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How to make marmalade

Updated on December 11, 2016
How to make marmalade
How to make marmalade

Homemade Marmalade

I love marmalade - home made really is the best. I thought it was worth doing a whole page on Marmalade because you can make marmalade all the year around using normal oranges, lemons, grapefruits - indeed any citrus fruits. So although making marmalade with Seville oranges which have a short season - from December to February is the famous way to do it - do not let that stop you making a few pots at any time.

I do my batch of marmalade in the winter, cutting up the fruit while looking out over a winters garden. I will not mislead you and say its quick - it isn't - so don't rush, give your self plenty of time to relax and take pleasure in being industrious and lining up the jeweled jars on your pantry shelf.

HOW TO USE THIS HUB - I have listed two methods - with the recipes separate - so you can make any of the recipes using which ever method you like.

How to make marmalade
How to make marmalade

What you need to make great Mamalade

Equipment you need

A large pan - I now have a preserving pan - which widens at the top. But for years I used a pressure cooker pan - which was totally ok. Make sure your pan is large enough, that it is never more than 3/4's full even when the Marmalade is boiling.  Make sure you have a stainless steel pan - do not use aluminium (or aluminum) as there are health concerns.

A wooden reamer - you can see one to the right - for getting the pulp out of the fruit. A normal orange squeezer will do as well.

A colander to drain juice into the pan.

Lots of jars - I collect them through the year.

Jam covers - these can be bought and contain wax covers, cellophane lids and rubber bands.

A long long long handled wooden spoon - so you don't get splashed with hot marmalade.

A couple of plates - put them in the freezer so they are ready to test the setting point

Sugar thermometer - not essential as there are other ways to test the setting point.

Muslin material - but if you do not have this - pop the pips into some water and simmer for 10 mins or so - you will see the water thicken as the pectin is extracted. Pectin gets the marmalade to set.

Glass jug to pour Marmalade into jars.

Sterilizing the Jars

Wash the jars in hot soapy water and rinse well.

If there is glue on the sides which you cannot get off (from old labels) - rub a little vicks vapour rub onto the OUTSIDE. I think it the Eucalyptus which dissolves the glue. Use sparingly and wash and rinse well afterwards.

Pop the jars into the oven - on a low heat to sterilize. Put them in before you start everything else and they will be ready when the marmalade is ready to pot.

Testing for the Setting Point

When Marmalade has reached the setting point - it means it is ready to bottle and it will set.

There are various was to test that the setting point has been reached.

Wooden spoon - while stirring the Marmalade, take the spoon out, holding horizontally, after a few moments tilt the spoon to drip the Marmalade. If it clumps together and produces large flakes along the edge of the spoon before falling then the setting point has been reached. To confirm this I then use the cold plate method to double check.

Cold plates - put a couple of plates into the fridge or freezer when you start your cooking. When ready to test the setting point put a teaspoon onto the plate and leave to cool. Take the Marmalade off the heat meanwhile. When cool the surface should be set and when you push it with your finger it should wrinkle. If it is still runny, put the Marmalade back on the heat and continue to boil.

Thermometer - put a sugar thermometer in a jug of hot water before and after testing. Stir the Marmalade then put the thermometer in the pan - but do not let it touch the bottom as it could break. Setting point is between 104C (220F) and 107C (222F).

My favorite ways are a mix of the spoon, and cold plates.  Although this takes longer it is easier to judge the set you want.  When in a rush I have used the thermometer and found the set to be too thick and hard.  

So what I do, is to consistently look at the spoon and watch for the changes, when the flakes which drop from the spoon are large I then test on the plates.  On the plate it is easier to see if it is a runny set, where there is a wrinkle skin and marmalade which is runny underneath.  Or a harder set, when you move this with your finger the wrinkle skin will have no runny marmalade underneath.  You then have to decide which you want, and through trial and error you will find which you like. 

Good luck and remember enjoy it.

How to make marmalade
How to make marmalade
How to make marmalade - setting point
How to make marmalade - setting point

Marmalade Method Number 1 - chopping the skin cold

Wash the fruit - scrub in hot water - and cut each one in half.

Squeeze out the juice and pips and strain into the preserving pan. I use a wooden reamer as pictured - which gets all the fruit out very cleanly.

Tie the pips and pulp into a piece of muslim, and add to the pan - i tie it to the side of the pan.

Chop the peel and pith either thin strips or thick, and add to the pan.

Add the juice and water to the pan and simmer for two hours.

Keep simmering until the peel is soft - once you add the sugar the peel does not get any softer.

Take out the muslin bag and squeeze between two plates to extract all the pectin.

Add the sugar - do not boil UNTIL the sugar is all dissolved. Continue to simmer until all the grittiness at the bottom of the pan has gone.

Bring the pan to the boil and boil until the setting point has been reached. Boil rapidly for 15 mins then test.

Remove any scum from the top and bottle into the warm jars. 

How to make marmalade
How to make marmalade

Method Number 2 - chopping the fruit skin warm

Wash and scrub the fruit.

Put the fruit whole into the pan with the water.

Cover the pan and simmer for at least two hours - make sure the peel is soft by testing it with a knitting needle or skewer, which should go through the skin easily.

Lift the fruit onto a large plat and chop it coarsely. A knife and fork makes this easy when the fruit is very hot.

Remove the pips and tie them into a piece of muslin - pop back into the pan

Boil the liquid for 10 minutes and squeeze the muslin bag to extract the juice then discard.

Add the fruit to the pan.

Add the sugar - do not boil UNTIL the sugar is all dissolved. Continue to simmer until all the grittiness at the bottom of the pan has gone.

Bring the pan to the boil and boil until the setting point has been reached. I boil rapidly for 15 mins then test.

Remove any scum from the top and bottle into the warm jars.

How to make marmalade
How to make marmalade

Seville Orange Marmalade

Seville oranges 3lb / 1.5 kg
Juice of 2 lemons
Water 6 pints / 3.5 litres
Sugar 6lb / 2.45 kg

Use either method 1 or 2

Makes 4.5 kg / 10 lb of Marmalade

Three Fruit Marmalade

Oranges and Lemons (and Grapefruit)

I sometimes make a small batch of this for xmas presents, it always looks very festive.

4 lemons
2 oranges
2 grapefruit
total weight - 1.4 kg / 3 lb

Water 3.4 litres / 6 pints
Sugar 2.7 kg / 6 lb

Use either method 1 or 2

Will make about 4.5 kg / 10 lb of Marmalade


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    • sunny300 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Sheffield

      Great - so glad you have tried the recipe and that you liked it. Sounds lovely with all that fruit. Thanks for the feed back :-)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      i like the idea of how you make marmalade. just made a batch with lemons, limes, grapefruit (lots of) and an orange or two, and not too much sugar - its nice and tart... thanks for the new recipe


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