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 โ€œSo Easy to Preserveโ€œ

Related Posts:

  • Check the recipe index for more tasty preserves!

230 responses to “Three-Citrus Marmalade Recipe”

  1. There’s not a thing you put in a jar (that I’ve tried) that I haven’t loved!

    Aww, thanks Steve! You’re an excellent, appreciative taster! -Marisa

  2. Why do contests work? So funny that I’ve known about your blog for months & this is the post I choose to click on. Though in my defense, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of your blog post tweets before.

    But I totally subscribed because reading about canning is yummy. And I’ve heard your jars taste incredibly yummy, too.

    Maybe one of these days I’ll actually give it a try.

    The allure of a contest is strong! ๐Ÿ˜‰ And not to toot my own horn, but the rumors are true. My jams are pretty yummy. But I’m sure your jams would be yummy too! You should definitely give canning a try. -Marisa

  3. Hi Marissa!
    I’m changing my handle on here, since there’s already another Lauren floating around ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a marmalade question. I made a batch of lemon ginger marmalde a few months ago using the technique you used, and it turned out great. the only thing is, those carefully extracted segments breakdown completely, which makes me wonder, why bother? Why not just remove the zest, then cut the lemon in 1/2, juice it, and save the seeds for the pectin bag?

    When I make seville orange marmalade I cut the oranges in 1/2, juice them, then rip the membranes out before chopping the skin. This obviously makes for a more robust marmalade since I include all the pith, but the texture of the jelly is very similar to my lemon marmalade.

    My lemon ginger marmalade has proven really popular, so I want to make a ton more, but separating the segments is a royal pain in the you-know-what, do you think the simpler method might work?

    Well, hello Evil Tinkerbell! The only problem that I see with your method is that you lose a bit of volume. You could certainly do it that way. -Marisa

  4. This looks like so much better of an idea than the giant vats of marmalade that got me into this whole canning thing. I’m surprised I was still interested after that!

    Actually, now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure I still have jars of not set marmalade lurking in the back of the pantry, waiting to be reprocessed.

    Recently, my mom re-cooked and canned some marmalade she had made that did not set. She cooked it to 220 degrees and re-canned it. And it worked! -Marisa

  5. Please enter me to win the marmalade! I’ve been quite proud of the marmalade I’ve canned, but never did the cheesecloth part … I must try that! Thanks!

  6. I have not made any marmalade yet in my canning experience. I am more into pickling right now. I might try a marmalade or two soon. Enjoy all the snow you are getting.

  7. Usually I am not so into marmalade but this recipe looks delish! Pick me and prove my assumption correct?!
    Thanks for the blog!

  8. My mom grew up in Florida and learned “supreming” at 4H. I learned by watching her! Sometimes people are impressed when I present a bowl of “ambrosia” (citrus fruit salad) made with individual segments, but to me, that is just how you do it and it is no big deal! I’d love to try your marmalade!

    Fran, it’s interesting how people think that supreming is a big, fancy deal. I’ve found that once you get comfortable doing it, it makes for quick, easy to eat fruit salads (and of course, marmalade prep). -Marisa

  9. Sorry, Evil Tinkerbell. ๐Ÿ™‚ You can blame my mom & dad.

    I’ve never tried marmalade before, is that bad?

    Lauren, I am aghast. You’ve never had marmalade?!

  10. Oh this looks delicious! We use the Orange Marmalade I buy at the Farmer’s Market instead of duck sauce on our Chinese food. Your instructions are very thorough but I have a few questions (I’m still learning to can this year so you’ll have to excuse me ;o)

    1. Do you have to weigh your fruit or can I just count out the same amount of fruit like you have? 2. I’ve heard that preparing your jars by running them thru the dishwasher & heat dry makes this process quick for having them ready? 3. I have a steam canner so is it still 5 minutes that I run them for?

    Thank you for your beautiful, easy to read blog. I’ll get canning yet!

