Orange Marmalade| Easy Home-Made Orange Jam

I came all the way in a lifeboat, and ate marmalade. Bears like marmalade.”
– Paddington Bear

My love for orange marmalade

It was Michael Bond’s Paddington Bear series of books that got me hooked to orange marmalade. I read my first Paddington Bear book about a decade ago, well into adulthood. Yes, I discovered them quite late in life, but I’m so glad I did! The mischievous bear charmed me – his love of marmalade, included – and I went on to buy the entire series of books. These books had me wondering what marmalade would taste like, considering it is not a food I grew up with. Orange marmalade, in particular.

And then, I had the opportunity to gorge on some utterly delectable orange marmalade at Auroville, Pondicherry – it was sheer beauty, just the right amount of sweet and sour, with a slight bitterness from the peel, the scent of oranges uplifting. I carried home a precious bottle, cherishing it bit by little bit. Since then, I have had orange marmalade several times over. Somewhere down the line, I tired of the huge list of artificial additives in it, as well as the ton of sugar that gets dumped into it, and started making my own at home.

Difference between jam and marmalade

Jam typically refers to fruit and sugar cooked together, till it thickens. Marmalade is also essentially the same, but with the fruit peel also added in. On that note, jam is sweeter than marmalade, which can have some amount of bitterness from the peel.

Home-made Orange Marmalade

I love making orange marmalade at home because, obviously, I can control what goes into it. I use sweet Kamala oranges when they are in season, which have just a bit of sourness to them, so I can get away with reducing the amount of sugar I add in. It gives me the opportunity to play around with the flavours – I can add in some chilli if I so prefer, or some cinnamon and cloves, or roasted cumin powder. The possibilities are endless!

You get to choose the best of fruit to use in your marmalade, and can decide just how much of the peel you want to put in. I add in only a small amount of peel, unlike store-bought brands, so there’s an intense orange flavour to the marmalade, without too much bitterness. That way, my resident bear cub (read: the bub) gets to enjoy it too. 🙂 Made in small batches, home-made orange marmalade is super fresh, fragrant and flavourful, with the right notes of sweet and sour, achieved with all-natural ingredients. I don’t use any pectin or preservatives in the orange marmalade either.

Making orange marmalade at home is super simple too. It just needs two major ingredients – oranges and sugar. You may add in a bit of lemon juice too, if you so prefer. It requires a little prep work, after which all you need to do is stand back and let the marmalade bubble and thicken up.

How I make Orange Marmalade at home

Here’s how I make home-made orange marmalade.

Ingredients (makes about 1 cup):

1. 12-14 medium-sized oranges
2. 1-1/2 cups sugar or to taste
3. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste (optional)


Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Bottom left and right: Steps 3 and 4

1. Wash all the oranges well under running water. Pat dry completely, using a cotton cloth.
2. Remove the skin off all the oranges. Separate the segments. Remove the pith and seeds from all the segments, as well as the fine skin, and discard. Collect the orange flesh in a large pan with a thick bottom. I got about 3 heaped cups of orange flesh.
3. Reserve the skin of one orange, and discard the rest. From the underside of the skin, using a sharp knife, scrape off all the white part. The fragrant orange part of the skin should be exposed (see the pictures above to get a better idea). Now, chop this skin finely and add to the orange flesh in the pan.
4. Add the sugar to the pan.

Top left and right: Steps 5 and 6, Bottom left and right: Steps 7 and 8

5. Place the pan on high flame. Mix well.
6. In a minute or two, the pan will get heated up and the mixture will start getting liquidy. Allow it to start bubbling.
7. Once the mixture starts to bubble, turn the flame down to medium.
8. Cook on medium flame for 18-20 minutes or until the mixture starts to thicken. Stir intermittently to prevent burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan. Now, the marmalade will get done really fast, and you need to be very watchful. At this stage, add lemon juice and mix well. Cook on low-medium heat for a couple of minutes more. Stir intermittently.
9. Switch off gas when the marmalade reaches a spreadable consistency, but is still quite runny. Don’t make it too thick. 10. Allow the Orange Marmalade to cool down fully. Then, transfer to a clean, dry, air-tight bottle. Store refrigerated, and use as needed.

Tips & Tricks

1. Use fresh, in-season oranges for best results.
2. Pick up firm oranges without any blemishes.
3. Make sure you scrape off all the white pith from the orange peel, otherwise the marmalade might turn bitter.
4. Adjust the amount of sugar you use, depending upon personal taste preferences. I had about 3 heaped cups of fruit and used 1-1/2 cups sugar for the same. The sweetness was just perfect for us.
5. Use a heavy-bottomed pan to cook the Orange Marmalade.
6. You can use any type of sugar to make the marmalade or even jaggery. I prefer granulated sugar.
7. Make sure you cook the marmalade on medium flame to ensure even cooking and to avoid burning.
8. I have used the peel from only one orange here. You may use more peel if you so prefer, but do keep in mind that the marmalade might get a little bitter by doing so.
9. If the oranges are naturally sweet and sour, you may avoid the lemon juice.
10. You can add a piece of cinnamon, some bay leaves, cloves and/or chilli flakes to make a spiced version of the Orange Marmalade. I didn’t use any of these ingredients.
11. Once the marmalade starts thickening, keep a watchful eye on it. Make sure you switch off the gas when it reaches a spreadable consistency but is still quite runny. The marmalade thickens further upon cooling.
12. Allow the Orange Marmalade to cool down fully before you bottle it.
13. Keep the marmalade refrigerated when not in use. Refrigerated and used hygienically, it stays well for several months. I would, however, suggest consuming it in about a month or so, since there are no preservatives added.
14. I have used Kamala oranges aka ‘loose jacket’ oranges to make the marmalade. You may use any other variety of oranges instead, too.

Do you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Check out the other varieties of home-made jam on my blog:
Strawberry Chilli Jam| Sweet & Spicy Jalapeno Jam| Strawberry Jam