Orange & Ginger Marmalade

7 October 2012

Post image for Orange & Ginger Marmalade

The end of summer has meant some frantic jam-making sessions in my kitchen, trying to preserve as much of summer as I can into little glass jars. I have made several batches of Peach & Raspberry Jam, as well as a simple apricot jam (using my recipe for Apricot & Vanilla Jam but omitting the vanilla this time), not to mention the Strawberry Jam which has been disappearing as fast as I make it.

And whilst oranges are not quite in season yet, I wanted to have orange marmalade with my toast at breakfast one day and the domestic goddess in me wouldn’t allow me to just simply buy a jar from the local supermarket. I had to make my own. Thanks to the year-round supply of oranges from Spain, I was able to make marmalade even though purists would probably tell me that I should have waited a few more months.

I gathered all of my books on making jam and was somewhat surprised to find that there were so many varied recipes for making marmalade. Some recipes required the orange rind to be soaked in water for 3 hours. Some required straining the fruit mixture through a piece of muslin overnight. I ultimately settled on a recipe from one of my many French cookbooks which perhaps wasn’t the easiest recipe but it didn’t require any overnight preparation. It was also a recipe which used the least amount of sugar; jam recipes often call for 1:1 ratio of fruit to sugar and which makes sense if you are preserving for the long haul (i.e. if you are making jam which might be eaten 2 or more years later), but which isn’t necessary if you know you will consume the jam over the coming months.

This particular orange marmalade is quite sweet, primarily because it uses sweet, blonde oranges and not the bitter Seville oranges. Also, the recipe is quite persistent in trying to remove as much pith as possible, and blanching the peel beforehand helps to soften it so that you are not confronted with a chunk of bitter peel later. I quite like this marmalade and would be curious to try it with grapefruit …

I happen to love, love ginger jam and grated fresh ginger into half of the mixture just before bottling them. It was also a quick way to add more variety to my current jam collection.

Has anyone else been busy preserving lately?

Orange & Ginger Marmalade
Recipe adapted from Confitures by Martine Lizambard
Makes 3-4 pots, about 375 g (13 oz) each

Cook’s Notes

If you are using a sugar thermometer, most recipes will tell you to boil the mixture until it reaches 105°C (220°F). At this temperature, the mixture should have thickened somewhat, but should still be soft and spreadable the first time you open the jar.

When making this marmalade, I took the pan off the heat once my sugar thermometer hit 105°C (220°F). However, the mixture still looked quite runny. So I put the pan back on the heat and continued to cook the mixture until I felt it was sufficiently thick. The temperature hovered around the 105°C / 106°C mark during this time.

If you end up bottling jam or marmalade which has not set – and you can tell if you tip the jar and the mixture sloshes around inside – simply empty the jars back into a large saucepan and reheat them until they have reached the desired thickness. You can try this a few hours after bottling when the jam has had time to cool, or even the next day. The jam should not suffer for this second cooking attempt, although you will have to rewash and sterilise all the jars again.

Do you have any jam-making tips you wish to share?

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

The Patterned Plate 7 October 2012 at 6:17 pm

Thanh, what gorgeous photos! And you have some serious chopping skills, look at those perfectly uniform strips of peel! Impressive!

I love making jam, though we are still getting through the strawberry and rhubarb jam I made early summer. I haven’t tackled marmalades though and am hoping to do so soon when such citrus fruits come into season. It’s confusing the amount of information out there and the differing methods. I like quite a dark, tawny marmalade, to which I think your addition of ginger would be just perfect.

Hoorah for championing smaller portions and a lower temperature. I think so many people are put off jam making due to the devotion to getting the setting point on target, which inevitably result in tar! So what if it’s a bit soft? Lower sugar ratio jams will tend to be softer anyways.

Is that the Krentenwegge the jam is smeared onto?

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eat, little bird 7 October 2012 at 6:25 pm

Yes, I had made the marmalade in advance of making the Fruit Loaf – the perfect combination for me :-)

I think once you’ve made jam once or twice, you sort of get an idea of how thick the consistency of the mixture should be before bottling it. And then, if it doesn’t set, there’s no harm in re-cooking it until you get it right.