    1. I weigh the fruit because size can vary greatly. You want between 4 1/2 and 5 pounds of fruit for this recipe, and so it’s good to count it out and then weigh it, to ensure you have enough. I’m going to go back into the post and clarify that point better. 2. You can certainly use your dishwasher to sterilize jars. I don’t do it because I rarely have an empty dishwasher when I decide to make jam. 3. Just so you know, the USDA does not recommend the use of a steam canner, as it doesn’t allow for the same level of penetration as a boiling water bath does. However, the USDA is often over-cautious. I’m not passing judgment on your equipment, but I have no experience with a steam canner, so I can’t even hazard a guess as to how long you should process your jars in it. -Marisa

  11. I love marmalade! Will have to try this recipe, I confess, I’ve never tried to make it myself.

    You can do it! -Marisa

  12. Wow, Marisa! Your photos are particularly vibrant! And I love that bit about Gosford Parl, since that line in the movie has always stuck with me, and I haven’t seen it since it was in theaters! How nice to have a stocked pantry, and so much of it this year was thanks to inspiration from you. This marmalade will have to make the docket for next year, while we eat up and enjoy what we have… Unless I win, then I promise to make proper scones to enjoy this with!

    Goodness, thank you! I’m so delighted to hear that you’re enjoying your stocked pantry. I find that it makes life so much easier and more enjoyable to have a few homemade jams and pickles tucked away. I also applaud your restraint and decision to step back and choose to eat up what you have instead of making more. I don’t possess that particular variety of self-control. -Marisa

  13. The first time I ever tasted orange marmalade was in Oslo, Norway. It was different, but I liked it. I was 12 years old and was on a visit with my sister and maternal grandparents. I remember the food well; although I grew up on my grandmother’s Norwegian cooking, there were even more “exotics” to be had once in Europe. I also remember my first salmon, a whole, wild-caught filet broiled with butter; and open-faced sandwiches with egg and tomato.

    Oh Kristine, what wonderful food memories! -Marisa

  14. This looks like beautiful and delicious marmalade! I would sure love to win a jar. I just made your Honey Lemon Apple Jam (which turned out wonderfully by the way – thanks for a great recipe!). I have some lemons left in the fridge and this may be the perfect reason to pull them from the fridge and start canning again!

    Laura, I’m so glad to hear that the Honey Lemon Apple Jam worked out well for you! You should definitely make this marmalade. There are a lot of steps, but it comes together easily. -Marisa

  15. My marmalade did not turn out well last year, so I would welcome the chance to try some proper marmalade. If I don’t win, I supposed I will have to go ahead and make this. Perhaps it was too much pith… Looks so delicious.

  16. A wonderful recipe, we just moved in with a lemon tree. I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t have citrus here in CA!

    Summer, I don’t understand people who live in sunny CA and don’t have citrus trees. If I lived there, I’d immediately plant a mini-orchard. -Marisa

  17. This looks divine! I’ve got some cheese cloth that needs a use and this marmalade might be the perfect way to bust it out. Plus, it will go very well on the muffins I intend to make with the whole wheat pastry flour I need to use up. Marisa, your jar would be a good comparison to assure I followed your instructions just so:)

  18. Oh, this looks good. I got the canning bug this summer and this looks like a perfect next recipe to try. My husband is half Scottish and LOVES marmalade.

  19. I am so excited to have discovered your blog! Preserving has always intimidated me, but your pictures and recipes are so tempting I will just have to get over it. I am really looking forward to poking around here.

    Thanks Robin! -Marisa

  20. The detailed directions you give here are among the best I’ve seen for marmalade.

    I just tried using a ton of reserved mandarin peels to create a marmalade, and while the flavor was good, it was far too thick. I need to adjust the recipe, and this recipe of yours will help me figure out how to make it work. In fact, I think I’ll just start by doing your recipe here, step by step, to get a feel for it before I start riffing away.

    Thanks for the great resource.

    Christina, I’m so glad that you’re finding this post helpful! Good luck with your next batch! -Marisa

  21. I can’t say I’m a marmalade fan, but then again, I haven’t tried this marmalade. Maybe your marmalade will inspire me to can again, as I’ve been in a bit of a winter (it makes sense though, doesn’t it?).
    A question: I recently found 3 jars in my pantry whose lids had popped up, but they still felt sealed. I put them in my refrigerator, but do you think they’re ok?

