How to Make Small Batch Marmalade

Are you participating in the Food in Jars Mastery Challenge? This small batch marmalade recipe is just the thing to get you started!

small batch marmalade yields just four half pints - Food in Jars

Okay folks. Let’s walk through how to make a batch of marmalade. I’m using a small batch as an example for this post, because marmalade is an energy-intensive preserve and so making a relatively petite batch makes it feel a little less overwhelming.

one pound Seville oranges for small batch marmalade - Food in Jars

Whether you’re making a small batch or a large one, marmalade making uses a ratio of 1:1:1. The easiest way to calculate that and ensure that the ingredients stay in consistent relationship to one another is measure by weight. In this batch, I used 1 pound of Seville oranges (about 2 1/2 oranges), 1 pound of sugar (2 cups), and 1 pound of the orange cooking water (also known as 2 cups).

simmered Seville oranges for small batch marmalade - Food in Jars

Place the fruit in a saucepan with a lid and add water. Use more than you’ll need to account for evaporation. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook until the oranges are completely tender and collapse in on themselves (this typically takes between 45-55 minutes).

Turn off the heat and let the oranges cool completely.

tender orange insides for small batch marmalade - Food in Jars

Once the oranges are cool enough to handle, remove them from the pot (remembering to save the cooking water). Position a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Cut an orange in half. Hold one half over the sieve and use a spoon to scoop out the interior of the orange into the sieve. Search the pulp in the sieve for any seeds.

Once you’re sure it is seed-free, put the pulp into the bowl with the juices. Repeat this with all the orange halves.

sliced Seville oranges for small batch marmalade - Food in Jars

Once all the pulp is in the bowl, it’s time to slice the rinds. Cut each rind half into 4 wedges and then cut those wedges into thin strips. You can cut them as thinly or thickly as you desire. Once all the rind wedges have been sliced, you can either add them to the bowl with the pulp or send them on to the pot in which you will cook the marmalade.

simmering small batch marmalade - Food in Jars

Combine the reserved cooking water with the orange rind slices, orange pulp, and sugar in a saucepan. You’ll notice that I changed saucepans halfway through the making of this batch. I did this because I realized that I was not going to have enough volume in the wider pot to give me a true reading on an instant read thermometer (there’s more detail on using a thermometer to achieve set in this post).

small batch marmalade in jars - Food in Jars

The reason marmalade sets up so well is that the sugar elevates in temperature as you boil the contents of the pot. As it elevates, the sugar begins to thicken and it creates a bond with the natural pectins in the fruit. The fact that oranges also contain a goodly amount of acid also helps with the set.

finished small batch marmalade close - Food in Jars

Once you’ve determined that your marmalade is finished, funnel it into clean, hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes (don’t know how to do the boiling water bath process? Read this post). When the time is up, remove the jars from the canner and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool.

When the jars have cooled enough that you can comfortable handle them, check the seals (more details on checking seals here). Sealed jars can be stored at room temperature for up to a year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.

I hope this post helps you feel a little more comfortable with the process of making marmalade. Oh, and one last thing. If you’re struggling to find Seville oranges, using a combination of juicing oranges and lemons creates a similar flavor profile.

Small Batch Seville Orange Marmalade

Yield: makes 4 half pints

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Seville oranges
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Give the oranges a good scrub and place them in a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Cover them with the water and set the pot on the stove over high heat. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and put the lid on the pot.
  2. Simmer the oranges for approximately 45-55 until the rinds are tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork. At this point, remove the pot from the heat and let the oranges cool completely.
  3. When the oranges are cool, remove them from the pot. Measure out 2 cups of the cooking water and reserve it.
  4. Cut the oranges in half across their mid-section, the way you would a grapefruit. Using a spoon, scoop the interior flesh out into a bowl. Remove the seeds and discard them. Put the seeded pulp into the bowl. Repeat with the remaining halves.
  5. Once all the pulp is in the bowl, turn your attention to the rinds. Cut each half into 4 wedges and then cut those wedges into thin strips. These can also be added to the bowl.
  6. Prepare a boiling water bath and 4 half pint jars.
  7. In a saucepan, combine the reserved cooking water, the orange pulp, the zest ribbons, and sugar. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook at a controlled boil, stirring regularly for 20 to 25 minutes, until the volume in the pot has reduced by about half.
  8. Monitor the temperature of the cooking fruit using an instant read thermometer. The marmalade is done when it reaches 220F. When it reaches that point, remove the pot from the heat.
  9. Funnel the marmalade into the prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
  10. When the time is up, remove the jars and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. When the jars have cooled enough that you can comfortable handle them, check the seals. Sealed jars can be stored at room temperature for up to a year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.
http://foodinjars.com/2017/01/small-batch-marmalade/

Related Posts:

, , , , ,

35 Responses to How to Make Small Batch Marmalade

  1. 1
    PepperReed says:

    Good to know that 1:1:1 ratio! Also, is there a reason you do not blanch the oranges a few times first, before simmering to cook them? Should/would that change for different fruit? I typically make grapefruit or mixed citrus marm and blanche the gfruit because of extreme bitterness (and I *like* it bitter!). Thoughts?

