Sour Orange Marmalade (Waste Not Want Not Challenge)


Remember that giant, gorgeous basket of sour oranges I mentioned last post? I'm not done telling that story!

While the past-their-prime citrus got turned into potpourri, which I'm still delighting in, most of the oranges were still in great shape. Meaning... IT'S MARMALADE TIME! 

Here's why marmalade rocks: 

It's bitter. It's sweet. It packs a punch, and this recipe uses the ENTIRE ORANGE. 

Though I promised not to beat y'all over the head with statistics during the holidays, food waste is a massive pet peeve of mine. When you consider the time, energy, chemicals, packaging and fossil fuels used to transport edible items, wasted food is a big deal. 


So obviously I was thrilled by these beautiful backyard-grown sour oranges! Minimal carbon footprint, if any, and no waxes or chemicals on the peels. PERFECT FOR MARMALADE! I hated marmalade growing up, but I have countless memories of my dad enthusiastically picking through tiny jam containers at restaurants and diners on the hunt for that perfect sugary citrus kick for his morning toast, and eventually the orangey sweetness and that surprising funk got me addicted, too. 


What You'll Need:

  • 5-6 medium Seville or sour oranges (though any oranges will work)

  • 6 cups water

  • 3 pounds plus 1.5 cups sugar

  • cheese cloth

  • jars with lids

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What To Do (full photos below):

  1. Wash oranges thorough, gently scrubbing peels. Slice oranges, with peels, into thin slices (1/8-inch is ideal), removing and setting aside seeds only.

  2. Quarter orange slices and place into large pot for boiling. Place a plate into freezer.

  3. Add water to pot with oranges, turn heat to high. Bring to boil. Once fruit has reached full boil, reduce heat to rapid simmer.

  4. Place seeds inside cheese cloth, tie off, and drape over side of pot (this step extracts extra pectin from the seeds for a better set of marmalade).

  5. Stirring and watching pot carefully to prevent boiling over, cook for 40 minutes (depending on slice width) or until fruit is very soft and peels are tender. Then return to full boil and add sugar. Stir continually until jam darkens in color (approximately 20 minutes). Remove and discard cheesecloth.

  6. Test readiness of marmalade by spooning small amount onto chilled plate. Tilt plate. Jam should thicken immediately.

  7. Can, if desired, or spoon into clean jars and store in fridge. Enjoy and share!


My favorite thing about this recipe, other than the marmalade, obviously, is that I had no food waste, other than the paper bag the sugar came in, that went into the recycling, and the mushy orange seeds, which went into the compost. 

And the marmalade? It's DELICIOUS.

Smear some on toasted artisan bread, pour a cup of black coffee, and get back to wrapping presents, loves!