Clementine Marmalade

Clementine Marmalade

I love a really good marmalade. It isn’t everyone’s idea of what to put on their toast, but I love the bitter undertones. Marmalade is a type of jelly, but it has pieces of citrus peel suspended in it. A conversation with a dear friend inspired me to make marmalade. I used to make it, but hadn’t in a long time. Marmalade is a bit of work, but I am so glad I made it. The flavor is so much better than most of what I find in stores.

I used clementines to make my marmalade. Mandarins would be fine, or any thin skinned orange that have little or no white pith on the peels. You know why? Because if you use an orange with a thick skin, like a navel orange, you have to scrape off the white part of the peels. You are already slicing all those peels in to thin strips. Why make more work for yourself? Besides, I really like the taste of clementines and mandarins.

Simmering the marmalade

So here is the recipe. Enjoy.

Clementine Marmalade

3 lbs. clementines or mandarin oranges

2 large or 3 small lemons

6 cups water

About 8 cups sugar

Wash the fruit and dry off. Peel the clementines. I cut a few shallow cuts down each one to make them easier to peel in fairly whole pieces. Slice the peels into thin strips. You need to get 2 cups of sliced peels. Take the peeled clementines and open them up. Remove that little piece of white membrane in the center. Chop up the fruit and place in a bowl. You’ll need 4 cups of the chopped clementines. You should have enough with a 3 pound bag. You will have more than enough peels. Slice the ends off the lemons, cut them in half and slice thin. Be careful to remove and discard the lemon seeds. You should end up with about a cup of prepared lemon. Place the prepared fruits and peels in a large saucepan with the water. Bring to a boil, then simmer 5-10 minutes. Cool and place in the fridge overnight. You want this mixture to sit 12-18 hours. The next day place the fruit and water mixture in a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer until the peel get tender. It took about 20 minutes for me. You want to measure how much of the mixture remains and add an equal amount of sugar to the mixture. I had close enough to 8 cups to just use 8 cups of sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cook until mixture reaches gel point. I know you were fine until I said that. What is gel point and how do you know when you are there?

Here is how you can tell when you are at gel point


1.Use a candy thermometer, attached to the side of the pan and down in the jelly far enough to cover the bulb of the thermometer, but not touching the bottom of the pan. This is the most accurate method. Gel point is 220 degrees at sea level or 8 degrees above the temperature of boiling water

2. Spoon test by using a cool metal spoon dipped in the jelly and held on its side so the jelly can run off the edge. When jelly is not ready the drops will be light and syrupy. As it gets thicker the drops will falls off the spoon 2 at a time. When it has reached the proper stage two drops will form together into one drop and sheet off the spoon. Sounds kind of vague, but you really will see a difference as it thickens.

3.  Freezer test just involves spooning a small amount of jelly on a plate and placing it in the freezer for a few minutes, to cool it down quickly. If the mixture gels, it should be done. While waiting for jelly test to cool, remove jelly from heat.

I hope that helped.

So now you just boil the mixture until it thickens. It will take a while. Mine took about 25-30 minutes. I did boil it pretty rapidly, and stirred most of the time. You can turn it down a bit, if you need a break. In the beginning, when the mixture is still pretty watery, you should get your jars ready and get the water bath on. Wash jars and keep warm until ready to use. I just fill them with hot tap water. Prep lids according to what the package tells you. Get a pot simmering with water for processing. It needs to be tall enough so the water will cover the jars by at least an inch. If you don’t have a canner, any deep pot can work. You can’t put the jars directly on the bottom of the pot though. They could shatter. I have a small round cooling rack I sometimes use. You can also put a small towel in the pot and then set the jars on top of the towel, to keep them from touching.

When you are ready to fill the jars, ladle the hot marmalade into the jars, filling them until they are ½ – ¼ inch from the top of the jar. Use a jar funnel if you have one, or borrow one from a friend. It makes things so much easier. Use a damp paper towel to wipe the rim of the jar. Place lid and band on the jar and screw on until fingertip tight. Repeat until jars are filled. Place them in the simmering water. They should be submerged. Cover pot and bring up the heat and when the water comes to a boil, start timing the processing. Process 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the jars sit in the pot 5-10 more minutes. Remove jars and place on a towel or cooling rack. You should here pings as the jars start to seal. Once they are cool, you can check to see if they all sealed. Any that didn’t seal, you can reprocess (with a new lid) or just place in fridge and eat first.  

Yield: About 9 half-pint jars.

Marmalade cooling down

Adapted from the Ball Blue Book

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