How to make marmalade


For somebody who can probably count on both hands the number of times she has eaten Marmalade in her life, it might seem like a strange choice to have hand made Marmalade this weekend. However, after my friend had arrived with 20 Marmalade oranges the week before, I couldn’t let them go to waste, so I thought I would try out a traditional Marmalade recipe. It just so happens we are in the midst of the first ever National Marmalade week (seriously- there is actually an official ‘week’ dedicated to a preserve), which ends on the 3rd March. So if ever there was a time to make my own marmalade, now seemed like a good time to do it.

I have to admit, making my own Marmalade is not something that I plan to do on a regular basis – it took a pretty long time, my kitchen still feels sticky three days later and it made me feel more like a 1950s housewife than a 21st century independent woman! However, the end result was a delicious Marmalade, which I think looks pretty snazzy now that I have labelled and decorated the jars! Marmalade is never going to make me give up my penchant for Marmite as my number 1 breakfast choice. However, having made my own, I have decided that perhaps there is room for a little Marmalade in my life, especially as I now have 20 jars of it to get through!

How to make marmalade - easy marmalade recipe. Photo by Carey Secrett

Delicious homemade marmalade made from locally sourced oranges

We are nearing the end of the Seville orange season, so if you feel like giving it a try,  now is the time to make marmalade.

How to make your own marmalade

Marmalade ingredients

(Makes about 20 jars- so you can reduce the recipe if required)

2kg Seville oranges or other bitter orange

3 lemons (juice only)

4kg preserving or granulated sugar


Wax discs or grease-proof paper

  1. Put the whole oranges with the lemon juice in a large pan (I don’t have a preserving pan so I used a large Le Creuset casserole which worked fine). Cover with 3 litres of water – if this does not cover the fruit, use a smaller pan. Bring to the boil, and then cover and simmer the fruit very gently for around 2 hours, or until the peel can be easily pierced with a fork.
  2. Warm half the sugar in dish in a very low oven (about 40°C should do it). Remove all the oranges from the cooking liquid using a slotted spoon, keeping the cooking water in the pan, and putting the oranges in a bowl. Let the oranges cool until they are easy to handle, then cut them in half. Scoop out all the insides of the orange (pips and pith) and add to the reserved orange liquid in the pan. Bring to the boil for 6 minutes, then strain the liquid through a sieve into a bowl and press the pulp through with a wooden spoon – it is high in pectin so it helps the marmalade to set.
  3. Pop a clean plate into the fridge. This will help you find the setting point of the marmalade in the next step.
  4. Pour half of the sieved liquid into a large clean pan. The reason you do half of it first is that once it starts bubbling away, there will be too much to fit in the pan if you put it all in. Cut the orange peel into fine shreds. Add half the peel to the liquid in the preserving pan with the warm sugar. Stir over a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved, for about 10 minutes, then bring to the boil and bubble rapidly for 15- 25 minutes until setting point is reached. To determine whether the setting point of the marmalade has been reached, put a spoonful of the mixture onto your pre-chilled plate, and put it back in to the fridge for 5 minutes. Push the sides of the dollop of marmalade after it has chilled for 5 minutes. Setting point has been reached if it forms wrinkles as you do so.
  5. Take pan off the heat and skim any scum from the surface. (To dissolve any excess scum, drop a small knob of butter on to the surface, and gently stir.) Now is a good time to sterilise your jars. Leave the marmalade to stand in the pan for 20 minutes to cool a little and allow the peel to settle; then pot in the sterilised jars. To make the marmalade last for longer, seal the top of each one with a wax disc or a circle of grease-proof paper before putting the lid on.
  6. Heat the other half of the sugar, and then repeat from step 4 for the second batch. If you have two large pans, you can do it all at once.

As you can see in my picture, I made my jars look pretty by printing labels, cutting a circle of material for the top of each one, tying with raffia, and adding a sprig of dried flowers.

Making marmalade, just like a 1950s housewife

The 1950s housewife- I hear they're making a comeback


2 thoughts on “How to make marmalade

  1. Carey this is brilliant! Love the site and the food looks amazing – might even start making my own marmalade in Paris! x

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