Blood Orange Marmalade

April 3, 2009(updated on October 3, 2018)

Dear friends. I’ve learned a lot about the process of making marmalade since the days when I posted this recipe. I don’t recommend that you follow the instructions I wrote below. I’m leaving the post up because I hate leaving holes in the site, but I ask if you’re looking for marmalade guidance, you visit this post instead. It can be made with blood oranges in place of the variety of citrus, should you be wondering. 

blood oranges

This marmalade wasn’t part of the plan I had neatly laid out in my head. I figured that after the Vanilla-Rhubarb Jam, I would make a batch of Honey-Lemon Marmalade and then head to the savory, pickling side of things for a while. But then I found myself at Reading Terminal Market last Saturday with my friend Shay and Iovine’s was selling blood oranges 5/$1. At that price, it seemed like I would be a fool not to buy a few. Or fifteen.


Have you ever bought fifteen pieces of the same fruit all at once, when they’re being sold by the count (as opposed to by the pound or the half-bushel)? It was certainly a first for me. I think previously, I’d never gone over ten. It was something of a physical challenge too, because Iovine’s has narrow aisles and is always crowded (more so on Saturdays), making it tricky to balance your basket, keep your bag from knocking people over and still managing to keep track of how many oranges you’ve tucked into the bag. I must have recounted three or four times before I was sure that I had the proper number.


I spent a couple of days with the blood oranges on my kitchen counter, arranged in a old yelloware bowl. Each time I walked into the kitchen, I’d pick one up and give it a sniff, recalling the first time I encountered blood oranges. It was about six years ago, the only time I took a boy home to Portland for the holidays (Scott, the one I’m marrying, still hasn’t been to Portland or met my parents. I guess that’s what the wedding will be for). Matt, an old family friend, was bartending at Paley’s Place, a delicious restaurant in NW Portland, so one night, the boy and I headed out to have a drink while he was working and catch up for a bit.

That night, Matt too busy to talk much, mostly because he’d put several drinks on the menu that featured freshly squeezed blood orange juice. He made us some fancy, boozy coffees, with flaming cinnamon and we watched as he juiced the oranges and mixed drinks.


Tuesday night, as beautiful at the blood oranges were, it was time to make marmalade. I approached it much the way I did the first batch, taking care to sharpen the knife I was using before beginning the process of chopping the oranges. It’s a tedious task, but even more if you’re sawing away with a dull blade. 12 oranges later, I had ten cups of chopped fruit, my left hand was dyed a vivid purple and my kitchen was dappled with red drops of juice.


I cooked the oranges with 4 cups of sugar, one cup of liquid (I used half blood orange juice and half water, but plain orange juice or all water would be fine as well) and some lemon juice. I thought about adding something else to punch up the flavor, but after a taste, I determined that it was perfectly delicious as it. I used one packet of liquid pectin to firm things up a bit. However, the juice is fairly thin, so if you prefer a more jelled consistency, I’d recommend two packets.


I think that this may be one of the best things I’ve made. The batch I made was a bit over four pints and so I had a small stash for myself in the fridge. I ate it on toast last night for dessert and the way the sweet and tart flavors work together is a joyful thing for the mouth.

I’ll be giving away a full pint of this marmalade to one lucky commenter. Since I didn’t get this post up until late on Thursday night, you have until Saturday at 5 pm to leave a comment for a chance to be the winner.

Blood Orange Marmalade

10 cups of chopped blood oranges (approximately 12 oranges)
4 cups sugar
1 cup liquid (orange juice, water, or some combination of the two)
1 lemon, juiced
1 packet liquid pectin (use two if you like a more jellied consistency)

Sterilize your jars in your preferred manner.

Put fruit, sugar, liquid and lemon juice in a 4-quart, non-reactive pot and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and cook at a simmer for 10-15 minutes (you want it to look syrup-y and shiny). Bring back to a boil and add pectin. Stir to combine and let bubble for 2-3 minutes.

Remove marmalade from head and ladle into jars. Wipe the rims and threads of the jars with a cloth dipped into your sterilization water and apply lids and bands. Put into water bath and process for ten minutes.

This marmalade definitely has a bitter edge. I don’t necessarily recommend it for folks who like their preserves sweet and uncomplicated. However, if you like a little zing with your morning toast, this may be your answer.