This year, I’ve been reducing the sugar somewhat in my jams, which makes the jam taste more fruity and vibrant. But we go through a jar of jam in less than a week here, hence my continually dwindling supply! I wish I had made some rhubarb jam when it was in season but I was just simply addicted to rhubarb crumble!

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The Patterned Plate 8 October 2012 at 7:48 am

If you can get frozen rhubarb, that works a treat :-)

These days I reduce sugar by half! Especially for soft fruit jams. Like the one I mentioned…for 400g of fruit I must have used no more than 250 and it’s still keeping well. I myself was dubious but am darn pleased its worked out so far.

I love that fruit loaf smeared with marmalade too! Though I would have hated peel in it! You’d think it’s the same difference but really, it’s not!

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eat, little bird 8 October 2012 at 9:35 am

I looked at the frozen section of the supermarket the other day and their frozen fruits here are mostly limited to raspberries, blueberries and mixed berries. I was hoping to find frozen strawberries but no luck …

Using a 2:1 fruit to sugar ratio will definitely give you a softer set jam, although I’m sure you could still boil the mixture until you have the desired consistency. I also think you would have enough sugar for preserving the fruit for the short-term, so a good option if you are going to eat the jam soon.

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Paula 7 October 2012 at 8:24 pm

You know I love your marmalade (and if you didn’t know, now you do it!!), but this is so special!! Because I’m in love with citrus marmaladed!! This one I make it with a touch of whiskey of, as you, ginger, both go really well, believe me about the whiskey one!! But I also enjoy the christmas citrus marmalade, or one with blood oranges!

Yesterday I bought more gelifiant sugar (call me lazy!!), so these weeks I’ll still making jam!! It’s something I love doing at this time of the year :)

I have never prepare the peel like you have do it in this. That was the problem of my orange marmalade versus the shop bought, but now I think I can solve it, thank you for the step by step. You make it sound easy and not boring!! :P

Talking about the boring, I think I’m boring you, so sorry, and, the last thing, your Confitures book seems nice!!!

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eat, little bird 7 October 2012 at 8:50 pm

Now that you mention it, I have tried orange marmalade with whisky and it’s delicious! Thanks for reminding me! I will definitely add some whisky next time … it sounds like something to make around Christmas time :-)

I think a lot of people don’t like marmalade because it frequently contains bitter peel, and I happen to not like bitter peel either. So I was drawn to this particular recipe because it tries to soften the peel first, making it less noticeable when eating later.

The recipe comes from a really cute French book, which is part of a large collection of French cookbooks which are sold nearly everywhere in France. I love them because they always have great recipes and great ideas :-)

I look forward to hearing about what jams you will be making with your gelifiant sugar!

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TheSpicySaffron 7 October 2012 at 11:29 pm

Wow! the pictures are too good. They are ready to adorn any classy food magazine/book . From these pictures, the Seville oranges can also be named “beauties”.
Loving the color of the marmalade too. The jars filled with marmalade up to the brim are too tempting,Thanh. I want to pick one up right from the screen itself. Don’t look for it if one goes missing :)
Can’t get over the finely sliced (extra thin!!) strips of orange peel :) how skillful you are? You have made the whole process of making jams/jelly look so simple & easy (I find it too cumbersome…).

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eat, little bird 8 October 2012 at 9:40 am

Oh thank you!! I think making jam is relatively easy, but making marmalade is a bit more fiddly because you don’t want the end product to be too bitter. So I hope these photos are helpful in terms of illustrating this recipe, making the process seem more manageable :-)

Slicing the orange peel into those thin strips took a bit of time but didn’t require too much skill, thankfully! I kept reminding myself that I didn’t want big chunks of peel when eating the marmalade later and that gave me motivation to keep the slices really thing.

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Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar 8 October 2012 at 12:48 am

This is such a fabulous recipe! I love the colour!

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debjani 8 October 2012 at 3:01 am

I absolutely love your illustrations. This is like a very well laid out cook book. I usually buy the orange-ginger marmalade but have never thought about making my own. I love the taste on bread as well as on pork and chicken dishes.

