small measures: orange & vanilla marmalade

During the summer and autumn months, you can find me stirring, boiling, filling and jarring some sort of canned good just about every week. A profusion of jams, preserves, pickles and more come out of my kitchen, owing largely to the abundance of produce available. When winter rolls around, however, my output slows. Area farmers’ markets are closed until April, my own garden is dormant until spring and there’s simply much less seasonally available for canning.

That’s where citrus comes in. Citrus fruits truly shine during colder weather. From kumquats and clementines to Meyer lemons and ruby red grapefruits, citrus fruits allow me to keep canning even when the mercury dips. Curds, sauces and marmalades all showcase citrus flavors exquisitely. Accordingly, today’s Small Measures offers my recipe for Orange & Vanilla Marmalade. This marmalade is absolute heaven slathered over fresh-from-the-oven scones (I used the Dorie Greenspan-variation provided by Marisa of Food In Jars) and paired with a hot mug of Earl Grey tea. It’s also a fantastic at-the-ready item for birthdays, host gifts, housewarmings or any celebration where a bit of homemade marmalade will be welcome. And, best of all, it makes your house smell like an orange creamsicle while you’re cooking it. Seasonal. Tasty. Creamsicle. What’s not to love? — Ashley

CLICK HERE for the full recipe after the jump!

Orange & Vanilla Marmalade
Yields approximately 6 half-pint jars

The Goods

  • 3 pounds oranges*
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 4 cups granulated sugar

*I used “Honeybell” oranges (my Florida-based in-laws send us a shipment of these juicy beauties every January), but really, any variety will work well.

The Deal

1. Place two small plates in the freezer (these will be used later to test for gelling).

2. Quarter the oranges. Once quartered, separate the peel from the flesh. Chop the flesh up into small pieces, removing seeds as you see them. Place the seeds in a muslin tea bag (they contain a good deal of pectin and will aid in thickening the marmalade). Thinly slice the peel into long strips, then cut the strips into smaller, 1/2-inch pieces.

3. Put the seed bag, fruit flesh, sliced peel and water in a heavy, large stainless-steel soup or stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 5 minutes, cover, and remove from heat. Allow to cool at room temperature overnight or for at least 8 hours.

4. Remove lid from pot and place over medium heat. Bring mixture to a gentle simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes.

5. Slice the vanilla beans open and, using the tip of a paring knife, scrape out the seeds within. Add the seeds to the pot. Add sugar and lemon juice and stir. Continue cooking over low heat for 45 minutes or until mixture reaches 220ºF on a candy thermometer.

6. About 30 minutes into the cooking time, you’ll want to begin prepping the canner, jars and lids. Sterilize 6 half-pint mason jars, lids and screw bands. Fill a canner or large stockpot with water and set over medium-high heat. Bring just to boiling point. Place lids in a small saucepan and fill with water. Bring to a boil, turn off heat, remove from stovetop and set aside.

7. Test for gelling. Remove one plate from the freezer and spoon about 1 tsp. of the marmalade on to it. Place back in the freezer and wait two minutes. Remove the plate from the freezer and push the edge of the marmalade with your fingertip. If it is gelled properly, the surface will wrinkle a bit. If it fails to wrinkle, or is obviously still runny, continue cooking the marmalade for 5 minutes longer and then repeat the test.

8. Place hot jars on top of a kitchen cloth on the counter. Remove seed bag from the marmalade, squeezing to remove any juices. With the help of a canning funnel, pack marmalade into jars, reserving 1/2-inch headspace. Use a non-metallic spatula to remove any trapped air bubbles and wipe rims clean with a damp cloth. Put on lids and screw bands, tightening only until fingertip-tight.

9. Using a jar lifter, place jars in canner. Process 15 minutes in a boiling-water bath. Remember to adjust for altitude. Check to ensure that the jars have sealed properly, label and store in a cool, dark area.

What about you? Got any marmalade recipes you churn out come wintertime? I’d love to hear about them. Otherwise, there’s a scone on my kitchen counter just begging to be adorned!

  1. Rachel says:

    Mmm… love the addition of vanilla. Cardamom and star anise work well too (especially with grapefruit marmalade).
    I like to use my homemade marmalade in bread and butter pudding (made with brioche). Divine!

