This classic old fashioned orange marmalade recipe is the perfect spread for your favorite biscuit or toast at breakfast. Bright and zesty, you need this addition to your pantry’s jam and preserve stash.
Do you guys remember marmalade? I feel like it was something I ate a good bit during my childhood, but haven’t heard about for years. And how? In my humble opinion, it’s one of the best spreads out there other than homemade strawberry jam for basically every morning bread item. And it’s especially tasty on my homemade sourdough english muffins.
Orange Marmalade is mainly an old school thing, but when I saw local farms in the area were putting out fresh oranges, I had to snag a few pounds to make a recipe. My interest in making an old fashioned marmalade was also piqued by the antique James Keiller & Sons jars I keep sitting on my kitchen shelves as decor. I wanted to taste a little bit of the past I guess you could say.
So, I got to reading around on the internet and came across various different recipes. Even finding these neat old marmalade recipe clippings from the pre depression era.
What is the difference between Marmalade and Jam?
Typically jams contain mashed or pureed fruit whereas marmalades will contain the peel of the fruit as well as the whole fruit. Marmalades are also exclusive to citrus fruits. Both are equally sweet, just containing different fruits.
Does old fashioned marmalade need to have pectin?
No, old fashioned marmalade does not need to have pectin to be delicious or to set well. Of course, you can always add pectin to thicken it up if you prefer, but generally most old fashioned recipes do not require it.
The oranges contain natural pectin that will help thicken the marmalade as well as the added sugar and cooking down process.
How to Make this Old Fashioned Orange Marmalade Recipe
Marmalade is generally made using the same ingredients; oranges, lemons, sugar and water. The main difference I noticed when researching the old school recipes were the cooking down methods.
Old fashioned orange marmalade contains those signature long strips of the orange peel with the rest of the ingredients being cooked down. I tried to simplify the process a bit by cutting down on the unnecessary steps.
Step One – Old Fashioned Orange Marmalade Recipe
The first step is to peel the orange skins off the oranges using a hand peeler or pairing knife. I would try to not cut into the pith (white part) when doing this.
Step Two – Old Fashioned Orange Marmalade Recipe
Next, you want to cut the peels lengthwise into strips. I roughly cut 1 1/2 inch strips, trying to keep them rather thin. Using scissors can help make this a little easier.
Step Three – Old Fashioned Orange Marmalade Recipe
Slice the oranges into chunks, removing as much of the pith as possible. The pith will give a bitter taste that can really spoil the flavor of good marmalade. Juice the two lemons as well. In the picture above you can see how all of my ingredients will look before going into the pot to soak.
Step Four – Old Fashioned Orange Marmalade Recipe
Next, you want to add all of these ingredients to a pot to soak overnight, including your water. This helps to draw out all of the natural pectin in the oranges. I added my pith in to soak overnight as well, but will remove in the morning before cooking the oranges down into marmalade.
Even though the pith doesn’t taste all that great, it still contains a decent amount of pectin that helps to set up your marmalade.
Step Five – Old Fashioned Orange Marmalade Recipe
In the morning, after your oranges have soaked overnight, turn the heat on and bring to a boil for 20 minutes.
After the marmalade has boiled for 20 minutes, add in your sugar, giving the mixture a good stir.
Step Six – Old Fashioned Orange Marmalade Recipe
At this point, you will let the mixture to simmer at a low boil for an hour, stirring occasionally. It is good to give it a good stir here and there during this time so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of your pot and burn.
You will know when the marmalade is ready when you see that the mixture is thicker, and darker in color. At this point, you can can the marmalade in a water bath.
How to Know when Orange Marmalade is done?
To test if your marmalade is done and will properly jell, try the cold plate trick. You do this by sticking a plate in the freezer for a few minutes. Once it’s nice and cold, drop a spoon of hot marmalade onto the plate and see if it jells. It will wrinkle up a bit when pushed if it is fully done.
At this point you can can your marmalade in a water bath canner for 10 minutes if canning in 8 oz jars and 15 minutes if canning in 16 oz jars.
What to do if my marmalade isn’t thickening?
This actually happened to me the first time making this recipe. If it doesn’t thicken up and you’ve been cooking it for 40 minutes to an hour, don’t be afraid to turn the heat up a bit and cook it down some more. Like I said, just be careful of burning it.
What to do if my marmalade is too thick?
Also made this mistake as well. I didn’t know making marmalade was about as temperamental as a two year old. If it’s too thick, try adding some water to the marmalade and stirring it in well once it’s in the can. Just make sure to only add the water in small increments so you don’t make it runny on accident.
- 3 1/2 - 4 Pounds of Navel Oranges
- 2 Lemons
- 5 Cups of Filtered Water
- 3 Cups of Sugar
- Peel the oranges using a hand peeler
- Slice the peels lengthwise into thin strips
- Cut the oranges in half, then cut the halfs into quarters
- Remove the piths (white parts) from the orange quarters
- Juice both of the lemons and set aside
- Place the fruit, peels, lemon juice and any juice from the orange into a large pot with later
- Cover and let sit overnight for 12 hours
- In the morning, bring the oranges and water to a boil for 20 minutes
- After the marmalade has been boiling for 20 minutes, add the sugar and stir in
- Now, let the oranges and water cook at a low boil for an additional 60 minutes, stirring occasionally until the marmalade has thickened and darkened a bit
- Can in a water bath
Test if the marmalde is done with the cold plate test
If the marmadlade isn't thickenening, turn the heat up a bit and simmer some more
If the marmalade is too thick, stir in a little bit of water