Three-Citrus Marmalade Recipe

4 1/2 pounds of fruit

One of the very first recipes I posted to this blog was one for Orange-Ginger Marmalade. I’m having a bit of a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that I’ve nearly cooked my way through an entire year of canning since then and that it’s time for marmalade, once again.

I’ve learned a great deal about preserves since then, and I think that this approach to marmalade is easier and more sensible that the one I originally took. This one used the outer layer of citrus zest, but discards the inner pith, making for easier chopping and a more tender product. I’m completely delighted with the way that this batch turned out, and last night, when I served it at a party along side a long of goat cheese, I felt so proud that it was something I had made in my own little kitchen.

de-zested citrus

To begin, weigh your fruit. Conventional fruit is fairly uniform in size these days, but there can still be a great deal of variety in weight, depending on storing conditions and length of time off the tree. I used 2 pink grapefruit, 3 lemons and four navel oranges and had approximately 4 and 1/2 pounds of fruit. Feel free to add or subtract a lemon or orange to achieve the right weight. Scrub your citrus well, so that you can feel good about including all that lovely, fragrant zest in your preserve.

serrated peeler

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from your citrus. I tried every peeler I own (at least five) and found that the serrated peeler you see above did the best job. Please take care when using one of these tools though, as those little teeth are incredibly sharp. At one point, I slipped and ended up with a series of punctures in the tip of my pinky finger. Not pleasant when working with acidic citrus.

chopping zest

Once your citrus has been stripped, chop the zest into fine ribbons. I found that the best way to do this was to stack four or five strips of zest and then mince them (mind your fingers!) into bits about 1/4 of an inch wide. I found that my 4 1/2 pounds of fruit yielded approximately 2 1/2 cups of zest bits.

zest in motion

Fill a medium-sized pot with 6 cups of cold water, add your zest ribbons and bring to a boil. Simmer the zest for half an hour, until it’s tender and uniform in color. While it boils…

chop, chop

Use a sharp paring knife to break your naked fruit down. Take a grapefruit and cut the north and south poles off (to give yourself stable bases). Then, working top to bottom, cut the white pith off the fruit (you want to expose the interior surface of the fruit). When all the white pith is removed, use the knife to separate the fruit from the membrane of the fruit (this technique is called supreming and there’s a helpful tutorial over on Coconut & Lime, if my written instructions aren’t doing it for you). Collect the naked segments in a large measuring cup and reserve the membranes and seeds.

bundle of seeds, pith and membranes

When all the fruit has been broken down, gather up the reserved seeds and membranes in a piece of cheesecloth. Bundle it up well and tie off the top, so that none of the seeds can escape. One does this because the seeds, membrane and pith contain a great deal of pectin. You will boil this bundle with the fruit while you make the marmalade, so that you extract the maximum amount of pectin from your fruit.

draining the zest bits

At this point, the zest should be done boiling. Drain the cooked zest, reserving the boiling water. This liquid has been infused with a great deal of citrus flavor and so some of it will be used in the marmalade.

boil, boil

Finally, it’s time to make marmalade! In a large, heavy-bottomed, non-reactive pot (a stainless steel or enameled dutch oven is your best bet there), combine the zest ribbons, the citrus segments (approximately 4+ cups), 4 cups of the zest cooking liquid, 6 cups of sugar and the cheesecloth bundle.

the magic temperature

Bring the pot to a boil. It’s a good idea to use a big pot for this, so that you have plenty of room for the marmalade to bubble. Pair that large pot with a instant read thermometer with a temperature alarm, and you don’t have to watch it the entire time. Set the thermometer to 220 degrees (that’s the point at which the marmalade will achieve set), place the thermometer probe in the pot (balancing it so that you keep the cord away from the burner) and feel okay turning your back to do some dishes (return to it every 4-5 minutes to stir). This will need to boil for 30-40 minutes, in order to reach and sustain 220 degrees.