  2. So cool! Can’t wait to try!

    -Chic Done Cheap

  3. (amanda) says:

    Oh this looks too delicious! Thanks for sharing. xo

  4. Rebecca Ringquist says:

    yes yes yes. I am going to scour Brooklyn this weekend for canning supplies and make a batch of this Sunday afternoon. Thank you thank you for some sunshine on a rainy day.

  5. Lindsay Anne says:

    This looks great, and like a great project for the weekend. I really wanted to make preserves like these as gifts for our wedding, but have never made them before. How long do they last on the shelf? What does it mean to “adjust for altitude”. Thanks for sharing!! Can’t wait to try!

  6. Alison says:

    YUM! What a charming gift! What could be more comforting??

  7. This is perfect timing! I am trying my first marmalade this weekend and it will be a three day process. So excited! This is next on my list to must try recipes. Thanks!

  8. this looks so yummy! and i love the details about canning. i’m new to this whole jarring process and really excited to get into it. thanks for this.

  9. Ashley says:

    lindsay anne-canned goods are at their prime for one year after they are jarred. after that, they’re still “safe”, just not as optimally flavorful. to “adjust for altitude” means to lengthen the processing time by 5 minutes for every 1,000 feet above sea level you live.

    if you’ve never done any water bath canning before, i’d strongly urge you to read up a bit on the process beforehand. i’ve got a book on the subject and there are a number of other really fantastic publications available on the topic. you just want to ensure you’re doing it as safely as possible. feel free to e-mail me directly with any specific questions: ashleyadamsenglish(at)gmail(dot)com.

  10. Margaret says:

    Oh, I just started canning this summer (blackberry and blueberry jam) but this marmalade sounds awesome! I think I might have to pull out the canning pot and try some orange marmalade!

  11. i don’t spend much time in the kitchen…but this recipe is just calling out my name…think i’ll have to give it a shot…and i soo love the images…can almost taste the marmalade..thanks for sharing, Grace…have a sweet weekend!! xx meenal

  12. Token says:

    This looks so yummy … specially in the first photo with the piece of bread next to it. Think I’m going to try and make a batch. Hope I don’t burn down the kitchen :).

  13. This looks delicious. Do I dare try?!

  14. Amelia says:

    Torture! The phrases “fresh-from-the-oven scones” and “hot mug of Earl Grey tea” are taunting me as I stare out the window at the snow-scape! Mmmm, I’d better get to work :)

  15. This looks so delicious! I actually have some photos of jams I’ve made on my blog as well. It’s so fun to do and I love that women have been doing it for as long as we have!

  16. kiki says:

    oh thank you for posting this! i love marmalade!! not just a little but….like a huge bit! i have it at least 2x/week on toast! i’d love to try my hand at making my own!

  17. Matt says:

    Wish I’d seen this last night. I forgot how to do the gel test, and ended up with what appears to be fairly runny blood orange marmalade. Ah well, it’s my first batch, so it’s all good :)

  18. Lizzie says:

    When does the lemon get added? Maybe I missed it, but I read through a few times and couldn’t find it. Iam trying to make a slightly adjusted version (mix of citrus fruit) of it now :).

  19. Denise Sawlor says:

    Looks so good! I’ve never used real vanilla beans before so just to clarify, this recipe uses the seeds only from the two beans?

  20. Lydia says:

    I made a marmalade recipe by Delia last week that ended up looking (and tasting, according to my husband) just like honey. To add to my shame, a friend gave me a jar made from the same recipe, and it is proper marmalade.

    I’d like to give it another go with this recipe, but what about Seville oranges? Those are the proper marmalade fruits, but I’m hesitant to swap it in because I think it needs quite a bit more sugar than called for here. Tips?

  21. Ashley says:

    lizzie-ZOINKS! i have no clue how i forgot to include the step for adding the lemon juice! it goes in with the sugar. thanks for catching that. and, apologies!

    denise-that’s correct. when you slice open a vanilla bean, there are teensy, tiny seeds lodged all along the interior. using the tip of a knife, scrape out those seeds. they’re where all the amazing vanilla flavor is found!

    lydia-i’ve never made this with seville oranges. never been able to source them, actually. that said, their seeds (of which there are many) are high in pectin, which is the reason they’re used in “true” marmalade-making. they are more bitter than sweet oranges, though, and, as such might require more sugar. since i’m not experienced with their use, i’m loathe to suggest them as an equal-amount alternative. perhaps, in your case, you’d be better served seeking out a seville orange-specific marmalade instead.