    Please, trash those jars immediately. Raised lids indicate the presence of bacterial growth (as the bacteria grows, it releases gas, which leads to the firm raising of lids). -Marisa

  22. Great description! But I’m still afraid marmalade might be too much bleeping work for a canner with two small children. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Remember in “Gosford Park” when Dame Maggie Smith says: “Bought marmalade? That is rather feeble.” Hee.

    Emily, I love that scene. I think of it every time I make or eat marmalade. -Marisa

  23. Heh. You’re going to get me canning things yet. Up until this point, I’ve made any number of excuses for why I avoid the process (time, experience, equipment, time). But, orange marmalade??!! How can I resist?

    It would be a shame not to give it a try, when there’s all this gorgeous citrus in season! -Marisa

  24. I’d love to win this. I had an epic marmalade fail just last week, and am in danger of swearing it off! Change my mind!

    Beth, don’t give up! I have complete confidence in your marmalade abilities! -Marisa

  25. I just got a beautiful enameled dutch oven for my birthday. Maybe I should put it to good use with this recipe!

    I think you should! -Marisa

  26. wow, that sounds great! i’ve never tried my hand at citrus preserves, i’m thinking that i’m going to have to tackle it!

  27. Good morning. I first found your site while looking for blackberry jam information. I am also a *jar* person. I have canned for many years, but have never made marmalade. Is this the recipe you used during your recent class? Seattle is a little too far away to travel from for your class. (not to mention the snow causing problems with the airlines.) I am excited about trying to make marmalade. Thank you for the pictures and help.

    It’s always good to hear from another jar person! Unfortunately, my class was canceled because of low enrollment. However, this is the recipe I was planning on using. -Marisa

  28. Oh, me! Pick me!

    Finally! You’ve managed to make marmalade look pretty simple. Now I just need to get my snowy butt to a market where the citrus is likely to have less wax.

    The Fair Food Farmstand often has organic and unwaxed citrus this time of year. -Marisa

  29. This is pretty much how I make my marmalade – using the zest, supreming the fruit, and then squeezing the juice out of the remaining membrantes. Though I toss the pith and membranes and use commercial pectin. I find my marmalade is less bitter this way.

    I can see how using the membranes/seeds/pith for their pectin would increase the bitterness. I like your work-around! -Marisa

  30. 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.

  31. 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!

  32. 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! ๐Ÿ˜‰


  33. 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!

  34. 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)

  35. 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

  36. 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

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

  38. 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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

  39. 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

  40. 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!

  41. 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

  42. 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!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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

  43. 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

  44. 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

  45. 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

  46. 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

  47. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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

  48. 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!


  49. 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

  50. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  51. 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.

  52. 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

  53. Hi,
    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.

  54. p.s. I just saw you are in Philadelphia, now I’m really excited to check out one of your classes at Fosters ๐Ÿ™‚

  55. 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!

  56. 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!!

  57. 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)!

  58. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ ). 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.

  59. 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?

  60. 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?

  61. 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.

  62. 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.

  63. 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!

  64. I haven’t canned in years – and never marmalade – so your three citrus was the first on both counts. Unfortunately the first batch didn’t set. I made a second version, thinking perhaps I had let the marmalade bubble too long at temperature while I waited for the jars to sterilize. It didn’t set either. I decided that there simply wasn’t enough pectin given this instructions. I’ll try it again a third time – this time with blood oranges and ugli fruit. And I’ll add the pith into the cheese cloth to see if that solves it.

  65. Sally, I’m so sorry to hear that your first two attempts at marmalade didn’t set. I wrote the recipe exactly as I prepared it myself and I achieved a good set, but there are a number of factors that can alter outcomes, including environmental humidity, pot size and the heat level of your stove.

    You can still save the unset marmalade (although you will have to sacrifice the lids you used). To do this, you uncan the marmalade and recook it, bringing it up to set temperature. You can boil it, using the cold plate method to test for set, or you can add a packet of liquid pectin to it while it boils, to ensure a jellied set.

  66. This recipe looks great! As always I am scribbling your ingredients on my shopping list (this marmalade looks like it might be a perfect little Christmas gift.)
    As a canning newbie I have a couple questions:
    1. I might add pectin since I don’t have a thermometer like yours. You have mentioned liquid pectin a few times in comments, is there a reason for liquid pectin vs. powdered?

