orange marmalade for Christmas

by Sharon Santoni


Now I know that we are only a fortnight away from the big day, and we all say how busy we are but, IMHO, it’s when things get really busy that we can always squeeze in one extra little bit of fun.

Which is why this week I made a batch of marmalade, and I thought that as well as giving you the recipe, you may like to see how you can fit making this delicious treat into your already hectic routine, and even dress the pots up to give as a few little hostess gifts during the holiday period.


First of all you’re going to be out shopping some time this week, so remember to buy:  a couple of organic grapefruit, four organic lemons and four organic oranges.  The organic bit I insist upon, because the best bit about marmalade are the chunks of fruit with their skin, and really, we do not want to eat fruit that has been sprayed with nasty chemicals!

And while you are buying the fruit, remember to pick up a big bag of sugar too.  6 lb should do it.

In the evening, while you are chatting to your husband/children/best friend/yourself, and as your evening meal is cooking, just grab a chopping board and the fruit that you have washed.    Slice all the fruit into small pieces (keep the pips or seeds to one side) and drop them into a big saucepan or preserving pan, measuring the fruit into a bowl as you go, because you’ll need to add three times as much water as fruit to the pan.   Tie the pips/seeds into a muslin and hang them from the handle of the pot so they are dangling in the water and fruit.  Cover with a lid or a big sheet of tin foil.


Now you can have your dinner and you don’t have to worry about the fruit until the next day.

Next day, late afternoon, set the pot to heat.  You don’t have to stand beside it and watch it come to the boil, or stir, just bring it to the boil then let it simmer away for two hours.  You’d like this to happen about three hours before your supper.

This is the moment when you will thank me for suggesting you make marmalade, because your whole house will smell divine!   Cooking citrus fruit really does smell like Christmas!

Next step, retrieve the muslin bag with the pips then weigh how much fruit and liquid there is in your pot.  I use a second saucepan and a big bowl for this.   Return the fruit to your preserving pan with the its own weight in sugar.   Heat gently until all the sugar has dissolved then turn up the heat and boil rapidly until set.

The ideal is to have a couple of saucers in your fridge or freezer, and when you think it is nearly sets, drop a spoonful onto the cold saucer and push gently with your finger.  If the surface of the marmalade ‘crinkles’ slightly then you are done!


Turn off the heat, sit down and enjoy your dinner, all the time feeling like a saint because you have actually made enough totally delicious marmalade to keep you, your family and a couple of friends happy for a while to come.

The marmalade will cool a little while you eat, and when you are ready you can simply ladle it into your clean (preferably warm) jam jars.  My trick for having the jam jars and lids squeaky clean and warm is to pop them into the dishwasher while the jam is cooking.  The end of the cycle should pretty much coincide with the marmalade being ready.

Make sure all the lids are perfectly dry then simply place one on top of each full jam jar.   Let them cool over night, and the next morning while your tea or coffee  is brewing simply tighten the lids, stick on some pretty labels, and store in a cool dry place until required.



Vicky from Athens December 12, 2020 - 12:10 pm

Thank you Sharon for another wonderful recipe! My mouth is watering as I look at your pictures! I’ll get the fruit and sugar today and make marmalade over the weekend. I was already planning to stay in and make chocolate peanut clusters for gifts so I may as well make marmalade, too. I always love your recipes – thanks for sharing.

Delaine December 12, 2020 - 12:12 pm

Sharon, you truly make even the simple things in life an event and so special! Can’t tell you enough how much I admire you and your endless talent …. And you do it with such grace and class. It’s on my bucket list to get to meet you in person one day! Now that would be a treat! Joyeux Noel!!

Mary Baynes/Indiana December 12, 2020 - 12:14 pm

Sounds wonderful! Look forward to trying out your recipe…….Thanks!

AgnesBaboo December 12, 2020 - 12:17 pm

Many thanks for sharing this original recipe ! I’ll do my shopping tomorrow !

Little digression : diaeresis ¨ is on the “e”, not on the “o” = Noël / NOËL

Leslie December 13, 2020 - 12:38 am

So beautiful! One question, is there a type of orange that works better than others? Naval? Juice oranges? Thank you!

Dorothée December 13, 2020 - 11:17 pm

Oui, merci pour la correction pour le mot Noël !

lissy parker December 12, 2020 - 12:17 pm

Sharon, Thank you for making it all so fun and easy. I am headed to the market for oranges now—can’t wait for that lovely smell to fill the house.
xo, lissy

Miss Diane December 12, 2020 - 2:10 pm

Hum.., je sens déjà l’odeur dans ma maison! Merci pour cette belle suggestion Sharon.

P.S. I was to point out the same that AgnesBaboo dit about the “trémas” on the “e” and not on the “o”… lol French is not easy…

Sharon Santoni December 12, 2014 - 4:23 pm

J’ai beau avoir vécu super longtemps en France Diane, ce fichu tréma me piège à chaque fois!


Vicky from Athens December 12, 2020 - 2:11 pm

Well, the fruit is bought, prepared and soaking! I had no idea it would take such a huge pot! This recipe will make lots and I can’t wait to taste it – orange marmalade is my favorite – and have plenty to give as gifts!

Jeanne McKay Hartmann December 12, 2020 - 2:14 pm

Love this Sharon – not just a how-to, but a how to make time. Perfect. I can imagine the smell of citrus filling the house, mixing with the evergreen. Thanks for reminding me to take the time for a little homemade love this holiday season! XOXO

Eileen December 12, 2020 - 2:20 pm

This is a wonderful treat to make or receive! It reminds me of my Grandmother. She always made her own orange marmalade and I always loved eating it. I still have her handwritten recipe stowed away. Thank you for sharing this lovely treat!

