Sunday, March 4, 2012

Orange Bourbon Marmalade

A few years ago I tasted some marmalade at my mom's house, and realized I never really gave the stuff a chance. It's delicious! Since berries are out of season now but oranges are plentiful, it's a great time to make a batch.

As I mentioned yesterday, when we were in Ireland we found that a lot of the traditional marmalades were made with whiskey. Most of the ones we tried had too strong of an alcohol flavor for my liking, though, so I wanted to create one that had the traditional flavors without being overpowering. This recipe is it. It's not too bitter, not too sweet and has a really nice warmth and balance to it. You can store it in the fridge for up to three weeks, or if you can it, the jars will last for about a year in the pantry.

Start by washing your fruit. If you don't have organic citrus, wash the fruit with a pesticide produce wash since you'll be using the skin in the jam.

Peel the zest from the oranges and lemons with a vegetable peeler and chop it up. Then remove all the white pith and seeds from the fruit and chop the fruit into chunks; save any juice that leaks out.

 Cook the peels until they release their essential oils and flavor, then add the fruit and juice, sugar and bourbon. Cook for a while and then add pectin (a natural product made from apples, which helps set jams and jellies).

Once it's cooked, ladle it into hot jars (make sure the jars are not cold, or the hot sugar could crack the glass). A funnel helps when filling the jars. You can put the marmalade in the fridge to use at this point, but if canning it to store throughout the year, process the jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Spread on toast and enjoy!

Orange Bourbon Marmalade

Makes 6 cups

3 large oranges
2 lemons
1 pouch liquid pectin*
1 1/2 cups water
1/8 tsp. baking soda
5 cups sugar (you can use less sugar if you get the Low Sugar Pectin, but it's hard to find it during the winter months)
1/4 cup bourbon (I used Maker's Mark)

*Check the sugar amounts listed on your pectin package, as the required amount of sugar may change based on the brand of pectin you buy.

Remove the zest from the oranges and lemons with a vegetable peeler; chop and set aside. Peel and discard the white part of the peel from the fruit, and then cut the segments away from the membranes (the goal is to have citrus segments with very little white pith and no seeds). Chop the fruit, reserving any juice that leaks out; set aside.

Place the peels, water and baking soda in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the fruit and fruit juice; simmer 10 minutes. Add the sugar all at once and stir to combine, and then add the bourbon. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in the pectin quickly, return to a full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with a metal spoon and ladle into storing containers. Marmalade may take up to two weeks to fully set, but it is edible right away.

If canning the marmalade: Ladle the marmalade quickly into hot, sanitized jars (either hot from the dishwasher or resting in boiling water), filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims. Cover with lids, screw bands tightly and boil in a water canner for 10 minutes. Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches and be sitting on a rack so they do not touch the bottom of the pot. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool; after they cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger (if lid springs back, lid is not sealed and you must refrigerate the jar). Let stand at room temp for 24 hours.


  1. i've always wanted to 'can' something, but the boiling part worried me that i wouldn't do it right. you've motivated me...might have to try it out :)

    1. You should definitely try it! It's not hard once you get the hang of it. I'm also planning to do a post on canning equipment and safety, so that'll be up soon :) Feel free to give me a buzz if you have any questions!

  2. I made this recipe for several years now I make it both with bourbon and without. But I use the low sugar powdered pectin instead of liquid pectin because for some reason it doesn't set well with the liquid pectin period usually making it as double batches and using 6 cups of sugar instead of 5 for each batch.

    1. Thanks for your feedback! Good to know about the liquid pectin. I'm glad you like it!

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