    2. Is this marmalade very sweet? (Using six cups of sugar.) I have been using the low-sugar powdered pectin that allows you to reduce the sugar from 6 cups to 3 cups in recipes. Would you advise this or is that much sugar really needed to balance out to tart?


  67. Hello Marisa! I followed this recipe over the weekend and also found that it didn’t set (following 3 different cold plate tests). No worries, though, because I had pectin on hand and added it at the end. I also noticed that when you boil just the rind in the beginning, it didn’t specify whether to do that with or without a lid. I did it uncovered and wound up losing most of the liquid – so I am assuming that you should boil it covered, yes? (I love love love your blog, and still found your instructions incredibly helpful!)

  68. I also made this recipe and found it didn’t set. I am hesitant to use pectin from a box. I am trying it again tonight and am planning to boil the bag of trimmings with the zest, and then letting all of it cool before squeezing the bag like hell. I think unless you squeeze all the liquid out of the bag, you are missing a lot of that great natural pectin, which is maybe why mine didn’t set in the first set. But the flavor is so lovely!! I’ve been eating it every day!

  69. This sounds so yummy! I love marmalade except I worry about the bitterness of cooking the pith of grapefruit. What is meant by “gently bitter?” I just discovered this blog and love canning so I hope to do some backtracking to some of your other posts.

  70. I am going to try it with one less grapefruit, hoping that will yield an slightly more gentle “gently bitter” flavor. Love the tip about removing the pith and them extracting the pectin from those scraps.

  71. Although my mother has canned for years, I did not do so until this winter, when I moved home for graduate school. This was my first solo canning recipe, and I’ve since made it twice.

    I upped the grapefruit and cut back a bit on the other citrus, mostly because I didn’t have enough (and I love grapefruit). It’s turned out well both times–perhaps a little runny, but with so much zest in it, it kind of holds its own. I really appreciate your directions and recipes. Thank you for sharing!

  72. I got an F in Junior High Home Ec because my supreming was so bad. But I went on to hotel-restaurant school and have worked in food/restaurants all my life! I’m going to try supreming again just to make this marmalade exactly as directed. Could we add a little ginger?

  73. I tried this for my very first preserving experience. It turned out so amazing! I am now obsessed with trying out more of your fantastic recipes. Thank you!!!

  74. Hi Marissa,

    I just made your marmalade and it looks runny, but I canned it anyway. I think in your recipe you should include the weight of the fruit and exact measurements. I didn’t get 3 1/2 pints and used your recipe exactly. I got more like 9 half pints. My results were runny, but the taste is amazing! I don’t know if it will set or not, but do you have any suggestions if it doesn’t set? And how long should I wait to see if it does set?

    It was a lot of work peeling, preparing and boiling jars, etc., I don’t want to feel like my time and work were wasted.

    Thank you,

  75. just made this and it set perfectly. really interesting flavor profile. thank you for sharing your recipes, it’s really made for an exciting holiday season.

  76. I just made this. It seems to have set up okay, but the bitterness was amazing. I ended up adding an additional 3 cups of sugar, just to get it to a “bite” and not “mouth puckering” stage. I wonder what size lemons and grapefruit you used. Mine were both large and I wondered if that was part of the problem. I also ended up with a larger volume (5 500mL jars), and since I cooked it for 45 minutes (and had it at 220F for a few minutes), I wonder if my fruit was just significantly larger than what you used?

  77. I have some great local Florida honey that I would like to incorporate into this recipe. Any suggestions and have you tried it

  78. I’d love to try your marmalade before making it, so send that jar to me :). I’ve tried one marmalade recipe so far which had the odd addition of tart apples (for pectin?). It’s yummy but much too firm set. I like your idea of boiling the zest to soften before adding other ingredients. I’ll keep it in mind for next summer, when I do all my canning.

