Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Orange Marmalade

I tend to cook more for other people than myself.  Often, once I'm done cooking, I'm no longer hungry for whatever I made.  So I usually check with my husband before I decide to make something that I may, or may not, be interested in eating later.

This allowed me to make the discovery that my husband likes Orange Marmalade.

I will be honest and also say that I was listening to a lot of Jeeves and Wooster by P.G. Wodehouse, and Wooster eats marmalade with his breakfast.

Orange Marmalade Recipe

Makes about 6 half-pint jars (I ended up with 7 jars plus a little, but I also used a little more that 4 cups of fruit mixture)

4 Oranges
2 Lemons
2.5 cups Water
1/8 tsp baking soda
6 cups sugar
1 package powdered pectin
1/4 tsp butter (if needed)

It's probably possible to make marmalade without pectin, but after an ordeal with Crab Apple Jelly, I decided to go on the safe side and use pectin.
Clean your canning equipment and jars. Sterilize everything in boiling water. Wash the oranges and lemons, remove the outer peel with a vegetable peeler.  Thinly slice the rinds into smallish pieces and place in a 4-quart saucepan with the water and baking soda.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover, simmer for 20min, stirring occasionally.  While the rinds are cooking, remove as much white pith from the oranges and lemons as possible.  Finely chop the fruit and make sure to remove all the seeds.
After the rinds are cooked, add  the fruit and juice.  Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10min.
Measure 4 cups of cooked fruit and rind mixture, mine was a little over 4 cups, but it still set up fine and I just put the excess in the refrigerator to use now.
Put the 4 cups of fruit into a large pot, add pectin and butter (I didn't use any butter, since mine didn't foam at all).  Bring to a vigorous boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil for 1min.  Add sugar and return to a boil for 1min.  
Remove from heat and let stand 5min, stirring occasionally.
Ladle hot marmalade into sterile jars, leaving about 1/4 inch of space at the top.  Screw on lids tightly and process the jars in boiling water for 5min - make sure the jars are covered by at least 1 inch of water.
Let jars cool undisturbed for 12-24 hours, then check seals. Store in a dark, cool place.


The Greeks were probably one of the first to make preserves.  They used a relative of the apple called a quince and cooked it with honey.  When it cooled it would set into a kind of jam. Apples, guavas, quince, plums, gooseberries, oranges and other citrus fruits, contain large amounts of pectin, most have enough to set without using boxed pectin.  Soft fruits like cherries, grapes and strawberries contain small amounts of pectin, which is why we have to add pectin to make them set properly.

I'd love to get my hands on the Book of Ceremonies of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos.  It apparently has not only rules about etiquette for banqueting in the 9th Century, but also a catalog of foods and dishes prepared for them.

Fruit preserves, as we know them, came about in the Medieval times, but it usually had spices (not that that's a bad thing).  By the late 1600's there were several recipes for jellies and jams that were just fruit, juice and sugar.  These often include a fruit that has a lot of pectin in it, and a fairly long boiling time.
For the sake of disambiguation, I use Jam to mean fruit preserve with actual fruit chunks in it (excluding citrus fruits).  Jelly is a clear juice preserve, and marmalade is a citrus preserve.  

However, the word "marmalade" appeared in the English language in 1480.  It derives from the Greek word μελίμηλον (melímēlon), which is made up of "μέλι" (meli), "honey" + "μήλον" (mēlon), "apple".  The Greek word became melimelum, “honey apple” in Latin, which turned into the root word marmelo, "quince" (marmelada in Portuguese, marmelade in French).  The English borrowed the word, presumably, from the French.
(Citations: Wikipedia, Seven Centuries of English Cooking: A collection of recipes by Maxime de la Falaise)


  1. Oooh, I so love Orange Marmalade. I feel like I'm the only one though. Everyone else hates it. But that makes my special, right? When I'm at a restaurant and they have it I feel like they have there just for me. How did they know I was coming? hmm. Now, if I only had time to make some. I believe I truly am a lazy wife. Hee. Can't wait to hear more from you, Lavonne. Miss you. ~Caryn

  2. I actually thought that I would feed all of the marmalade to Noah, but when I put it on toast with clotted cream (in the picture) it was possibly the most delicious thing I've tasted in a long time. I'll try to send you a jar!