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I don’t know if this story is apocryphal or not, but I heard that orange marmalade was invented when a Scottish sailor brought home a crate of oranges that were too bitter to sell. His wife experimented with the oranges until she invented orange marmalade!
This Spiced Orange Marmalade recipe is inspired by Christmas mornings from my childhood. My mom always put oranges in the bottom of our stockings, but we always had so many leftover Christmas treats that the oranges were last priority. This is a great way to use up leftover oranges or if you find oranges on sale that are a little beat up. This recipe only yields 5 cups (or 2 ½ pints). This is perfect because you can process two pints to keep or give away and have a little bit of jam to put straight into the fridge and start using right away.
All you need to make this Spiced Orange Marmalade is oranges, sugar, and a candy thermometer. The first step is to thoroughly wash your oranges. We will be using the peel so it is very important to make sure there is no gunk on the peels before we add them to something we will be eating. Next, use a vegetable peeler to get all of the zest off of the oranges. We want as little orange pith on those peels as possible because that pith is really bitter.
Nobody wants a to get a massive bite of orange peel in their marmalade, so now we need to make this a little more manageable. Grab a handful of peels and chop them into very fine strips that are between ½-1″ long. This can be time consuming if you’re too worried about doing this perfectly. Don’t worry about perfection, just get it done.
Put those chopped orange peels into a bowl and set aside. Now let’s get our oranges ready. Chop off the remaining pith. We want absolutely no white pith left on our oranges. If you feel like there is a lot of extra fruit on those pithy pieces just use your hand to squeeze that juice into a bowl.
Holding each orange over a bowl, remove the membranes from each segment of the orange. This is a sticky job so make sure you hold the oranges over a bowl! We want to save all of the orange juice we can. The membranes don’t taste bad but if we leave them in it will mess up the texture of our marmalade.
Add the chopped orange peels, orange segments and juice, 4 cups of sugar, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, and ⅛ ground cloves into a saucepan. This mixture will bubble like crazy so make sure you use a saucepan big enough accommodate for it. Heat your marmalade on medium to medium-high heat until it reaches 120° F or 105° C. Pour your Spiced Orange Marmalade into prepared jars and process, or keep it in the freezer until you are ready to use it. Once you open the jars or take the marmalade out of the freezer, keep it in the refrigerator.
Spiced Orange Marmalade
- Candy Thermometer
- Vegetable peeler
- 5 large oranges
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp ground cloves
- This recipe yields around 5 cups or 2 ½ pints.
- Thoroughly wash and dry the oranges.
- Using a vegetable peeler, carefully peel your oranges. You want as little of the white pith as possible left on the peels. Chop the peels into very thin strips that are around ½-1 inches in length. Put in a bowl and set aside.
- Cut the remaining pith from your peeled oranges. If the pieces of pith have a lot of fruit left on them, use your hand to gently squeeze the fruit juices into a bowl.
- Remove the membranes from the oranges while holding the oranges over a bowl to catch all of the juice. These membranes don't really have a taste but their texture isn't good for marmalade.
- Put the sliced orange peels and de-membraned oranges into a saucepan and add 4 cups of sugar. This mixture will bubble quite a lot when cooked so make sure there is plenty of extra space in your pan.
- Next add ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and ⅛ teaspoon of ground cloves and stir until incorporated. If you want regular marmalade instead of spiced marmalade, skip this step.
- Clip your candy thermometer to the side of your pan and cook over medium to medium high heat until the marmalade reaches 220° F or 105° C.
- Transfer your marmalade into containers. You can process and can your marmalade if you'd like or keep it in the fridge or freezer until you are ready to use it. Keep leftover marmalade in the refrigerator.