  79. Here’s a welcome shortcut: Why spend all that time making perfect little slivers of the rinds? I just throw the shavings into the food processor and whirl til they’re small bits…they taste just the same in the finished product! ๐Ÿ™‚

  80. My husband bought a box of organic citrus fruit and when I saw 3 lemons in amongst the grapefruit and oranges I knew what to do. I used my new kitchen scale to measure 4 1/2 to 5 pounds of fruit and started making marmalade. All went well until I combined all of the ingredients and started to cook. I had a hard time getting the mixture to get to a temperature above boiling. I started to think that maybe I needed to make some adaptations because I live at +6500 feet altitude. I did some quick googling to figure out what temperature might equate to 220 degrees at altitude. And I decided after boiling for an hour and a half to pull the cheesecloth with the pith and membranes out of the pan. I cooked to 210 degrees and then poured the marmalade into jars and canned it. The few tablespoons that were left over tasted wonderful. There was a bitterness to it; but there was enough sweetness. The marmalade set nicely and I’m completely satisfied. I will tell my daughters that this marmalade is not for peanut butter sandwiches. I’m looking for a perfect scone recipe. I want to serve the marmalade with scones and tea. Thanks!

  81. I made a version of this, except as mostly blood oranges (w/ 1 lemon and 4 little satsuma oranges that I had laying around). I ended up using some RealFruit Classic Pectin, about 3 tablespoons, because I reduced the sugar a bit in my recipe and I wanted to make sure it got to 220 degrees. The marmalade passed the plate test before I poured it into the half-pint jars.

    It’s been 5 hours since I processed the jars in the water bath, and they’re mostly set. They have a firm surface, but if I tilt the jars to one side the contents move a bit. Will the marmalade firm up more? Is this firm enough, or should I consider popping them open and reboiling tomorrow?


    • Chances are that it will firm up more. Preserves can take up to a couple weeks to fully set. Put one of the jars in the refrigerator and see if it achieves the firm consistency after 24 hours in the cooler temperature.

  82. First marmalade I’ve made and it was fantastic! There was a similar recipe in “Clearly Delicious”, but I was drawn to the pretty pictures and helpful commentary on this blog recipe. Thank you for sharing!

  83. Marisa, I just made this recipe and the jars are beautiful and the marmalade I tried was delicious! Thank you for this recipe! Whew, it was labor intensive, though.

  84. When a friend taunted me with a Facebook photo of her in-laws’ fruit-packed pink grapefruit tree in the California dessert, I joked, “Send me some. I’ll make marmalade.” Two days later a box full of them showed up in my mailbox.

    Since I had this recipe in reserve, I tried it. Just finished, in fact. Lordy, I had forgotten what marmalade was supposed to taste like. Growing up in California, my grandmother and mom made it occasionally when they didn’t know what else to do with our backyard oranges. In later years I stooped to store-bought, which is generally artificial tasting, not to mention cloying. Definitely not the marmalade of my memories.

    Well, this IS. It’s the perfect blend of sweet, sour, and bitter. I vow to make it every winter. And, hopefully, once I send a couple of jars her way, my friend will keep the pinks coming north to Oregon.

  85. I have never canned anything before so was puzzled when I read about the “canning pot” and rack. Did a little research and am wondering if I could half the recipe, store in my fridge and forgo the boiling in jars on the rack? Your recipe sounds wonderful and I am dying to try it just not sure about all the equipment I’d need to buy.

  86. Thank you so much for this recipe, and for the easy-to-follow instructions. My family and I made this today- it was our first try at home canning.
    Now we wait to see if it will set up, although it’s very tempting to start eating it now!

  87. Thanks so much for the great step-by-step! I had never tried marmalade before, but figured I needed to because my boyfriend and his family have an affinity for citrus that I can’t quite grasp (I love it, don’t get me wrong, but they take this to a whole new level). I’ve given quarter pint samplers to a number of people and got so many compliments and requests I ended up making *four* batches of it this January!! Hopefully it will last a few months anyway.

  88. Hello there,

    Thanks for posting this great recipe! I made it yesterday, but substituted blood oranges because I just couldn’t resist them in the grocery store (this was before I realized you have a recipe posted specifically for blood orange marmalade). I have a question for next time, about the amount of sugar– Since blood oranges taste sweeter than a mix of grapefruit, lemons, oranges, etc., is there a safe way to cut down on the amount of sugar used? While my resulting marmalade is very good, it is almost cloyingly sweet. This may be simply because there is no sour/tart citrus in the mix –I’m not sure, but I didn’t want to cut down the amount of sugar used willy-nilly, and risk the marmalade not preserving properly. Words of wisdom?