    • 1.1
      Marisa says:

      I never even occurred to me to blanch the oranges before simmering them. That’s not a technique I’ve come across in marmalade making in the past.

  2. 2
    Alex says:

    Could you use this basic ratio with any citrus?

    • 2.1
      Marisa says:

      Yes. This is the standard ratio for classic marmalade making.

      • Alex says:

        Thanks! When you say “juicing oranges” – is that another name for Navel oranges?

        • Marisa says:

          I am amending this comment! Some navel oranges will work for marmalade. However, you want to steer clear of the ones that are the size of a softball and have a very thick pith layer. One way to tell if an orange is going to have a super thick layer of pith is to look at the skin. If it is very pebbly, changes are good its got more pith. A smoother skin often means a thinner pith layer.

          Nope. Navel oranges don’t work particularly well for marmalade (they often have a VERY thick layer of pith). Ask at your grocery store about thinner skinned varieties. There are some orange varieties developed for juicing rather than peeling and eating.

          • Andrea R says:

            Hi Marisa–I’m hoping to do your orange ginger marmalade recipe (http://foodinjars.com/2009/03/orange-ginger-marmalade/) and was trying to find out what kind of oranges to get–I see here that you don’t recommend Navel. For that recipe, should I look for Seville oranges as well? Also, I’d like to try scaling that recipe down to a small batch like the one you have above. Should I just use your 1:1:1 rule to do the math and figure it out? Thanks! So excited to try.

            • Marisa says:

              Andrea, I think I should have been more specific. Some navel oranges will work for marmalade. You just don’t want to use the ones that are the size of a softball and have super-thick layers of pith. Those won’t give you a good outcome.

              • Andrea R says:

                Got it! I found some thin-skinned ones 🙂 Whole Foods really disappointed me…the only organic citrus they had were the navel oranges (and I had to pick through those to find the thinnest-skinned ones), lemons, and some grapefruit. All the cool specialty citrus was conventional. I figured I’d try this first to see if I even like marmalade before I invest in ordering from some of the specialty people you’ve mentioned! Thanks for your help…hoping to tune in tonight.

  3. 3
    Cheryl says:

    Ok I think I got it now, we are scooping out the segments and hopefully leaving the pith. Is that the reason for boiling them whole?

    • 3.1
      Marisa says:

      In this technique, you’re using the whole fruit. So you’re not leaving the pith behind. If you read carefully, you’ll see that after you scoop out the interior flesh, you chop the entirety of the rind into slices that then get cooked with the pulp, water, and sugar. The reason for boiling them whole is to soften the fruit to make them easier to break down.

  4. 4
    Jen C says:

    Perfect! I love Sevulle orange marmalade but don’t know a lot of people who enjoy the bitterness and it would take me forever to get through a big batch.

  5. 5
    Linda Guthrie says:

    Would this method also work with blood oranges?

  6. 6

    I tried making marmalade for the first time last year and was absolutely clueless. Needless to say, it did not turn out so well. My local grocery store is having a citrus sale this week so I’m excited to pick some up and try again, now that I’ve got better instructions to guide me!

  7. 7
    DMartin says:

    Hurray! My husband has requested a clementine marmalade. I was just coming to your site to look for some general principles to see about proceeding, and here you are with a general recipe!

    Is there anything I need to know unique to clementines before proceeding too much further? Thanks!

  8. 8
    The Hadster says:

    I just backed the mason jar topper you mentioned yesterday. Can’t wait!

  9. 9
    Yvette says:

    I just ordered some Meyer lemons and going to try your strawberry lemon marmalade when they arrive. I have never made marmalade, so I am excited to try this and the other challenges. Thank you for doing this!

  10. 10
    The Hadster says:

    I notice that you are using one piece lids.

    How do you like them? I’m not worried so much about the seal – the button will tell me. But I am concerned that the contents could go off and there would be no way to tell.