While it cooks, you can also prepare your canning pot, jars (for this recipe, they need to be sterilized, as this one is only processed for five minutes. I find that the easiest way to do this is to put them in the canning pot when you’re first filling it and bring them up to a boil along with the water), lids (simmer in a small saucepan over medium-low heat to soften the sealing medium) and rings.

finished marmalade, waiting to be poured into jars

Once the marmalade has reached 220 degrees and has stayed there for at least a minute, check the potential set by putting a small dab of the hot marmalade into the middle of a cold plate. Let it sit for a moment and then nudge it with your finger. If the surface wrinkles and seems firm, it is ready. If it is still quite runny, boil it for several additional minutes.

Once the text yields a good result, turn the heat off and remove the pot from the burner. Gently stir the marmalade for about a minute off the heat. I’ve learned over the years that this helps the zest distribute itself evenly throughout your preserve (I hate it when the solids clump towards the top of the jar, and this helps prevent that from happening).

filling jars

Fill your jars (this recipe makes approximately 3 1/2 pints), leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. When they’re all filled, wipe the rims to remove any sticky residue, apply the lids and screw on the rims. Carefully lower the filled jars into the canning pot (don’t forget to put a rack in the pot). Process in a boiling water canner for five minutes (starting the time when the pot returns to a boil). When the five minutes are up, remove the jars from the pot and let them rest on a towel-lined counter top until the jars are completely cool.

three-citrus marmalade

Here’s my serving suggestion: Spread spoonfuls on freshly baked scones, drink black tea with milk and sugar, and pretend you’re in Gosford Park.

And, because I’m so proud of this lovely, fragrant, gently-bitter marmalade, I have a jar to give away. I’ve set that little four-ounce jar you see up there on the right aside for one of you lovely readers. Leave a comment by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, February 18th, 2010 to enter.

A recipe, in a more conventional format, can be found after the jump.

Three-Citrus Marmalade

Yield: 3 1/2 Pints


  • 2 pink grapefruit
  • 3 lemons
  • 4 navel oranges
  • 6 cups of sugar
  • 4 cups of zest poaching liquid


  1. Wash and dry the fruit. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the fruit. Cut the zest strips into a fine confetti. Combine the zest in a pot with 6 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce temperature to medium high and simmer for half an hour.
  2. While the zest cooks, cut the white pith away from the fruit and separate the fruit from the membranes (see instructions above for greater detail). Collect the interior fruit in a large measuring cup and set the membranes and any seeds aside.
  3. When all the fruit has been broken down, bundle the reserved pith and seeds into a length of cheesecloth, tying the cloth well so that no seeds can escape.
  4. Drain the zest, reserving the cooking liquid.
  5. In a large stainless steel or enameled cast iron pot, combine zest, citrus fruit, 4 cups of zest cooking liquid, 6 cups of sugar and the cheesecloth bundle.
  6. Bring to a boil and cook vigorously until the mixture reaches 220 degrees (this takes between 30-40 minutes).
  7. When the marmalade reaches 220 degrees and sustains it for one minute, remove the pot from the heat. Stir for about a minute off the heat, to help the zest bits become evenly spread throughout the preserve.
  8. Fill prepared jars (see above for jar preparation instructions), wipe rims, apply lids and screw rings. Lower into a prepared boiling water bath and process for five minutes at a gentle boil (do not start counting time until the pot has achieved a boil).
  9. When time is up, remove jars from the pot and let them cool completely. When they are cool to the touch, check the seals by pushing down on the top of the lid. Lack of movement means a good seal.


Recipe adapted from several marmalade recipes in β€œSo Easy to Preserveβ€œ

Related Posts:

  • Check the recipe index for more tasty preserves!

228 Responses to Three-Citrus Marmalade Recipe

  1. 51
    margo says:

    Two things: I’ve never had homemade marmalade and I MUST watch Gosford Park. I bet it came out when I had too many children hanging on my ankles -there are great gaps in my movie watching because of that.
    I do like the storebought stuff I’ve had, but I’m betting homemade is much better.