  89. If I ever have access to a time machine, I’m zooming back to claim that marmalade…lol. lovely addition to my Marm file. Yummy, Thanks…!

  90. Jelled perfectly! Delicious combination of tart, bitter, and sweet. I followed the instructions pretty much exactly only I don’t have a digital thermometer and even when my thermometer was reading 220 I was not getting the “wrinkles” with the plate test. I should have probably calibrated it before starting, I suspect it may be a bit off. I ended up with a big less yield then the recipe states, but all and all very happy. I was intimidated by all the complex recipes for marmalade out there but it was easy, although quite time consuming.

  91. I have never made any sort of marmalade or chutneys of any sort. I have just made your recipe, it set beautifully and the flavour is delicious. I don’t have a thermometer so boiled it until I could successfully do the ‘nudge’ test. I put absolutely all the remains of the pith, membrane etc into the cheesecloth, took it out just before the marmalade started boiling, let it cool and squeezed every last drop from it. Maybe this helped it set better?!
    I shall definitely explore some of your other recipes and I hope that I just haven’t had beginners luck ๐Ÿ™‚

  92. Hi Marisa,
    I made this yesterday and it is way to sweet and bitter at the same time. Are the skins supposed to give it a bitter taste? Or was it the membrane? I used all the membrane and the seeds and there were a lot of them. My batch also set too much. It is really firm. I would like to try again next weekend but not sure what to tweak. Do you have any tips? Thank you.

    • Jenn, marmalade is supposed to have an element of bitterness. If it overset, try stopping the cooking a little sooner.

  93. I love marmalade, I was curious, would it be possible to add fresh ginger into the recipe? I know the rule of thumb is follow the recipe exactly. I grew up eating British Lemon & Ginger and Ginger & Lime Marmalades (my grandparents were from Scotland) and the idea of adding a little ginger kick to the mix, I just don’t want to ruin the recipe balance for canning. Thanks in advance!

  94. I just made a grapefruit and ginger marmalade. I didn’t use pectin. Is it necessary? If so why? I haven’t tried it yet but it looks like it set up.

  95. I tried the Marmalade and I just cannot get it to jell. I added pectin (liquid) from the start and very runny so I reboiled it and added 2 more packs of Pectin, and no luck. Any suggestions, thank so much and I have to say it tastes awesome but I would like it to be firm

    • Minnetta, I’m so sorry to hear that you struggled to get this to set. I really have no idea why it didn’t set, particularly after you added extra pectin.

      • What is the altitude you live at? The higher the altitude, the longer it takes to set. If you can’t get it to temp, not just the length of the boil Had that problem at 61500 ft.

  96. Help! I am somewhat new to canning. I have a very long family legacy and am trying to learn some basics before spending a week during harvest season with my grandmother learning so much!

    So here’s what I need help with. I just finished canning the marmalade… but it looks more like (delicious) syrup than marmalade. I think that it needed more pectin, but because I’m new to canning, I don’t have extra supplies… so I canned it anyway. Can I open the cans and cook it with pectin again, then re-can with new lids?

    Thanks so much from the newbie!

    • Yes, you can certainly open up those jars, reboil it until it sets and recan it. Sometimes these marmalades need to go higher than 220 degrees F, which is why I also included instructions in the narrative above about checking the set with the saucer test.

  97. Well, I just made this recipe from your book. It took forever to set up and ended up a little bitter. I was going to come on here and see if you could answer my questions, but reading through your post and comments answered everything! It is SUPPOSED to be a little bitter and I didn’t remove the membranes when I cut up the fruit. Aha! Still is delicious and I think I’ll enjoy it more knowing it is supposed to be a touch bitter. After cooking what seemed like forever, I started to remove a jarful at a time and continuing to cook the rest for another few minutes. The first jar is citrus syrup and the last jar is citrus candy, but hopefully one jar in the middle is just right (I’ll know more once they fully set). It was my first marmalade so I treated it as an experiment. Thanks so much, Marisa, I have learned so much from you!

    • Sarah, I’m so glad to hear that coming over here to the blog helped answer your question! Here’s hoping that middle jar has set up appropriately!

