A Few Notes: • Start this process the day before you plan to cook and can your jars of marmalade. • This recipe relies upon natural pectins found in the citrus seeds to create the jelly-like consistency. If you are using seedless mandarins like we did, adding powdered pectin during the cooking process may be necessary. In Step 6 and 9 below, we will help you decide whether or not to add the powdered pectin. • Prep time listed is mostly waiting for the seeds to soak overnight to release their natural pectins. Active prep time is 1 to 2 hours to process the fruits.
- 4½ pounds mandarin oranges
- 2 lemons
- 1 quart water, divided
- 3½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ up to 1 tablespoon of powdered pectin (if necessary)
- Wash the mandarin oranges and lemons very well in warm water.
- Cut the mandarin oranges and lemons in half and squeeze out all of the juices in a bowl. Place any seeds in a small bowl with about ½ a cup of the water (you will be soaking the seeds overnight to release their natural pectins). Place the peels in another bowl.
- Once you’ve squeezed out all of the juices, take each peel and remove any remaining pulp and empty segments, then use a sharp knife and scrape off as much of the white pith from the inside of the peel. (Like the original recipe we adapted, the method that worked best for us was to cut each half peel in half (to make a quarter) and flatten it, then we scraped the pith with a sharp knife from the middle of the peel to each tip. You can do this process with the lemon peels if you wish, or just the mandarin peels.
- Once the pith is removed, slice the peels into thin julienne strips. As you cut the strips, place them into a large, heavy-bottomed pot.
- Add the reserved juice and the remaining water to the pot with the cut peels. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Cover the bowl with the seeds in water and allow them to soak overnight at room temperature.
- In the morning, strain the seeds from the water – keeping the seeds and also reserving the liquid as you strain the seeds. (NOTE: If that liquid is thick and gelatinous – then you likely will not need to add any powdered pectin to your cooked marmalade. If there is no noticeable thickening of the liquid, the powdered pectin will probably be necessary in Step 9 below.) Add the liquid (thick and gelatinous or not) to the pot with the peels, juices and water. Tie the seeds into a pouch of clean cheesecloth. Add the pouch to the pot with peels, juice and water.
- Bring the pot of peels, juices and water to a boil over medium high heat. Once the mixture boils, use a large spoon to remove the foam that rises to the top. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the mixture reduces by half (a great tip is to dip the end of a wooden spoon into the mixture to note the original liquid level and use that as your gauge) – stirring occasionally. (For us, this took about an hour or so but depending on the size of your pot, it could take longer.)
- While the mixture reduces, start a big pot of water to sterilize your jars, lids and canning tools. (See here for expert advice on preparation for canning.) Our batch of this Mandarin Marmalade made 5 one-cup jars but that yield could be more or less depending on the size of your oranges.
- At this point, you’ll need to test if adding the powdered pectin is necessary. To test – place a spoonful of the reduced mixture on a saucer and chill it in the freezer for a few minutes but do not freeze it completely. Then use your wooden spoon and “draw” a line through the mixture. If it wrinkles, additional pectin isn’t necessary. If it is still orange liquid, you may want to add the additional pectin like we did.
- Still at medium heat, add the pectin to the hot mixture and stir until it dissolves. Then add the sugar, stirring to dissolve, then cook for 20 minutes more. You should notice that the marmalade is starting to thicken up a bit.
- Once the 20 minutes have passed, remove the marmalade from the heat, remove the seed bundle, and ladle into your prepared jars. Process for 10 minutes using the water bath method.