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44 thoughts on "Blood Orange Marmalade"

  • Fantastic job. I love making marmalade. I did it for the first time last year with meyer lemons and thought it was so fun, I kept going, using blood oranges & cardamon. Love your jars as well!

  • Oh this looks so good! I’ve been making “tea” out of marmalade ever since I had some at a restaurant a few months ago. It was amazing.

  • I have never had blood orange marmalade, but by your pictures and description I would love to try some of it.
    I remember my mom canning but the closest I have come to canning is making a batch of applesauce apple butter in a crockpot.
    Your description makes me want to give canning a solo try.

  • So gorgeous. Blood oranges might be the prettiest fruit there is.
    My folks go to the bar at Paley’s a bunch…

  • I’m so into blood oranges right now! The first (& last) time I tried marmalade I was about 6 years old and hated it. I think it’s time to revisit…especially such a pretty version.

  • Oh. My. Goodness! That looks incredible. I’ve just found your site and am already excited and inspired by what I’ve seen. My husband is American and I learned canning from my mother-in-law – very fond memories of making chilli tomato sauce, beautiful apple jelly, rhubarb apple chutney and cherry ketchup with her. I live in England, I’ve no idea if I qualify for the marmalade giveaway or if it is even shippable overseas, but I just wanted to comment anyway to tell you ‘thank you’ for sharing your wonderful creations!

  • Me please! I need to find a store that sells Jars and lids so I can get in on this canning business. I’m making this one first when I do!

  • Oh I love blood oranges! I wish they were more readily (or at least consistently) available in Baltimore.

  • You always manage to make my mouth water! and now it’s not only marmalade…now I’m also daydreaming of blood orange cocktails!

  • Marisa, that is too pretty to eat…but I would be willing to try…LOL! And I, too, have a love of the jar. I cannot wait to see what you come up with as the season for fruits and veggies comes around. We are supposed to get frost a couple nites next week here in Central VA but I am ready and waiting for Spring.

  • Oh, yum! I started canning last year, but I haven’t tried marmalades yet. My favorite so far is a pear jam with caramel, lavender, and vanilla bean. It didn’t firm up very well, but makes a divine sauce for ice cream.

    I tried liquid pectin early on and didn’t like it as well as powdered–I think I did two batches of the same peach preserves, one with powder and one with liquid, and the liquid one didn’t gel at all. So I haven’t tried it again–what about it do you like? Because i’d definitely consider trying it again!

  • I’m not usually a marmalade fan but that is making my mouth water. I remember having blood oranges (whole and juiced) while on Ancient History school trips around Greece and Italy as a teenager, SO GOOD (it sort of ruined me for most eating oranges though). We’ve been buying blood oranges at my local coop lately and my two year old really likes them and calls them “special oranges” so I’m not sure I’d ever manage to get a sufficient number in one place long enough to make marmalade!!

  • I tried this last year (not the exact same recipe) 🙂 and I didn’t love it that much. All of the recipes I found for marmalade said to chop the oranges, add a certain amount of water, and let sit on the counter over night. I thought it interesting that yours doesn’t include that step. Maybe I would have liked the flavor better if it hadn’t been diluted with water. 🙂 Also, mine didn’t call for pectin.

    The one I made with regular oranges sat in earl grey tea, not just water. That one was better.

    I might have to try again and use your recipe.

  • it looks amazing! I wonder if you wouldn’t need pectin if you cooked it down for a long time? the lemon marmalade recipes I’ve used call for *very* long cooking times.

    and as I’m totally the sort of person who has, and will again, buy enormous quantities of something sold by piece rate, I understand. it’s especially challenging when they’re something like sweet peppers, which are both slippery and rounded, and you have a little boy who wants to go get a treat, and another boy on your back, and you’ve already bought too much so you’re trying to find nooks and crannies to stuff 15 jalapenos and 12 peppers… hehe. and people are walking by you looking at you with the expression, ‘are you going to PAY for those?’ because you look for all the world like an extraordinarily clumsy shoplifter.

  • I like a tinger of bitterness in my marmalade and my grapefruit skin preserves. So send it my way… will you? I’ll promise to eat it on freshly baked baguette, and I’ll make butter for it… It’ll like it.

  • Wow, that sounds tasty…

    Can’t help but think of the opening sequence of Dexter whenever I see a blood orange.

