domesticity,  heavy on photos,  the sticks



Well, I finally did it. I finally made marmalade! Woo hoo!!! This has been on my big list of things I want to do before I die. Of course, I should probably qualify my previous statement and say that my mom made marmalade in my kitchen while I hovered, took notes and photographed. But I totally paid attention and then I cleaned up the kitchen afterwards which counts for many many points, right? Do you know how sticky citrus can make a floor? Very.

Anyway, I’m super confident I could make my own batch of marmalade all by myself next time if I wanted to. That’s enough for me.

recipe according to Bug

Bug was kind enough to copy the recipe down for you. I’ll transcribe it for you below.



4 oranges
2 lemons
6 cups of sugar
2 1/2 cups water
1/8 tsp baking soda
Sure Gel pectin (you can use the other brand just make sure you follow their directions)
sterile jars (enough to fit 4 cups of fruit, you pick the size. We used two big ones and four little ones.)

sterlized jars

First, you’ll want to wash your oranges and lemons really well. Especially if you’re like us and they’ve been sitting in the backyard collecting dirt and bird crap—I mean sitting there being perfectly chemical-free and organic!

When they’re all nice and pretty, take a vegetable peeler (yep, a plain old potato peeler) and skin the zest layer off. My mom says back in the olden days they used a knife and it was a big pain in the neck. Use a peeler, it’s super easy! When you’re done with that, chop up the rind into small pieces. We liked small thin rectangles for some reason.

chopping rind

You’ll have to forgive my mom’s hands for not being model-esque. Them’s workin’ hands, riddled with arthritis. But they still work! Next, peel and discard the pith part of the oranges and lemons by hand.

chopped fruit

Chop the fruit up into bite-size pieces and reserve the juice. One of those cutting boards with a reservoir would be handy here but we didn’t have one.


Next, place zest peels, 2 1/2 cups of water and 1/8 tsp baking soda in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. I’m missing some photos here. They were not photogenic and got REJECTED.


After 20 minutes add the fruit and juice and simmer for 10 minutes. Then add your four cups of chopped fruit and pectin to the six cups of sugar in a BIG ol’ pot and bring to a rolling boil. I learned a rolling boil is a boil that can’t be stirred down. My mom is so smart with these helpful tips. I know you probably already know all this stuff but I didn’t.


After the fruit “brew” has boiled at a rolling boil for a whole minute, you can turn off the heat and then ladle your delicious smelling marmalade into jars leaving 1/8 of an inch of space from the top.

filled up

Like so. Aren’t they pretty? I call them my precioussssssssss jewels in my best Gollum voice.


Then we screwed on the lids and let them sit in the Jar Spa aka a water bath.

water bath

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh…..” say the jars. (They were tense and sticky.) This is just what they needed. I sort of wished I had a spa to climb into too after all this mess.

2 batches

And that was that. We made two batches! I guess it has to set for a week or so but I opened a jar the next day and had some on toast.


It was delicious! Why wouldn’t it be? It’s pretty much orange-flavored sugar.

my little helper

(my little helper)

marmalade labels done!

Then I made some labels (2nd version not shown) so we can give the rest away as gifts. It’s going fast. I think I’m going to have to make another batch! Good thing I have more oranges! I actually don’t have an orange tree in my yard. I have one lemon tree and two tangelo trees but my neighbor does and she said I can pick them anytime, there are plenty! What I really need to figure out how to make is lemon marmalade. Is there such a thing?


  • Lin

    Any citrus will work for marmalade but my favorite is lime. Rose’s make a lime marmalade that I’ve always loved.

  • Emily

    I wish I liked marmalade because it looks so yummy and I love the colour. But lemon curd that’s a different matter, delicious, especially on cake.

  • Yara

    I have a couple recipes for canning lemons (one is for strawberry lemonade concentrate).

    I tried to make orange marmalade once, but I did something wrong (perhaps it wasn’t a rolling boil?) and it didn’t gel. I used all those jars as orange sauce in various dishes, and it was still yummy.

    You just made me want to move into the small house with the big yard & the many citrus trees, just so I can make marmalade.

  • Sarah

    Kudos on making marmalade from scratch (and making half the internet crave it)! I’ve only ever used Ma Made and added the sugar and water, less floor-mopping needed afterwards ;-)

  • Kuky

    That looks so yummy. I’m salivating and craving some right now. Guess I’ll have to make do with what I have in my fridge.

  • Becca

    Working hands are the most beautiful hands – better than any fancy schmancy modelesque hands IMO :)

    And thanks for the marmelade recipe! It’s on my to learn to make list too. Now to find the instructions for pressure canning it (cause I have a pressure canner rather than the water bath canner method).

  • norm

    YES! That was the best part of living in the British Empire, all the different choices of great marmalades. My favorite was Robertson’s 3-citrus variety. Yum. Since coming back to California we’ve been stuck with our Meyer lemon tree, although our neighbors did do a great white peach + meyer lemon marmalade which was pretty darn good.

  • Jenn Bo

    I im so impressed! I love marmalade and yours looks delish. As for the lemons, you could make lemon curd…. (butter, sugar, lemons – how could that be a bad thing.) =)

  • Lisa

    That stuff looks delicious! You should try making classic English lemon curd with your lemons – Meyer lemons work best. It is so good on toast, scones, muffins, anything. You can make tarts and pies with it. It’s pretty awesome…

  • Gena

    I just tried a lemon jam/marmalade thing at a Farmer’s Market. It was TART but pretty good. I was curious how they made it too but couldn’t get much out of the guy. My canning book has a recipe for curd though, which would probably be more useful to be honest. Your jars look beautiful! Congrats on your first batch. Isn’t it exciting to watch it gel and turn into the real thing?!

  • BeachMama

    My Mom used to make the ONLY marmalade I ever eat, it was and orange lemon type thing as well and she would add a marachino cherry or two to each jar, it gave a little extra sweetness to the jar and it looked pretty :). She stopped doing jams a few years ago and I miss it. I could do it myself but it truly isn’t the same.

    I have to say that I love your photos!!! You may have a few that were rejected but you have become in tune with your new camera so quickly and your photos are just popping out at me, love them all :)

  • diana

    well done! you have just discovered my favorite christmas gift- because you can make 25 jars in august, when you have time and fruit is cheap. leave it in a closet until december and voila! instant gifts! already made and ready to go.