  98. I just made this and it set wonderfully! I don’t have an auto thermometer, but my little espresso one did a great job. I added one orange to the recipe, only used 5 cups of sugar, and right after it reached 220 I squeezed out the pectin ball into the jam and it seemed to help it thicken nicely. I also added 1/2 of a fresh vanilla bean. It is a little more tart than I expected, but quite delicious. Thank you for the wonderful manufactured pectin-free marmalade recipe! I will be using that method for years to come I’m sure! Saving my lemon seeds from now on ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Ha! I just made this recipe and wrote the same thing in my review. I had never heard of the pectin in the pith, but once I found out my marmalade sets every time! Great finds for the kitchen are fantastic aren’t they? ๐Ÿ™‚

  99. This is a beautiful recipe (quite literally.) I followed the recipe exactly. I followed a recipe for Bitter Orange Marmalade back in December, but it didn’t give specific measurements or what temp to cook the marmie to. So the specifics helped out a lot; thank you! I apologize for not reading through the entire tutorial, but had my zest cut and drying out waiting on me to confirm a recipe to use. So, if in your tutorial you mention the pith and seed’s importance in the cooking of marmalade I am sorry. I read that there are loads of natural pectin packed in the pith and seeds and if after you cook the pith/seed bag until it is hot through, take it from the pot and allow it to cool slightly while the marmalade continues to cook. Once the pith/seed bag is cooled enough to touch (will still be hot) begin milking the contents to rob it of the natural pectin. Return collected pectin back to the pot. This should help anyone with a no-set situation. The natural pectin will be thick and milky looking. Thanks again for sharing the great recipe! (This stuff makes amazing Orange Chicken!)

    • Any time you make a fruit preserve in a copper jam pan, you need to make sure that the sure is fully dissolved into the fruit before you add it to the pan. Without the presence of the sugar, the acids in the fruit can pull a metallic flavor from the pan.

  100. I did not use this recipe as I just found it. I had some navels that I wanted to try in marmalade. After researching & finding way too many variations, I used what I thought was a simple sure-proof recipe. I used 3 navels (whole thing), juice of 1 lemon, fruit from 1 pink grapefruit, 2 C sugar, 3 C water. I brought to boiling then let sit over night. Returned to boil then simmered for 2 hours; returned to gentle boil for 30 minutes, then another 30 minutes. Temp never got above 209/210 (thermometer may be bad) & it did not set up on a cold plate. Being that I cooked it 30 min longer than called for, I decided to jar it & see if refrigeration would help. Did not. I really don’t want to recook & use pectin. Can I just recook it longer? Did I not add enough sugar? Or, maybe the sugar didn’t dissolve properly? It made approx 42 ounces. Can you help me please?

  101. I made the Three-Citrus Marmalade yesterday. I havenโ€™t canned anything is so long. But the recipe went together beautifully and the marmalade is amazing. Itโ€™s so much better than the marmalade you buy in the store. Thank you so much for the recipe and the great instructions.

  102. Tried it to the letter. Worked perfectly…best part is the zest texture. Planning to make more for holiday gift baskets!

  103. I love love love this recipe!! Have tried many recipes for marmalade but have not found one that has the bitter taste that I like as this one does! Will keep a close eye on your other recipes.

  104. Hi! Your directions and narrative are clear and instructional. I am hoping to make lime marmalade tomorrow and am “planning” on using your recipe but subbing the limes for the three fruits. I’ve poured over other recipes (mostly from the uk and Australia) and I found I just needed more structure and instruction. If you happen to read this I would love to know if you had any major reservations about me subbing limes for this recipe. Thx

  105. I’ve always wanted to make marmalade and decided today is the day. I just set my jars to cool. Thanks for the recipe. It seems to have worked perfectly although I had to boil the marmalade for a verrrry long time. I think I need to use a higher heat next time. I love jams made without extra pectin. Thanks!

  106. I’m in the midst of making this right now and can’t tell when to remove the cheesecloth bundle…and do I drain it or squeeze it out somehow? This looks and tastes amazing so far! Thanks for the detailed instructions!

    • Pull it out when the marmalade is finished cooking and give it a good squeeze with some tongs before tossing it in the trash.