    I can’t wait to try the mayo recipe, either.

  • My mom loves marmalade, but for some reason she doesn’t make it. She has made blueberry-orange preserves, though, using tart miniature oranges from the tree I nearly killed last winter (it is fine now). THAT was fanTAstic!
    I’d love to be the winner of the jar of marmalade! Plus, maybe we’d have to get together if I win, so you could give it to me!

  • What a gorgeous concoction! I just found you today through Kalyn’s Kitchen and Blood Oranges are a longtime favorite of mine. I am already filling my dishwasher with Ball jars MMMMmmmmmm

  • FIrst off, Patricia….share your marmalade tea recipe- sounds pretty intriguing! Second- Allison, I have never gotten my pear preserves to jell correctly (must be me), but I use them as a sauce over pound cake or icecream or add to oatmeal or use them to make pear bread- use any quick bread recipe and replace any oil with the runny pear preserves – incredibly moist and low fat too, but I cut the cooking time by a few minutes. I really love this website- it isn’t too intimidating for those of us who are new to canning.

  • Michelle, I’m so glad to hear that you’re finding this site accessible. That’s awesome! Definitely let me know if you have questions or if there’s something I say that confuses you.

    Speaking of pear jam, there’s a recipe over at the Traveler’s Lunchbox that I want to try next time I see cheap pears. The picture is gorgeous and I love that it’s scented with cardamom.

  • I will try that recipe. A friend’s neighbor has a pear tree and when the fruit is ripe, she will leave boxes of fruit on doorsteps, next to visitors’ cars, on the curb….so I am lucky enough to have a source of free pears!!!

  • Question for you. Can I use this basic recipe and use regular oranges? Probably not navel, but just your run of the mill, grocery orange?

  • Hi Marisa! I just popped over from after reading your comment regarding BlogAid. So glad to have found you and your recipe for Blood Orange Marm. I get so excited when they come on the market that I buy two bags without even knowing what I’m going to eventually do with them! Now I know!

  • HAHA…I just commented on your three citrus marmalade saying I was looking for an all blood orange recipe and as I kept looking at your site, here I found it!! Thanks!! Your blog will definitely be one of my new favorites!!

  • Sooo.. It’s a year later.. I’m making blood orange marmalade and just got some jars I thought were cute from Freddies. Turns out they’re just impractical. I love your jars and plan to can a whole lot this year. Where are you getting them? We live in the Gorge and can easily access Portland, if that’s where they are. Thank you. Did you repeat (and improve) this year? The oranges have been decadently good out of hand. Candy.

  • I made blood orange marmalade again, it turned out runny. Again. So it will not be “good enough” to give away and I will have to keep it! I will try again over the weekend before the season is over. I am looking forward to the orange marmalade with cardamom! This site is great for ideas, can’t wait for strawberry and blackberry season!

  • Just a note to clarify that the marmalade using liquid pectin can take up to two (2) weeks to set up properly. Got that information on the Certo insert.

  • Do you leave the pith in the marmalade? I have a bag full ‘o blood oranges ready to go but I’m wondering about the pith as I’ve read in other recipes that you want to make sure not to get any of the pith in with your zest.

  • I have never been much of a sweet eater. My sister loves Orange Marmalade and I had it once at her house. The Marmalade I tried at her house looked to me like the oranges were zested and then the pith cut off. In your pictures, it looks like you really just chopped your oranges, skin, pith and all. You didn’t say in the recipe. You assumed that everyone would know what you did and how you chopped them. I hate to be such a dummy, but I am really ignorant about Marmalades. Please explain.
    I love Blood Oranges. They intrigue me and I intend to use your recipe. Thank you so very much for sharing it with us. I have begun to collect Scone Recipes. I have yet to bake any of them, but I will and I will make the Marmalade before I try the Scones. I can hardly wait!

  • Hello! I’m a newbie here. I wanted to make kumquat marmalade for holiday gift baskets this year, but have found a severe lack of the fruit. So I decided I would try blood orange marmalade. I’ll be packing it in the baskets with a fig and thyme jam, tea, and scone mix. How many pints does this recipe make? And does anyone have suggestions on how to substitute powdered pectin for liquid pectin? I’m relatively new to preserving and canning and have only used powdered thus far.

    Thank you!