Three-Citrus Marmalade

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes about

    3 cups

Appears in

Good to the Grain

By Kim Boyce

Published 2010

  • About

Marmalade recipes have always seemed like too much work to me—you have to peel and chop the fruit, bag seeds and pith for pectin, rest things overnight, then boil and measure hot liquid to determine how much sugar to put in. So when it came time for me to develop a marmalade of my own, I streamlined as many of the steps as I could. Marmalade is different from other jams, in that there isn’t much stirring necessary until the end. Until the last twenty minutes, the syrup more or less reduces on its own. This recipe uses three kinds of citrus fruits that are Southern California favorites—but there’s plenty of room for substitution if you have others in your markets, or in your back yard.


  • 5 organic oranges
  • 4 organic blood oranges
  • 4 organic Meyer lemons, or substitute 2 organic oranges and 2 organic lemons
  • 3 cups sugar


  1. Put a small plate into the freezer for testing the jam later. Set up an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and about 1 cup of water. Set a smaller bowl on the counter next to it. (Do not set the smaller bowl inside the larger bowl yet; if you do, condensation will line the bowl and water down your jam.) Put a rubber spatula next to the bowls.
  2. Scrub and dry the citrus. With a vegetable peeler, strip the zest (the outermost layer of the rind) from 1 orange, 2 blood oranges, and 2 Meyer lemons. Slice the strips into thin matchsticks about 1/16 inch in width. Keep any irregular shapes—don’t worry if the slices are uneven. Add the strips to a small pot and cover with cold water. Over high heat, bring the pot to a boil and boil for 30 seconds. Drain the strips, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
  3. Cut off both ends of each fruit. Using the side of your knife, go around each fruit from top to bottom, removing both the pith and the peel. The thoroughness with which you clean your fruit will show in the final product, so remove as much of the white pith as you can. Discard the peels, or compost them if you can. Cut the fruit into quarters, picking out the seeds and removing the harder, pithy centers. Chop each fruit into roughly 1- to 2-inch pieces, saving all of the juice that drips onto the cutting board.
  4. Measure the fruit (you should have about 6 cups) and any remaining juice into a 5- to 7-quart heavybottomed pot. Add 6 cups water (filtered, if you have it) to the pot with the fruit and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.
  5. When the mixture has come to a boil, lower the flame to medium. Cook the fruit syrup, uncovered, for about 1 hour, or until it has reduced by half (a piece of masking tape stuck to the outside of the pot is a good indicator of your starting point, although you can usually see a cooking line inside the pot). For a clear marmalade, periodically skim off any white scum that accumulates at the top, and stir occasionally over the course of the hour.
  6. Add the blanched zest and the sugar to the pot. Stir to combine, increase the heat to high, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, about 10 minutes. The mixture should be at a bubbling simmer; adjust the heat upward if it’s not. After 10 minutes, begin to stir the marmalade constantly, adjusting the heat if necessary so that it stays at a rapid simmer; the zest is now candying and the marmalade thickening. Cook for 20 minutes more.
  7. The marmalade is ready when it is thick enough that a spoon makes a scraping sound and leaves a trail at the bottom of the pan.
  8. Remove the plate from the freezer. Test the marmalade by placing a spoonful of it on the plate (see Sidebar). It should thicken promptly when you do so.
  9. When the marmalade is finished, using potholders, pour the pot of marmalade into the smaller bowl. Scrape out every bit with the spatula. Set the bowl into the ice bath and stir the marmalade a few times to allow some of the heat to escape.
  10. Cover the marmalade with plastic wrap so that the plastic is touching the surface of the marmalade, to keep a skin from forming. Once the marmalade is completely cooled, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.