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Jul 12, 2007 05:46 PM

Can this orange marmalade be saved?

... or do I just need to wait?

Right now it looks like little more than cooked oranges.

This is my first try at marmelade ... I made it out of a single orange to experiment.

Most of the recipes say to add water to equal fruit so I assume that meant for a cup of thinly chopped orange to add a cup of water. Also I cut down on sugar. Was that my big mistake? Looking around the web it seems like the sugar is usually equal to the amount of fruit. In this case, a cup of sugar ... but that seems like soooo much ... but again I used soooo little

Here's what I did ...

1 orange thinly sliced
1 cup water
4 teaspoons sugar (yeah, I know. wrong, right?)

Bring mixture to a boil and continue cooking to reduce liquid.

If I reduce it any more it will start to burn.

Will it magically 'marmelade' by putting it overnight in the fridge?

If I added more sugar and a little more liquid and cooked it would it save this.

What is it exactly that turns fruit into marmelade?

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  1. I'm thinking you needed some pectin to get the marmalade to gel....probably in the form of some apples being cooked then strained and the liquid added to the rest of the ingredients. IE: apple pectin liquid.

    1. Four teaspoons of sugar isn't going to work. The sugar isn't just to make it sweet, it is a chemical reaction. Joy of Cooking calls for one cup of sugar per cup of cooked fruit/water mix. Honestly I'd toss this batch and start fresh.

      Marmalade isn't forgiving, it requires a certain technique. If it's a matter of dietary requirements I totally understand, maybe there's a recipe for diabetic marmalade out there someplace so you don't have to reinvent the wheel.

      To answer your original question, dissolving the pectin in the peel and pith and causing it to gel makes it marmalade. Citrus fruits tend to have high pectin (natural fruit gelatin), so you see a variety of citrus marmalades. Typically the chopped fruit and water are soaked together overnight then simmered for a while then sugar added then more simmering.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Louise

        OK, thanks. I have a better idea about this. I had a couple of recipes from the web and went with the quick and easy version which doesn't work obviously. Looking at the other recipes I found ... they are along the lines of what you said. Hmmm ... it looked so easy. Who knew marmalade was tricky.

        1. re: rworange

          Hmm, the marmalade I've made doesn't use any water at all. Just sectioned citrus fruit and juice, sliced rind (no pith), and sugar, basically. I've made it without the pectin called for (2 oz). I didn't have any and it was okay although I stored it in the refrigerator which thickens it more. The proportions were: three cups fruit, 3Tbs lemon juice, and 2-1/2 cups sugar. I wasn't completely anal about removing all of the white bits and they did get a bit hard, so if you're not going to remove them I'd chop them up a bit. I made it in my breadmaker and there was no presoaking. We used a mix of fruits (grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, lemons). It was excellent.

          1. re: mlgb

            Alot of recipes I saw didn't have pectin, but they have lemon juice so maybe that is adding extra pection. I wonder if the soaking has to do with softening the peels. Also the recipes I've seen didn't mention removing the white bits.

            Actually this surprised me because dumb as it sounds, I never considered marmelade was the whole fruit. I though it was just the peels and juice, not the whole fruit.

            1. re: rworange

              Pectin is not from lemon juice. Pectin is from the peel and pith (lemon, orange, etc). Soaking is to extract the pectin. Dried citrus peel is a raw material for the industrial production of pectin:


              1. re: rworange

                Maybe because I left some of the white bits in there, it thickened up enough. The recipe called for removing all of the white membrane and pith, then slivering the peels and returning that to the pulp and juice. The white is supposed to get bitter, but I like that so I left some in.

                1. re: mlgb

                  Ok, I figured this out thanks with some assist.

                  I did wind up 'recycling' the first batch ... I made strawberry & orange marmelade gelatin. It was quite delicious.

                  However, it bugged me so I started again. Here's what my theory is ... and I could have salvaged that first batch had i known ....

                  The sugar is to create a simple syrup. The pectin in the fruit jells that syrup.

                  I got away using a 2 to 1 ration of fruit to sugar ... 1 cup of fruit to 1/2 cup of sugar.

                  Actually, I tried using 1/4 cup, but that turned out too syrup-y. So I just added 1/4 cup more sugar, brought it to a boil again and simmered for a while until the right consisancy was created.

                  I might have been able to have reduced the liquid with only 1/4 cup, by boiling off some of the liquid, but I didn't want to play too much with this batch.