Marlene Stephenson December 12, 2020 - 4:19 pm

Thank you for sharing this recipe, sounds great, have a good day.

Lorrie December 12, 2020 - 4:37 pm

This sounds so very good and I can just imagine the scent filling the air. Wonderful!

Karena December 12, 2020 - 4:45 pm

Sharon, this is a delightful treat for family and friends! Plus personally I love marmalade!! Thank you!

The Arts by Karena

Madonna/aka/Ms. Lemon December 12, 2020 - 5:33 pm

We should all cook like the French. It becomes easy when you give the ratio. Your photos are always wonderful, but this post is outstanding.


Emm December 12, 2020 - 6:05 pm

This sounds wonderful. Do you know if you can use unrefined sugar, or must it be the white kind?

Sharon Santoni December 12, 2014 - 6:38 pm

HI Emm, honestly I have never tried using unrefined sugar for jam making …. maybe another reader will know ?! thank you for asking



Emm December 13, 2014 - 2:36 am

OK. Maybe I’ll try it both ways, see what happens.

This may solve several gift-giving questions, so Merci.

sheri levitt December 12, 2020 - 6:43 pm

It’s the obvious pleasure and passion that stands out in all that you do which is the most inspiring………………………..

kimwithak December 12, 2020 - 7:34 pm

Thank you for sharing such an thoughtful post on marmalade making and gorgeous photos too. I just bought a very expensive jar of pink grapefruit marmalade yesterday as a Christmas treat but I’m going to make yours as well!

I collect all your recipes and enjoy your blog immensely.

Nettie December 12, 2020 - 9:23 pm

Lovely idea! Thanks so much Sharon!

BC December 13, 2020 - 8:14 am

Thank you for sharing. Every winter I prepare orange marmalade (coming from MY tree) but never thought to mix all 3 fruits together. I close the jars with the lids when the jam is still hot. Then, I immediately turn them over and they cool when they are upside down. This way the jars are hermetically sealed better, especially if a large quantity is prepared that will suffice beyond the holiday season. Wishing you and your family a merry Christmas and a happy new year from Israel !

Nancy December 13, 2020 - 2:23 pm

Funny you should post about Marmalade! I am posting this AM about Lime Marmalade!
Our lime tree this year was very happy and gave us so many limes! So, we made marmalade…and other things….
Merry Christmas to you!

Deborah December 13, 2020 - 2:30 pm

I will be making this soon! I love the tags….did you make them? Are the stamps available?

Barbara December 17, 2020 - 7:36 am

Which fruit taste predominates?

I see in the jars that you have slivers of the outer peel ( no pith)
When do you add that and how much?

Looks lovely.

Colleen Taylor December 13, 2020 - 2:39 pm

I almost missed looking at this post but I’m so thrilled I now have a new recipe here Sharon! What a great idea & my absolute favorite of all marmalades! Thank you, can’t wait to try this. X

El bocado de la huerta December 14, 2020 - 3:10 pm

Que fantástica la mermelada de naranja.
Vestiste muy chulos los tarros.
Un saludito

Cathy C December 15, 2020 - 2:13 am

Sharon: your timing is excellent. My mother in law’s tree is loaded with oranges as the citrus came early this year due to our very warm fall in Southern California. Can’t wait to make this and give it as gifts. Thank you Sharon.

Sophia Home December 15, 2020 - 8:26 am

I can almost smell this now Sharon! What pretty labels too…. I love making home made presents and you have inspired me with this lovely recipe!

Wishing you and your family a very Joyeux Noel….or as we say in our ‘Swenglish’ household ‘God Jul’!

Sophia xx

Margaret December 16, 2020 - 12:36 am

I have a question on the water as well. I put 3x as much water as fruit, and it is way too much water. I will have a nice syrup in the end that my daughter is excited to use to soak cakes. Can you give us an example of how much cut fruit to how much water you end up using for a recipe? Thank you.

Kathleen December 16, 2020 - 3:02 am

The fruit is simmering divided in my two largest pots- I am worried about the amount of water I added – 3x as much as fruit?? I had 12 cups of fruit so 36C of water???
Hope that it reduces during the simmering????
Please reassure me!!

stacey snacks December 16, 2020 - 5:41 pm

Your orange marmalade looks beautiful!
Wish I lived closer so we could exchange food presents!

Jayne December 17, 2020 - 4:50 pm

Orange marmalade – husband’s favorite! But the oranges our neighbor bestowed on us from his fruit trees are, alas, all eaten. Next year!

Rosemarie December 17, 2020 - 6:37 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe. I made it as your recipe stated but i have one question please………….after adding your sugar in and boiling rapidly mine did not thicken too much but is absolutely delicious. Is this the way it should be? It’s still runny but absolutely delicious. Wonderful taste.

Aeryn Watts December 18, 2020 - 1:31 pm

I really liked your post. Thanks for sharing!
Keep for sharing!

Giftbasketworldwide December 19, 2020 - 7:31 am

What a Fantastic Post!! Love your work.

Franca December 19, 2020 - 11:08 pm

That you for the recipe! Is it possible to substitute the grapefruit with another fruit? I take meds that would interact with grapefruit. thanks

Gail Y. Bennett July 21, 2021 - 6:27 am

I’m sharing this post with my Christmas Tea guests ( we gather every first Saturday in December) as a Christmas in July treat! Really pleased to have revisited this post.
Happy Christmas in July’s!

Gail Y. Bennett July 21, 2021 - 6:29 am

I’m sharing this post with my Christmas Tea guests ( we gather every first Saturday in December) as a Christmas in July treat! Really pleased to have revisited this post.
Happy Christmas in JULY!

Dawer December 22, 2023 - 5:18 pm

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