  2. 52
    Gini says:

    How adorably perfect that little jar is! This new year, I resolved to can one project each month, and have been thinking about what to can next. Methinks marmalade wins!

  3. 53
    Nadine says:

    This sounds so lovely. I would love to try it. =)

  4. 54
    Dawn says:

    That looks so tasty. I would love to try it!

  5. 55
    pete says:

    A jar of marmalade? Of COURSE!! That is just what we need as we watch the snow, hear of all the people stranded here and there, watch the Olympics unfold on TV, and dream of the next canning project.

    Yes, it would be just lovely to win one of yours! πŸ˜‰


  6. 56
    SRM says:

    if i don’t win i’ll be forced to make my own πŸ™‚

  7. 57

    Great way to use the beautiful citrus fruits in the grocer’s bin right now – good thing we have citrus fruits to get us thru the winters here in the North. Your marmalade looks delicious!

  8. 58
    Sibyll says:

    I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but I’ve never even tasted marmalade. However, now I want to make it.

  9. 59
    Christina says:

    Count me in please! I would love to try this and get more into canning.

  10. 60
    Leah says:

    We made something almost exactly like this at Christmas for gifts. Several of your techniques will make it a lot easier next time we do it. Thanks for sharing the recipe and preparation steps :o)

  11. 61
    Victoria says:

    This looks absolutely lovely. I managed to find your site somehow and I’ve been obsessively collecting jars since. My next goal is finding a pot large enough to sterilize the big ones and I’ll be set.

    Don’t let your pot lack keep you from making this marmalade. You could halve the recipe and just make enough to keep in the fridge and eat. -Marisa

  12. 62
    Tasha says:

    Wahoo! We love marmalade…

  13. 63
    wes says:

    I love marmalade, but my family is not so crazy about it. I might have to try this though since we have a ton of citrus this year. Can I reduce the recipe so I won’t have so many jars of marmalade to eat?

    Yep, you certainly could reduce the recipe. -Marisa

  14. 64
    Michele Albert says:

    I made marmalade for the first time this year. It turned out great! Can’t wait to try this recipe, thank you for sharing.

  15. 65
    Britt says:

    I loved the longhand version of this recipe! The part where you were talking about lowering the jars into the canner made me long for those end-of-summer days and want to get mine back out. Think I just might have to sometime soon. πŸ™‚

    Oh, and the marmalade looks wonderful–great tips, thanks!

  16. 66
    Jane says:

    Beautiful jars.

  17. 67
    Molly says:

    I had been putting off getting my canning tools until summertime, but this recipe has reminded me that I can start canning now!

    I’ve found that canning can be done all year round! -Marisa

  18. 68
    Sarah says:

    your marmalade looks fantastic! i’ve been making marmalade all winter but for some reason never thought to combine the different varieties of citrus. yum!

  19. 69
    mdvlist says:

    I just discovered your blog, so your enticing marmalade give-away is an awfully convenient excuse to post and say, “I hope your blog will eventually turn me into a canning fiend.” So far, the only thing I’ve dared can is apple butter, but I’ve certainly aspired to more. As it is, I don’t even have a set of proper canning tools, but maybe your recipes will motivate me to finally do something about that. And how funny that you’re a Whitman grad, too. We’re everywhere . . . .

    Hooray for Whitman grads! And, I do hope I’m able to turn you into a canner. That is my goal! -Marisa

  20. 70
    RisibleRedHead says:

    I’ve been lovin’ your blog ever since I came over via smitten kitchen – and it inspires me to tell everyone how we should all be canning our own treats, and making our own jams and marmalade! I’d love to try yours out!!
    I’m also constantly sending links to my sister in philly, being all, um, do you do this or go to this farmers market or that little shop!?!
    thanks for sharing!! πŸ™‚

    Aww, thanks! And how fun that you pass my Philly spots along to your sister! -Marisa

  21. 71
    Lynn says:

    With a bag of donated Navels and my Meyer lemon tree full, I’ll be making your marmalade today! I’ve never made citrus jam but have wanted to. Your detailed descriptions and pictures are very helpful. I wouldn’t have thought the seeds, membranes and pith as a source of pectin, but makes sense! I’ll have to keep you posted on my resulting application of the finished product.

