Basic Marmalade Recipe

Citrus grows in abundance throughout the colder months in many countries around the world, and if you have a citrus tree in your garden, you’ll know just how much fruit there can be.

This makes late winter & early spring the perfect time to catch & store energy by making preserves. Marmalade can be made with any citrus fruit, which is why you’ll find so many recipes out there.

Some of our favourite combos include Cumquat & Vanilla, Lemon & Geranium, Blood Orange & Christmas Spices, Mixed Citrus, Bergamot & Gin, Lime & Chilli, and Seville & Whisky.

To keep things simple, we use this basic recipe which allows us to adapt to suit whatever we have on hand. It doesn’t call for measurements because it will change with each batch you make. But don’t worry – the steps tell you how much of everything to add according to your ratios.

Making marmalade is generally a 2-day job, so make sure you set aside enough time before launching in.


– Citrus fruit (always include at least a couple of lemons to help get a Set)
– Water
– Sugar

Method – Day 1

  1. Wash fruit & remove zest from thick-skinned citrus. Peel thin-skinned citrus.
  2. Remove pith from fruit. Compost this.
  3. Slice zest/peel finely. Or coarsely – your preference guides this. Some people simply slice fruit with skin on.
  4. Chop fruit & remove pips.
  5. Combine zest/peel & fruit in large bowl. Cover well with water. Leave overnight.

Method – Day 2

  1. Measure your mixture. Add to a large pot.
  2. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes or until skins are nicely tender.
  3. Add 3/4 as much sugar as there is fruit mixture. Stir in well.
  4. Heat slowly until sugar dissolves, then bring to a rolling boil and keep it there until marmalade reaches a Set. Test for a set by dripping a bit onto a cold plate, waiting til it cools, and seeing if it wrinkles when you poke your finger through it.
  5. Pour marmalade into hot sterilised jars. Seal with sterilised lids while hot.

Store in a cool dark cupboard for potentially years before opening, then in the fridge once you’ve cracked the jar.


* Don’t use copper pots as the acids in the citrus can lightly corrode metal which leads to contamination of your marmalade.

* Adding lemon is important to help marmalade set, as not all citrus fruits have high amounts of pectin in them, even if they are quite sour.

* Some marmalade recipes tell you to warm the sugar before adding it to the fruit. Warming the sugar helps your marmalade reach boiling point quicker, which means you don’t have to cook it for as long. Longer cooking darkens the colour of preserves, so warming the sugar before adding means your marmalade will be a much brighter, light colour. If you’re not too fussed about that and can’t be bothered, don’t do it.

* When you’ve filled all of your jars, there will be some scrappy bits of marmalade left in the pot: scrape it out with a spatula and keep in a little container for adding to drinks. It makes a most excellent ‘solid cordial’, and it goes especially well with a G&T 🙂

Permaculture Principle 2: Catch & store energy; 3: Obtain a yield; 6: Produce no waste

These marmalade recipes might be useful to have stashed when the glut of winter citrus hits!