With an abundance of citrus fruit taking over grocery stores and markets everywhere, what is one to do with it all? Sure, fresh squeezed OJ, citrus salad, and lemon bars sound like worthy options, but why not try your hand at making marmalade instead? Especially when you’re making refrigerated preserves like we’ve done here. No canning equipment necessary.
For those of us who have been fending off the Polar Vortex this winter, citrus season provides a refreshing distraction from the cold weather as we segway into the months leading up to spring. Plus, citrus fruits are in their peak season this time of year, which means that their flavor output is at its max. While it’s cold outside, now is the perfect time to fire up the stove and check some DIY projects off the list.
What is marmalade exactly? Unlike jam, where the pulp and juice of the fruit is used, the addition of the fruit’s peel is what makes makes it known as marmalade. It is typically made from oranges, and the traditional method combines the pith, membrane, and seeds in a cheesecloth bag to release the pectin (used for setting the jelly base). We wanted to simplify the process by removing this last step, and the result yielded sweet success.
Classic marmalade uses one type of fruit, but we wanted to mix things up a bit. Our version contains a host of citrus all-stars: oranges, grapefruits, and lemons. Easy to find at most markets, the citrus fruits featured in this recipe can be effortlessly swapped for blood oranges, meyer lemons, or any other citrus variety.
With their sunny fragrance and vibrant flavor, these spherical fruits will make it worth spending an afternoon in the kitchen. There couldn’t be a better excuse than to make a cup of Earl Grey tea and and dream away all of the possibilities of using the marmalade while it simmers away on your stovetop. When it’s finished, you’ll want to spread some over toast, use it as a filling between cake layers, or coat and caramelize a ham. Downton Abbey fans will rejoice when presented with a jar, so share the love.
Step 1: Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel, leaving ⅛ inch of the pith attached to the peel.
Step 2: Cut away any excess pith with a paring knife. The less pith on the peel, the less bitter the marmalade. Chop peel into matchstick-sized pieces.
Step 3: Segment each piece of fruit. To see how the full process is done, go here.
Step 4: In a saucepan, bring the chopped peels and 2 ½ cups of water to a boil. Continue boiling the mixture until the peel is soft enough to break with a spoon, about 30 minutes. Add an additional splash of water if it begins to dry out. Remove from heat.
Step 5: In a large bowl, combine the peels, juice, and chopped fruit. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
Step 6: Add the sugar and the reserved peels, juice, and chopped fruit to a large non-reactive pot (stainless steel or an enameled dutch oven) and bring to a rolling boil, then simmer it for 25 – 30 minutes.
To test the consistency, remove the marmalade from the heat, and place a teaspoon of the mixture on the frozen plate. Wait one minute, and tilt it. When the marmalade forms a gel and runs slowly down the plate, it is finished.
If it runs too quickly, return to pot to the heat for five minutes and repeat the frozen plate test until the marmalade sets. Skim off any foam from the surface. Stir marmalade to evenly distribute the zest.
Step 7: Ladle marmalade into jars leaving ¼ inch of headspace and cover with lids while still warm. Refrigerate jars of marmalade once cooled to room temperature. Keeps for up to three weeks.
What is your favorite type of marmalade? Do you make your own jams and jellies at home?
Any Citrus Marmalade
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Yield: 4 cups
1 ½ pounds whole citrus fruit, one type or combination of (oranges, lemons, grapefruit)
3 cups water
3 cups granulated sugar
Canning jars, lids, and rims
Large non-reactive pot with tall sides (stainless steel or enameled dutch oven)
Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water or in the dishwasher. Set aside.
Wash and dry the citrus fruit. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel, leaving ⅛ inch of the pith attached to the peel. Cut away any excess pith with a paring knife. Julienne the peel or roughly chop it into small pieces.
Boil the peel in 2½ cups of water for 30 minutes, until soft. Add an additional splash of water if it begins to dry out. You should be able to easily break the peel with a spoon.
Meanwhile, remove the remaining pith attached to the fruit, and discard. Segment the fruit following the attached steps. Chop the fruit into ¼ inch pieces.
Combine the peel mixture with the chopped fruit and the remaining ½ cup of water. Let come to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
Place a small plate in the freezer. Bring the citrus mixture and sugar to a rapid boil in large stainless steel pot or enameled dutch oven, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar and to avoid burning. When the mixture comes to a boil, simmer it for 25 – 30 minutes.
Once at the gelling point (around 220 F – 222 F), remove from the heat. To test the consistency, place a teaspoon of the mixture on the frozen plate, wait one minute, and tilt it. When the marmalade forms a gel and runs slowly down the plate, it is finished. If it runs too quickly, return to pot to the heat for five minutes and repeat the frozen plate test until the marmalade sets. Skim off any foam from the surface. Stir marmalade to evenly distribute the zest.
Ladle marmalade into jars leaving ¼ inch of headspace and cover with lids while still warm. A wide mouth funnel is helpful with this step, but is not necessary. Refrigerate jars of marmalade once cooled to room temperature. Keeps for up to three weeks.