    I look forward to hearing how it turned out for you! -Marisa

  22. 72
    anne says:

    my south philly street has not been plowed, my car is in snow prison, and to top it off, i have a horrible cold and can taste nothing. your citrus marmalade will add some sun to my winter doldrums!!!

    I hear you on the lack of plowing, I’m still fighting uncleared streets and sidewalks! -Marisa

  23. 73
    Gerald says:

    Please send the marmalade!

  24. 74
    Sara says:

    This looks delicious! And I love the goat cheese idea….

  25. 75
    yossy says:

    i just bought a ton of citrus to make into marmalade and ran into your recipe. so beautiful! i can’t wait to make mine!

  26. 76
    Kelly says:

    I can smell it!! It looks absolutely Scrumptious! Scones should be a must! Thank you for explainly it all so well!

    You’re welcome! Glad it was helpful! -Marisa

  27. 77
    Jen says:

    Mmm that looks delicious! I hope I win!

  28. 78
    Loni says:

    I’ve canned various fruit preserves over the last several years. Only since finding your blog, have I tried my first marmalade – two in fact. The blood orange and just this past weekend (while snowed in!) I tried a regular orange marmalade. Very tasty – – keep the inspiration coming!

    I’m delighted to hear that you’ve tried to make marmalade! I’ll do my best to keep the recipes coming! -Marisa

  29. 79
    Sharon D. says:

    Hi Marisa,

    I just found your blog earlier today, I cannot wait to spend more time here. This recipe sounds perfect seeing that I have an abundance of citrus in the fridge. I will be making this soon πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing this recipe and thank you for entering me in your sweet giveaway. Oh, I listed a link to your blog on mine and hope you don’t mind.

    Have a wonderful evening!

    Thanks Sharon! -Marisa

  30. 80
    Kristin says:

    It looks so good but like too much work for me so I would love to try a jar of yours!

  31. 81
    Leslie says:

    I am so pleased you posted this recipe. Firstly because using a vegetable peeler to take off the peel seems so easy, and secondly because every year when we go to visit my in-laws I buy a jar of marmalade de trois fruits (three fruits) and have to make it last until the next visit (they don’t sell it where I live). Now I can make it myself!


  32. 82
    cindy says:

    You make it look so easy. How long did this take for you from start to finish:? I always think of canning in the summer. Do you can year ’round:?

    Cindy, the marmalade took about two hours, from start to finish. And yep, I do can all year round. There’s always something that can be canned, from fall fruit butters, to citrus fruits, to sauerkraut or pickled spring vegetables. -Marisa

  33. 83
    Maureen says:

    Thank-you thank-you thank-you! for posting this recipe. My marmalade had ‘issues’ (let’s just leave it at that) and you have answered several questions that might make my next attempt a success πŸ™‚

  34. 84
    Lizzie says:

    I want to eat your blog.

    I have made marmalade a couple times with mystery mini-citrus from a potted plant. (It’s supposed to be a “dwarf lime,” looks like a kumquat, tastes like a lemon…) It was pretty good, but this looks like a much more professional operation.

  35. 85
    Aimee says:

    I want to make marmalade now!!

    I’ve done my fair share of jam making, but have never attempted making marmalade; I’m afraid it’s going to be runny.

    Bookmarked for a snow day. πŸ™‚

  36. 86
    Emmaleigh504 says:

    Me FTW! I made my first marmalade this year and it would be awesome to have a taste test.

  37. 87
    Sofia says:

    I love your blog! I recently stumbled upon this site and after attempting canning for the first time this Christmas I am inspired to try new recipes.

  38. 88
    Sofia says:

    p.s. I just saw you are in Philadelphia, now I’m really excited to check out one of your classes at Fosters πŸ™‚

  39. 89
    Melanie says:

    This recipe looks amazing! I may have to add it to my list of preserves to try making myself. I’d love to try your very own batch!