I made some rose petal jelly way back in July. I have enough to remember the sweet smell of a summer garden when the snow is heavy on the ground. I also made a very little bit of kumquat marmalade, which I need to make again with a better recipe.

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eat, little bird 8 October 2012 at 9:43 am

Thank you! I’m glad that you enjoy my step-by-step photos :-)

Rose petal jelly sounds so fragrant and lovely! I used to make kumquat marmalade when I lived in Australia as I had a little kumquat plant on my balcony. I was tempted to buy a kumquat plant this year but wanted to see how I would fare with a kaffir lime tree. So far, so good! Perhaps next year I can add a kumquat tree to my balcony garden?? I can’t remember which recipe I used for my kumquat marmalade but I will try and find out.

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Melange 8 October 2012 at 7:06 am

God ! I haven’t seen such a perfect peeling with oranges .. Touch wood !
Bold to go with this recipe..I admit the fact that this sugar ratio always had pulled me behind from making my own jam..And your addition of ginger,what a flavor that can come up with…Makes me hungry..The second photograph,it’s torturing me ..hehe.

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eat, little bird 8 October 2012 at 9:47 am

Ah yes, once you see how much sugar goes into making jams and marmalades, it’s often enough to make you think of the dentist! But you can always reduce the sugar, bearing in mind that you are also reducing the preservation time. So unless you are making a HUGE batch of jam to eat over 3 years’ time, I think you can safely reduce the amount of sugar :-)

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Melange 9 October 2012 at 8:01 am

That’s indeed something valuable to share.I would love to try soon.

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Lindi 8 October 2012 at 7:42 am

One word – YUM

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Rushi 8 October 2012 at 12:42 pm

Thanh you really do take gorgeous pics. I’ve never tried making marmalade or jam. One of my aunt’s make this gorgeous passionfruit jam and she’s never never shared the recipe despite my constant pestering. I used to hate marmalade until I tried some in France and I’ve been hooked ever since. Now that I have a sugar thermometer I must start making jam, if it’s anything like making chutney then I’d be happy to potter about in the kitchen :D

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eat, little bird 8 October 2012 at 5:53 pm

Passionfruit jam sounds divine! I think I might have a recipe … will email you if I find it :-)

A sugar thermometer will open up a whole new world of cooking to you, so enjoy! Not that you really need a sugar thermometer when making jam, but it certainly takes out some of the guess work. I upgraded to a digital thermometer not long ago and that has been a great investment for me.

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Rushi 9 October 2012 at 1:30 pm

Oh thanks Thanh, I sure hope you’ll find that recipe :)

I love my sugar thermometer, been making a whole heap of fudge and will move on to jam. A digital one will be more fun I guess, must keep an eye out for one.

The French marmalade is much sweeter than the ones in UK, I used a pot of marmalade (which was on the bitter side) in one of Nigella’s chocolate cakes, I think it was a storecupboard chocolate cake or something of that sort.

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Jennifer (Delicieux) 8 October 2012 at 2:10 pm

What gorgeous photos Thanh! I have to admit I haven’t tried marmalade since childhood which I absolutely hated due to the orange rind. I really should change that because your marmalade looks divine.

As for jam making tips, my Nanna made a lot of jam while I was growing up, and she always told me to place a small plate in the refrigerator at the start of the process and to remove it each time you want to test the jam to see if it’s set. Leave the jam for 30 seconds and if it sets on the cold plate then you’re good to go.

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eat, little bird 8 October 2012 at 6:00 pm

Ah yes, putting a plate in the fridge before you start is a good idea. I often forget and end up popping one in the freezer while the mixture is boiling away! Even when I am using a sugar thermometer, I still like to test the jam the old-fashioned way as well.

I think some people like bitter marmalade with lots of peel, which was certainly the only type I ate when I was growing up and which I wasn’t very fond of. But when I discovered that marmalade comes in varying degrees of sweetness, I suddenly found that there were marmalades that I enjoyed. I should mention that this occurred in France and Switzerland where marmalade tends to be sweet like jam, rather than bitter like what you would find normally in the UK and Australia. I don’t mind the bitter marmalades but I always avoid the peel when I can!

