There are many, many ways to make orange marmalade. If you go looking, you’ll find a plethora of resources with precise techniques and proper methods.
My recipe is an easy one. Something even beginners can try their hand at.
I call it an alchemical miracle filling the house with a divine, zesty scent. Nothing compares to the gorgeous aroma of homemade marmalade wafting from the pot.
Marmalade and jam are like cousins. Belonging to the same family, yet different. Both are made by mixing sugar, water, and fruit. As it heats, the natural pectin in the fruit turns the juices into a jelly consistency.
What’s the difference then?
Marmalade uses the whole fruit, including the rind. Jam doesn’t. And it’s because of the rind that marmalade achieves the classic balance of sweet and bitter.
Jam and marmalade also vary in consistency. The suspended peel makes it chunkier than jam.
How to make orange marmalade?
As I said, this method of making marmalade is simple. It doesn’t require much effort, only for you to sit next to a pot of bubbling orange nectar and stir it once in a while.
- Start by slicing oranges thinly. Deseed them as you go along.
- Anywhere you see a thick pith, that’s the white layer under the peel, cut it out. The pith is bitter, and you don’t want too much of it in the marmalade.
- Quarter the orange slices. The shape doesn’t matter because it’s all going to be cooked anyway.
- In a pan, add water and sugar and along with the oranges.
To create an extra sharp note, I added a teaspoon or two of freshly grated ginger at this point. But this is an absolutely optional step. Please feel free to skip it if you’re not in the mood for a “snap.”
- Let it come to a simmer on medium heat.
- Switch to low heat and cook the mixture for about 30 to 40 minutes.
- Be around the bubbling pot. You’ll need to stir the pot occasionally; else, the marmalade will burn from the bottom.
Fair warning, the sound of the jammy goodness simmering and the intense fragrance is so enticing that you won’t want to leave the kitchen.
How do you know when the orange marmalade is ready?
Ready marmalade is gelatinous with a light texture from the soft, translucent rinds. You can test using a candy thermometer.
When the marmalade reaches 220°F or 104.4° Celsius, it’s ready to be poured into sterilized glass jars and stored for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
Or you could do what I did – try the wrinkle test.
- Slide a plate in your freezer right before you start cooking the marmalade.
- When you feel the mixture has reached gel-like consistency, take the plate out.
- Spoon a tiny amount onto the plate.
- Touch the surface of the conserve (or you can tilt the plate).
- If the marmalade wrinkles, it’s ready.
- If not, cook it some more.
Always turn off the heat when you are testing the readiness of marmalade. You do not want it to be overcooked even by a minute!
Also, you always want to err on the side of runny marmalade. An over-thick one is dry, rubbery, and hard to eat.
Variations of marmalade recipe
Any fresh citrus fruit you can get your hands on will do for the recipe – limes, lemons, oranges, or more.
How much sugar to put in marmalade?
The little bits of orange and ginger zest add character and body to the marmalade. It imparts a bitter undertone as well – the taste we prefer and enjoy.
That’s why I use less sugar than the traditional recipe, which is 1:1 – 1kg of sugar for 1kg of oranges.
I’ve used this method for a while now, and the result is excellent. Besides the cut-down sugar, that too raw sugar, makes it somewhat healthier.
FYI, you can stick to regular, white sugar.
Serving the easy orange marmalade
One of the perks of cooking is using fresh, seasonal produce. It’s a joy to have marmalade bursting with bright citrus flavor.
I served it my favored way – slathered over toast with delicate slices of sharp cheddar cheese on top. It was like biting into the juiciest orange. I next plan to bake it into a cake.
You can, of course, serve it with croissants, pancakes, muffins, or crepes. A tangy dollop of it on ice cream is a glorious way to relish orange marmalade. Or try a spoonful of it in any Asian curry.
More Easy Fruit Jams
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Easy Orange Marmalade
- 4 ( 700 gms) Oranges
- 1 1/4 cup Water
- 1 1/4 cup Raw sugar You can use regular white sugar
- 2 tsp Grated ginger Optional
- Slice the oranges as thinly as possible. Cut into quarters.
- Take out all the seeds.
- Wherever the pith ( white part under the skin) is too thick, you can cut that off.
- Place a small bowl or plate in the freezer. This is for testing the jam.
- Place the oranges, with their juices into a saucepan.
- Add water, sugar, and ginger.
- Bring the mixture to a boil on medium heat. Once it boils, lower the heat to low.
- Cook for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the mixture starts to look thick, take it off the heat.
- Put a spoonful on the chilled plate or bowl. If the jam wrinkles up when you push it lightly with your finger or a spoon, your marmalade is ready. If not, put it back on heat for a few more minutes.
- Carefully spoon the marmalade in clean, sterilized jars. Seal tightly.
- This should last about 3 weeks in the refrigerator. Enjoy!