    I think I’d be ok with one piece lids on marmalades made with citrus and jellies made with vinegar because of the high acid content. I’m not sure about lower acid foods and anything in a pressure canner.

    What are your thoughts? What are your experiences? Do you use the one piece lids for pressure canning?

    Has anyone else used the one piece lids?

  11. 11
    Denise says:

    Would this work with Meyer lemons?

    • 11.1
      Marisa says:

      I don’t typically use this approach for meyer lemons, but I imagine it should. You probably wouldn’t need to cook them as long to soften them.

      • Stephanie O says:

        Just made a batch of Meyer lemon marmalade and this method is what I used. It’s fantastic.

        • Molly says:

          Thanks for leaving this – I was 30 minutes into a batch with meyer lemons when I found your question & Marissa’s answer.

  12. 12
    mlaiuppa says:

    Well, I looked it up online. Oranges ripen starting in February and can hold on the tree until peak harvest in May-July. Some as long as October. I’ll ask my parents about their tree but if there are no oranges, I may not be doing marmalade. I’d have to go out and buy organic to make sure no spraying or pesticides. I would rather have used the fruit from my parents’ yard. I do their apricots, figs, nectarines and kumquats when they have them.

    I have made marmalade on my own. A Meyer Lemon Lavender and a Lime Clove Hibiscus. I was hoping to do an orange cardamom this time.

  13. 13

    […] days after the canning. So this time I kept things simple, following the formula from Marissa at Food in Jars : one pound fruit, one pound sugar, one pound […]

  14. 14

    […] like last time, I (vaguely) used the Food in Jars 1:1:1 ratio of fruit to sugar to water, although I cooked the fruit before cutting it up, and also […]

  15. 15
    Heather says:

    Just finished making a beautiful batch of sweet orange marmalade (couldn’t find any Seville oranges in town). Love the whole fruit method! Much simpler and my floor is only a teeny bit sticky.

  16. 16
    Debra says:

    those lids are beautiful! where do you get them?

  17. 17

    […] if it was marmalade itself or  commercial marmalade I didn’t like. Food in Jars has several small batch marmalade posts that will give you a head start and explains the different processes that you can use.  I used […]

  18. 18

    […] or blood orange for a lovely crimson preserve.  Marisa McClellan’s recent recipe for small-batch marmalade was extremely helpful and full of tips for those who have never made marmalade, including myself. […]

  19. 19
    Mary Jo says:

    I am not a cook that follows a recipe exactly but in this case I did and the Marmalade turned out perfectly. Now on to Blood Oranges. Thank you.

  20. 20

    […] The method used in The Guide to Good Cooking were pretty involved. Instead, I used the method described by Food for Jars in their post on How to Make Small Batch Marmalade. […]

  21. 21
    beth says:

    i don’t think i’ve seen a whole fruit method before – looking forward to trying this out. two questions: can this scale? (i have 3 lbs of citrus.) and does the membrane between the segments go right in with all the pulp? thanks!

    • 21.1
      Marisa says:

      As long as you keep the ratio in place, you can absolutely scale it. And you do leave the membrane. It dissolves down pretty well.

  22. 22
    Deb says:

    Can you substitute coconut sugar or honey for the granulated sugar?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Mmm Meyers | Bread and jam and jam and bread and ginger - January 6, 2017

    […] days after the canning. So this time I kept things simple, following the formula from Marissa at Food in Jars : one pound fruit, one pound sugar, one pound […]

  2. Cara-Meyer marmalade | Bread and jam and jam and bread and ginger - January 7, 2017

    […] like last time, I (vaguely) used the Food in Jars 1:1:1 ratio of fruit to sugar to water, although I cooked the fruit before cutting it up, and also […]

  3. 2 snow days = marmalade 2 ways  - cheeseandcrackerjacks - January 11, 2017

    […] if it was marmalade itself or  commercial marmalade I didn’t like. Food in Jars has several small batch marmalade posts that will give you a head start and explains the different processes that you can use.  I used […]

  4. Marmalade | Sycamore House - January 12, 2017

    […] or blood orange for a lovely crimson preserve.  Marisa McClellan’s recent recipe for small-batch marmalade was extremely helpful and full of tips for those who have never made marmalade, including myself. […]

  5. Canning Master Challenge – Disaster under Marmalade Skies | hip roof barn - January 14, 2017

    […] The method used in The Guide to Good Cooking were pretty involved. Instead, I used the method described by Food for Jars in their post on How to Make Small Batch Marmalade. […]

Leave a Reply