Robert's RecipesBritish Recipes

Orange Marmalade

orange marmalade

The original marmalade, dating back to Roman times was made with quinces and honey, as it still is made in Portugal today. The British citrus version has its roots as a concoction using limes and other citrus fruits that was used in the Royal Navy as a cure and preventative for scurvy. (Hence the nickname "Limeys")
The modern British-style marmalade owes much to James Keiller of Dundee in Scotland who imported a ship full of Seville oranges from Spain, and upon finding them too bitter to eat had them made into a type of jam using sugar.
Our recipe uses regular seedless oranges and lemon, but if you do use Seville oranges, the method is identical.

Orange Marmalade Recipe


  • 4½ pounds (2 kg - about 9 medium-large) oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • water
  • sugar

    Scrub the oranges and lemon in water and remove any blemishes with a sharp knife.

    Cut the fruit into thin slices (or thick, if you prefer) and then cut off the rind in slivers and add to the cooking pot.

    Ensure that all pips are removed.

    Roughly cut the remaining fruit segments and add to the pot.

    Add 3 cups (24 fl oz - 700 ml) cold water and leave overnight, covered.

    The next day, bring to a boil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or large pan and simmer uncovered for two hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and burning.

    The volume will decrease by about 10 - 20%.

    Leave to rest, covered, overnight.

    Measure the volume of your orange pulp - I usually end up with about 8 cups (2 quarts - 1.9 litres).

    Add an equal volume of white sugar to the pulp. I would add about 1 cup (8 fl oz - 237 ml) less than the total amount and then adjust for sweetness after the mixture has boiled for about 15 minutes. This means 8 cups minus 1 cup of sugar for my quantities, then adding extra sugar if desired.

    Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and then reduce to a simmer.

    Simmer from 30 minutes to about an hour uncovered, until the mixture becomes more translucent and starts to thicken.

    Test for 'set' by putting a small spoonful of the marmalade on a plate and allowing it to cool. Tilt the plate to see if the marmalade has gelled to the desired consistency. The natural pectin in the oranges combines with the sugar under acid conditions to form a gel. No artificial thickeners need to be added.

    Wash and sterilise enough Mason, Kilner or Ball jars and fill with the marmalade. Follow the sealer jar manufacturer's directions to ensure proper preserving. (Method)


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