Homemade Marmalade

Use lemons, limes or oranges to make the sweet spread with an unmistakable bite.

Marmalade is a sweet spread like jam or jelly, but with an unmistakable bite.

Homemade Marmalade

Marmalade owes its familiar bite to an abundance of citrus peels.

Photo by: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo by Mick Telkamp

Marmalade owes its familiar bite to an abundance of citrus peels.

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Like jam or jelly, but with the unique bitterness of citrus peels, marmalade isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. For many, though, the British creation is just the thing to spread on a piece of toast at breakfast (especially when accompanied by a cup of tea). If you’ve never had it, it’s worth trying. If you know it and love it, it’s worth making your own.

Using fresh limes, lemons or oranges, delicious homemade marmalade is surprisingly easy to make, although it may draw the scorn of those for whom grape or strawberry jam is the only choice when the fate of an English muffin lies in the balance.

This recipe for a sweet “whole fruit” marmalade with just the right bite can be made using oranges, lemons, limes or a blend of the trio. Here we use Persian limes for a couple of reasons. First, we love the slightly sour edge that limes bring to marmalade. The second reason is purely one of convenience. Because Persian limes are seedless and this is a whole fruit recipe, instead of thinly slicing our citrus by hand and picking out the seeds, the limes can be processed quickly in a food processor with a slicer attachment.

Using the whole fruit doesn’t just take advantage of the silky texture of citrus flesh and the bright flavor of the juice, the bountiful pectin in the pith makes this a two ingredient recipe (no added pectin required). Although the pectin  packed into the pith is welcome, the excessive bitterness is not. Soaking the sliced fruit overnight helps to tame that bite and a lengthy boil further mellows the bitter rind. If you prefer a marmalade with more bite, you may skip the overnight soak, but consider yourself warned. If you are trying to please a crowd, temper the bitter beast.

It’s hard to resist digging in right away, but the flavor your your homemade marmalade will improve with time. If you can stand it, wait 2 to 3 weeks before serving.

Homemade Whole Fruit Marmalade

Yield: About 6 pints

  • 3 pounds unwaxed limes, lemons or oranges
  • 8 cups water
  • 8 cups sugar

Scrub citrus and cut into very thin slices using a sharp knife or food processor (remove seeds, if necessary).

Place citrus slices in a container with water and allow to soak overnight.

Transfer into a large pot over high heat.

Bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer for 60 minutes.

Add sugar to pot and return to full boil.

Heat to 218 degrees (about 40 minutes) until thickened.

Transfer into sterilized canning jars.

Cap jars with lids and bands and process in a water bath for 10 minutes to seal.

Marmalade may be eaten after resting overnight, but flavor will improve after 2-3 weeks. Refrigerate after opening.

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