chopped peel for marmalade
Food, Making stuff

Making stuff 12: marmalade

Following on from September’s gin, jam and chutney marathon, its marmalade time.

It’s a long time since I’ve made marmalade so I had to get the recipe book out to figure out quantities. Unfortunately I didn’t do that until after I’d been to buy fruit. So 4 large oranges, a grapefruit and some lemons amounted to 4lb of fruit – much more than the 1lb in my recipe. At least the maths is quite easy.

Also, I didn’t read the recipe until I’d chopped the grapefruit in half and realised that wasn’t what it wanted me to do. So I improvised and combined a couple of approaches.


  • 4 large oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 6 pints water
  • 6lb jam sugar

I chopped all the fruit in half and juiced it and weighed it at 4lb total. I added 6 pints of water and simmered for an hour, trying to keep the fruit with their insides facing up so that skin was submerged. During the boil I de-labelled (vegetable oil and bicarbonate of soda trick to get rid of the glue) and sterilised all the jam jars I could lay my hands on.

Then I removed the fruit and squashed it in a sieve to get the liquid out. Once it was cooled I finely chopped about half the skins. The grapefruit was relatively tough so I only did a bit of that. I retrieved the pips and then combined the chopped fruit with the liquid and brought it all to the boil. Then the tricky bit. I should really have added 8 pints of water but I didn’t have enough jars for that much jam so when it came to adding sugar I had to make it up. First I tried 4lb 8oz and boiled it to jam point (104°C according to my jam thermometer) but it wasn’t setting. So I added another half pound of jam sugar and boiled again. This time the boil was much frothier and so I took another teaspoon out and into the fridge for 5 minutes to test.

I love my marmalade really tart, so I wanted to keep the sugar quantity to a minimum. It still wasn’t quite set enough so another 8oz sugar went in. That was it though, enough. So into jars to cool for a bit, then stirred to distribute the peel, and sealed up. Hopefully it’ll be nice and set tomorrow.

Result: 17 jars of marmalade, a very sticky kitchen, huge pile of washing up, slightly sore knees and feet, marmalade in my hair, great sense of achievement despite no one else in the house liking marmalade.

Edit Disaster! It didn’t set! Need more sugar (will adjust amounts in recipe when I figure out how much).

Edit 2: the answer is 6lb sugar to 6 pints water. Read the recipe and believe it!

6 thoughts on “Making stuff 12: marmalade”

  1. This looks delicious! I love making jam but I’ve always been nervous about marmalade, I’m not sure why! Maybe I’ll give this recipe a go!


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