  40. 90
    CraftyAngie says:

    I was lucky enough to try this marmalade last week (I just had to, orange marmalade being my favorite) and I have to say that, as with the jams that you’ve made and that i’ve been lucky to try….this is the best ever!!

  41. 91
    Sara says:

    This was fun to read: I made a three citrus marmalade for the can jam challenge and this is quite similar but still different–in particular the membrane and seed in the cheesecloth bit. Thanks for the help on removing the pith–I had a hard time with this so I will be checking it out (and hardly knew there was a term for it)!

  42. 92
    Sheila says:

    Well…this is kismet at its best! I bought a few too many navel oranges a few weeks ago, and then my roommate bought me grapefruit last week when I asked him to pick up some grapes at the store (he’s italian…his english is great, but I think we had a momentary lapse in communication πŸ™‚ ). I thought an orange-grapefruit marmalade would be interesting, so I headed over here to see if you had any ideas. And lo and behold, you have just posted exactly the recipe I need. The world works in mysterious ways!

    Also, the grape catchup turned out really well! I’ll be posting some pics to flickr/blog soon. I used a package of liquid pectin, and the consistency is exactly how I wanted it. Thanks for the tip.

  43. 93
    tigress says:

    what a gorgeous color! i’m over the fact that i’m 7 hours too late!!! πŸ™

  44. 94
    Julie says:

    LOVE marmalade – great post! Thanks for the reminder to make some in the bleak midwinter…

  45. 95

    […] I would love to make this. I’d eat it with biscuits, with scones, with PB and J. Wouldn’t […]

  46. 96
    Sara says:

    I am attempting preparing to begin canning…..I have not yet been successful in getting all necessary tools, my canning pot arrived dented with chips cracking off already so I am waiting for that to be returned. Once it does marmalade is first on my list, but I have a question. I bought lbs and lbs of blood oranges and at first I was looking for a straight blood orange recipe and it was hard to find. Most recipes include other fruits, which is fine now that I’ve used up all my oranges and will be starting over, but if I happen to have all of one citrus could I substitute as long as I use the same amounts? For example, in this recipe you call for 4 1/2 lbs of fruit, could I use all oranges if it was 4 1/2 lbs? I know it would definitely change the taste, but would it affect the actual process?

  47. 97
    Susan says:

    These instructions are so clear and inspiring that I tried making my first marmalade yesterday. I used all of your proportions, but used local blood oranges. It has a great flavor but did not set. Would it be ok to open the jars, reboil to temp and reprocess? Should I strain out the peels first?

  48. 98
    Marisa says:

    Well shoot, Susan, I’m so sorry to hear that your marmalade didn’t set.

    The good news is that you can open the jars, reboil it to temp and reprocess it in clean jars. The only thing you lose in doing that is the time and lids (you’ve got to use new ones). If you want to cheat a little, you can also add an envelope of liquid pectin, to ensure you get a good set.

    Also, this is a good situation in which to use the plate test, where you put several small plates or saucers in the freezer before you start processing and then, when it comes up to temperature, to put a dab in the center of the very cold plate. Let it sit for 30 seconds or so and then push it with your finger. If it has formed a skin and wrinkles, it’s a good sign that it has set.

  49. 99
    Susan says:

    Thanks for your tips, Marisa. I reboiled the blood orange marmalade with liquid pectin and it set up a little too hard, but still tastes great. I made another batch with oranges from a friend’s tree and it came out perfectly. One of the previous comments talked about using pectin instead of the pulp bundle, and I did this. I got a better set and a brighter,less bitter flavor. Have you ever used mint as an added flavor for marmalade? I have some grapefruits coming my way and thought that would be a good combination.

  50. 100
    Susan says:

    Also – I used some of the blood orange marmalade in a dessert. Butter cookie dough baked in 9×13 pan. Cool. Spread with marmalade. Sprinkle with sliced toasted almonds, drizzle with extra dark chocolate. YUM!


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