Avon. (or is it on?) We’ll definitely go back.

  7. ChefMom says:

    Wow! This sounds like an extensive process. I’m sure the results are worth it – I can’t imagine the stuff at the stores coming close to being fresh. Maybe I can just buy one of your jars?! LOL.

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  12. I tried making marmalade once and it never set up. We had about 8 jars of orange syrup. What did I do wrong!?

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