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anita menon 9 October 2012 at 1:31 pm

What beautiful pics Thanh!!
Love the flavour combinations and the whole thought about preserving the fading summer into jars. How romantic!!

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eat, little bird 10 October 2012 at 6:31 pm

Thanks, Anita! But if only I could have been more productive … we’re down to only a few jars now!

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Heather Hands 17 October 2012 at 12:49 am

Wow. I especially love your photos on this post. The orange pops so magically. My grandfather is such a big fan of orange marmalade. I know have a great Christmas idea. Thanks.

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Zinzi 16 January 2013 at 9:16 pm

I dont know where to put this comment but i just wanted to let you know that i just discovered your website (was looking for a rachel khoo recipe – i dont have her book, yet :D). Browsing through your recipes gives me a lot of inspiration and motivation to cook delicious things so thank you and keep sharing your passion for food!

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eat, little bird 18 January 2013 at 4:48 pm

Thank you for your lovely comment! I’m happy to hear that you’ve enjoyed browing the recipes here on my blog :-)

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Jen 18 February 2013 at 4:17 am

I wished read your instructions about boiling the rind first before I made my marmalade. I added a tat too much rind into the marmalade (unboiled) and now it’s too citrussy. (It has a very strong orange oil taste that leaves a stingy aftertaste)
Does anybody have any idea how to neutralise the taste in the marmalade? I really don’t want all my efforts to go down the drain…. :(

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eat, little bird 18 February 2013 at 9:51 pm

Unfortunately, I think that once you add too much rind, the marmalade will taste quite bitter, unless you treat the rind beforehand. I’m not aware of anything you can do to save your marmalade but one thought is to use the marmalade in a cake or a marinade? If the marmalade is really bitter, I guess you could offset the bitterness with some extra sugar in the cake batter or marinade.

This is a recipe for Marmalade Pudding Cake which I have been wanting to try for some time: http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/marmalade-pudding-cake-5159

I hope you will still be able to put the marmalade to some good use!

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Irene Helmer 23 September 2013 at 12:59 am

Thank you very much for the recipe.
Rather than using Oranges I uses Tangerines. I cut down in preparation time and pressed the Tangerines through a course sieve to get rid of the membranes. Although I didn’t end up with your wonderful segments it worked very well! I ended up with only 500 grams of juice/pulp and added 440 grams of sugar which translated into 2 glasses (?) (approx. 550ml each) of marmalade. Further the marmalade didn’t set. I guess that might be because I didn’t boil it for long enough. There was not much in the pot and I was worried that the mixture might burn in the pot!
A lot of work for 2 glasses! Where did I go wrong?

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eat, little bird 23 September 2013 at 10:24 am

How much marmalade you ultimately make will depend on how much fruit and juice you have to start with. Some citrus fruits might have thick peels which add to their overall weight but, once stripped of this peel, will have less fruit than others. And, of course, some fruits have less juice than others. But this recipe does produce about 700 ml to 1 litre of marmalade (or 3-4 pots of 375 g each as stated at the top of the recipe).

And if your marmalade didn’t set, it is most likely because you didn’t boil it for long enough. The mixture should thicken on the stove, as well as reach 105°C.

If you’re worried that there is too little mixture in the pot, you might be using a pot which is too big. Although, you don’t want to use one that is too small either because the mixture needs room to bubble away viciously without burning your hands as you stir to avoid it catching at the bottom of the pan!

Making jam and marmalade takes a little getting used to but once you get an idea of the ratio of fruit to sugar, as well as the consistency as it starts to set, the process is quite easy. Good luck next time!

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Gags 26 December 2013 at 8:07 am

I made this yesterday and usually I am lazy at leaving feedbacks on websites and recipes etc. But I HAVE to tell you this is the most awesome, classy, delicious marmalade I have ever tasted. And it was the first time I have ever tried making one ( I make a lot of jams though) ! My husband loved it and I also made some homemade yeast-free bread to go with it. Thank you for sharing. Your beautiful pictures illustrated the instructions so well that I could not possibly go wrong.