  107. Hi. Wintering in Central Florida from Montrรฉal Canada and being a marmalade fanatic, I could not resist making some from the oranges growing in my backyard… I added 2 red grapefruits, one lemon and one lime. Followed the instructions… Enjoyed preparing the fruits while listening to 60s music and dreaming how I could add a little something to make the marmalade fancy.
    I decided to add Chivas Regal but my dear Wife being more conservative, I agreed to add it to only one pot, as a test. I potted most of it, added the scotch while re-boiling the marmalade and got one large pot…
    Well, let me tell you, even she agrees that it was a fantastic idea.
    Next batch, scotch all the way!
    Thanks a lot for the basic formula. The un-scotch is also VERY good.

  108. I tried making this yesterday, but the jars haven’t set. The temp reached at least 221, but I guess I was anxious and it was still too runny. Do you think I could just re-cook and re-can it my marm? It looks and tastes very nice, I don’t want to waste it! This is only my 5th-ish attempt at any kind of jam since starting canning last summer and my instincts haven’t been honed yet.

    • You could recook and recan it. I’d give it a couple of days before you dive back in, though. Sometimes preserves like this one take a little time to set up.

  109. Word of caution – the bitterness of marmalade is in direct proportion to how much you squeeze the bag. Push the bag against the side of the pot with a spoon (just one gentle push) to deliver the pectin, unless you like a more bitter marmalade.

  110. My batch was ruined because the cheesecloth burned. Don’t put it in… Next time I will add separate pectin.

  111. Hey Marissa, thanks so much for this write-up. Invaluable for someone starting out in canning, nothing better than well written first hand knowledge ๐Ÿ™‚ What would you recommend for a recipe that only used oranges? You mention that you had 4.5lbs of citrus, should I stick with that weight? Thanks so much! Looking forward to more of your posts.

    • I’d stick with that weight. If you can, do try to slip a lemon or two in there, because marmalade made with conventional navel oranges can be a little cloying.

          • Hey again! I’ve got marmalade cooking away right now, however I think I used way too much liquid. Its been about 1.5 hours and its still not up to temp. I included all the liquid that came from chopping the fruit as well as 4 cups of zest juice. Should the former liquid have been thrown out and not used? I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Any way I can salvage this batch?

  112. […] A traditional marmalade recipe generally uses equal parts sugar and water with anywhere from 2 – 5 pounds of fruit.ย  Citrus has lots of natural pectin (in fact, that is what many commercial pectins are made with, along with apple), so, generally, there is no pectin added to marmalade.ย  Many old-school recipes also require an overnight sit of the fruit in water and cook it the next day with sugar. An example of old-school marmalade can be found here.ย  A less time-consuming, but still traditional marmalade recipe can be found on the website/blog, Food In Jars. […]

  113. Finally got around to making this glorious marmalade. The flavor is heavenly.

    It’s also absolutely beautiful! However, it’s so labor intensive that it may or may not be made again. Also, I messed up something and ended up with a very loose set. More like syrup. It’s terrific on blueberry pancakes!

    Thanks, Marisa, for posting links to other bloggers who have tried this. Thanks to one of them, I may try this again using a zester and grinding up all the pulp with the membranes instead of supreming. Next year. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    PS My calculations were obviously waaaay off as I ended up with 11 half pints!

    • Pete, did you double the batch? Because that could have easily led to your set failure. Any time you put more volume in the pot, you create a situation in which it becomes harder to cook the water out of the fruit and end up with something spreadable.

  114. I’ve had a drawerful of citrus and a yen to try blood oranges in marmalade, so I did the three fruits version, using six blood oranges, four meyer lemons, and two ruby grapefruit. I ended up with just over 4.5 lbs of fruit, which was just about four cups supremed. I used a zester on half the oranges and all the lemons, and cut longer ribbons of the rest. No problems with it setting; I did give the bag of seeds and membranes a good squeeze with heavy-duty rubber gloves on as it was coming up those last couple degrees. Beautiful rosy color, and just a bit bitter, as good marmalade should be. For anyone who worries about it coming up to temp, I found it came to 215 very quickly, but those last five degrees took much longer. I got exactly six and a half pints. It should be wonderful on soda bread on St. Patrick’s Day!

    G-D BLESS.

  116. Am I too late for the jar of marmalade? I am ordering Indian River Valencia oranges and grapefruit for this. Will let you know how the recipe turns out. Looks good. May reduce the sugar a little.

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