  22. Lizzie says:

    Thanks! I assumed that was the right time and went with it since it is all citrus. Can’t wait to start it up again tomorrow morning for the final canning.

  23. Lovely recipe- will give it a go.Applejam is great too- you will find it on my blog- super easy –

  24. Shelley says:

    Yum! This sounds delicious. I’ve never been much of an orange marmalade person, it’s usually too bitter, but a marmalade with vanilla, that sounds tasty.

  25. Mónika says:

    I like your blog very much. Thanks a lot for the posts.

    I liked this orange marmelade very much, as I made almost the same a few days before Christmas. And it also looked almost the same.

  26. Laura Lupi says:

    i am definitely going to try this one. It look delicious and i love orange marmalade!thanks

  27. THIS I will be doing! We have an orange tree that has fruit year round. I love the fresh OJ on the weekends but this will be perfect on some homemade scones…..mmmmmm

  28. Sharon says:

    Oh this sounds heavenly! I love creamsicles and can’t wait to try this recipe! Thank you so much for the inspiration!

  29. Veronica says:

    This looked so good I went out and bought marmalade supplies this past weekend! Unfortunately, I peeled, sliced and diced my oranges before realizing that they’re a seedless variety! I’ve scoured the nearby markets looking for a pectin but I haven’t been able to find any–any suggestions on what I should do?

    Thanks for the recipe and any help!

  30. Ashley says:

    veronica-oh no! i’d suggest you make a quick trip back to the market for some more citrus. you can either use the seeds of seed-containing oranges or use the seeds from the lemons you’ll be juicing in the recipe (plus maybe a few extra seeds, from perhaps a total of 4 lemons; you’ll only be using the juice of two of them, though, per the recipe).

    hope this helps!

  31. Veronica says:

    Thanks for the help Ashley! I used the seeds from 5 lemons and heated the last step a little longer and it turned out beautifully (or at least looks good thus far!). I can’t wait to try it out on some toast!

  32. Mary Jo says:

    Do you have to separate the membrane from the orange slices or just the peel?

  33. mary jo-you only need to separate the orange flesh from the peel itself.

  34. Charlie says:

    This is a lovely recipe ! I love marmalade and have it on toast every day. I might try to make this recipe myself. Thanks !

  35. Laura. says:

    for those of us who aren’t prepared with canning supplies, can this be finished like freezer jam? or is that a terrible idea?

  36. laura-you can certainly put this marmalade in the fridge, but i’d avoid the freezer. i think the composition of the citrus peel wouldn’t hold up well once frozen.

    you’ll have a good bit of marmalade on your hands, though, and it will only hold up for about 2-3 weeks in the fridge, so i might suggest either putting marmalade on everything you can think of (;^)) or having some friends over for brunch and then sending them all home with small jars of it, to be promptly put into their own refrigerators once they return home.

  37. Vanilla, orange, sugar…Wow! I need to get my hands on some marmalaide. Thanks for the recipe! Gotta try it

  38. Pam says:

    I’m in the process of making this, and my marmalade doesn’t seem to be gelling. I followed the recipe except I added 6 oz. of liquid pectin, because the oranges I used didn’t have seeds in them. I cooked it for another 5 minutes after my first test, but it’s still runny. I read elsewhere that it could take 2-3 weeks for it to set. Any tips to save my marmalade?

  39. Rika says:

    I agree with Pam. Suggestions for any ungelled marmalade? I also used seedless oranges and it’s super runny.

  40. Rose says:

    I just made this yesterday and it is perfect!! Not too sweet, with that perfect orange “bite” that I love! I thought it was good yesterday, but when I had more today, the vanilla flavor is more pronounced. There’s another pot of it on the stove right now. Thanks for the great recipe!

  41. Jen white says:

    Going to make this jam this weekend and can it in my new weck jars. It will be so beautiful!

  42. Jackie says:

    I will definitely try this recipe. I made the Creamsicle Vanilla recipe a few months ago – and it was too sweet. Rattled my back teeth!

  43. Sai says:

    I love it!!! Finally had the chance to try and it is heavenly delicious!! :D

    I used seedless oranges and lemons too but mine turn out quite well.. It managed to gel together tho’ I didn’t use the boiling bath method.. Is that necessary?


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