One thing I have noticed is that though I cooked it until it was jelly-like and flowing consistency, it solidified quite a bit after cooling it ( specially since I keep opened jams in the refrigerator. I guess next time, I am going to cook it a little lesser)

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eat, little bird 26 December 2013 at 9:16 pm

Thank you for your lovely feedback! I’m so happy to hear that you and your husband enjoyed this recipe. This particular is one of my favourites and which I make quite often, especially since orange & ginger marmalade is not available where I live.

I’ve also made jam a few times where it has thickened considerably upon cooling and, as you have also guessed, I think I had cooked it for a bit too long. Even when working with digital thermometers, I find that the mixture can boil at 105°C for quite some time without any change in temperature. Perhaps some domestic thermometers are not sensitive enough but, I think once you get into the habit of making jams and marmalades, you start to get an idea of what consistency the mixture should be before you take it off the heat, whether you use a thermometer or not.

Enjoy the rest of the holiday season!

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Priscilla 16 October 2014 at 2:10 am

Hi :-) I was looking for a recipe for jam or marmelade with the orange peel, cause next wekend I intend to do some orange cupcakes, and would like to use it on top, instead of frosting. However, although the taste is good – I added the ginger, and it smells marvellous – when I took from the pan, it was OK. However, after 24hs in the fridge, it is really stick, hard-like. I kept an eye on my candy thermometer, and as soon as it moved from 105C to above I removed the pan from the oven. I guess in my case, I should have let it go as it reached 105C. Is there any way to salvage this batch? Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

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Eat, Little Bird 16 October 2014 at 5:53 pm

Oh dear! It sounds like you may have boiled your marmalade for too long. Generally, once your thermometer reads 105°C, you should take the pan off the heat. Although, sometimes, you will see from the consistency of the jam if you will need to take it off sooner or even continue cooking it for longer. Once your jam or marmalade reaches setting point, it will continue to thicken as it cools in the sealed jars.

Also, I’m not sure if putting the marmalade into the fridge may also be a factor. I don’t normally put my homemade jam or marmalade in the fridge unless I have opened a sealed jar to use. The jars of warm, sealed jam or marmalade should be fine kept at room temperature in a cool, dark place.

I’m not sure if it is possible to salvage this batch, especially if you were planning on using it to decorate some cupcakes. If you are able to spoon the marmalade out of the jars, you might be able to soften them by heating them again gently in a pan with perhaps some water. Please let me know what you end up doing!

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Priscilla 18 October 2014 at 5:48 am

FYI : Since I made 1/3 the recipe (500g orange), and divided it between 2 jars, I tested with one of them. I let it come to room temperature, and then put it in a small pan filled with some water (room temp,) letting it on the lowest heat possible on my oven. In another one pan, I put some water to heat it just a little bit. Once the marmalade started ‘melting’, I stirred it with a porcelain spoon (I was not sure if metal would affect it), to dissolve all, then added a trickle of water, mixed, and waited; repeated the add water a couple of times, until I thought the marmalade was OK – It has been some 12 hours past since, and the taste is good – also the texture. Guess it will be OK by tomorrow, to use on top of the cupcakes. The fix was very simple, BUT I decided to do it very slowly to keep a good track of what was going on.Tomorrow I will be repeating the same process with the other jar.Thanks for the attention !

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Eat, Little Bird 21 October 2014 at 11:07 pm

Oh that’s good to know that you were able to save the marmalade! Thanks for writing back to let me know :-) I hope the cupcakes worked out the way you had hoped.

Sometimes you can follow a recipe to a T and it will work perfectly. At other times, unfortunately, a recipe might need a bit of tweaking depending on everything from ingredients to room temperature. As you had made only 1/3 of the recipe, I wonder if this played a role as it would have taken much quicker to get the marmalade to setting point. When making jam, sometimes the size/width of the pan also makes a difference. I find that the more often you make something, you start to get a feel for when it is going right or wrong and what you can do to help the recipe along.

I’m glad to hear that, overall, things worked out in the end and you enjoyed the taste of this marmalade :-)

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