Blood Orange Marmalade

Blood orange marmalade requires patience but, believe us, it’s absolutely worth it. Blood oranges, navel oranges, and Granny Smith apples come together in a gloriously gorgeous preserve unlike any other you’ve tried.

Blood oranges cut in half and presented in a grid with one whole one.

When I first opened Christine Ferber’s Mes Confitures nearly a decade ago, I was surprised–étonnée, one might say–to find the book filled with fussy measures and overly precise instructions. This was a cookbook written by a home cook from France, a country where an ability to summon something from nothing by playing fast and loose with pantry ingredients is considered a birthright and where summoning elegant menus without mindlessly mimicking recipes to the letter has long been lauded as art.

Yet this lovely book’s uncharacteristic exactness never fails to turn out preserves of the most pristine flavors imaginable. It took only a single batch for me to appreciate Ferber’s less-than-lyrical wording, her unerringly precise amounts, her sweet tooth in terms of preserves, and her knack for selecting substance over style, all of which ensure that my kitchen epiphanies were as memorable as hers. The recipes I cherish most are those whose ingredients have an especially fleeting season, recipes which enable the reader to extend the ephemeral. Clearly, this is an author who knows her audience–perhaps better than they know themselves.–Christine Ferber

LC Delayed Gratification Note

This gem of a winter recipe necessitates patience–and not just in terms of waiting for blood orange season to come around again. It requires resting time on the part of the ingredients. It’s perhaps best undertaken on a weekend when you have a spare moment to actually slow down and revel in what’s perhaps best described as the opposite of immediate gratification–in the best possible way.

☞ Contents

Blood Orange Marmalade

Blood oranges cut in half and presented in a grid with one whole one.
This blood orange marmalade makes the most of a gorgeously fleeting fruit. Blood oranges get bolstered with navel oranges and Granny Smith apples and not much else. Make the most of the short season by preserving those beautiful blood oranges.

Prep 45 mins
Cook 45 mins
Total 1 hr 30 mins
96 servings (2 tablespoons)
57 kcal
5 / 3 votes
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  • 1 3/4 pound Granny Smith apples preferably organic, unpeeled
  • 4 1/8 cups water
  • 2 3/4 pounds blood oranges preferably organic, or 17 ounces blood orange juice
  • 5 2/3 cups sugar (or a touch less if you prefer your marmalade classically tart)
  • 2 navel oranges preferably organic
  • Juice of 1 small lemon


Day One

  • Rinse the apples under cool running water. Remove the stems and cut the apples into quarters without peeling them.
  • Place the apples in a preserving pan or other large, wide pot and cover with 3 1/4 cups of the water. Bring to a full boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 30 minutes. The apples should be soft.
  • Collect the juice by straining the apple mixture into a large bowl, lightly pressing on the apples with the back of a skimmer or a spoon. Discard the solids.
  • Filter the juice a second time by pouring it through cheesecloth that was wet under cool running water and wrung out, letting the juice run freely into a glass container. Refrigerate the juice overnight.

Day Two

  • Measure 2 1/8 cups of the apple juice, leaving in the container the sediment that formed overnight. Discard the remaining juice and sediment.
  • Squeeze the blood oranges, saving any seeds, until you have 2 1/8 cups of juice. Place the seeds in a cheesecloth bag.
  • Rinse and scrub the navel oranges under cool running water. Slice the oranges into very thin rounds.
  • Place the sliced oranges in a preserving pan or other large, wide pot. Add 1 cup of sugar and the remaining 7/8 cup of water and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to medium and gently simmer until the slices are translucent.
  • Add the reserved apple juice, blood orange juice, the remaining 4 2/3 cups of sugar, the lemon juice, and the reserved orange seeds in cheesecloth. Bring to a boil, stirring gently. Skim any foam from the surface. Continue cooking on high heat, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes. Skim again if need be. Remove the cheesecloth with the seeds. Return to a boil. Remove from the heat.
  • Immediately ladle the jam into hot, sterilized jars and seal. Makes about 12 cups.
Print RecipeBuy the Mes Confitures cookbook

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Show Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoonCalories: 57kcal (3%)Carbohydrates: 15g (5%)Protein: 0.2gFat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0.005gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.01gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.004gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 38mg (1%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 14g (16%)Vitamin A: 41IU (1%)Vitamin C: 9mg (11%)Calcium: 7mg (1%)Iron: 0.03mg

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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Mouthwatering puckery goodness in a jar! The word “marmalade” always takes me back to Paddington Bear and is very comforting and cozy. I’ve made other blood orange marmalades but this one stands out. I think it’s because of the apple juice rather than pectin and, of course, the juicy oranges themselves. The recipe tastes like a sunny morning in rural England. It’s a touch sweet for my taste, but then I am inclined toward more tart offerings. Even so, well worth the little extra effort. Thankfully it makes 12 cups of jewel-toned sparkling marmalade, so it isn’t a tiny batch. However, it took 20 minutes of stirring for it to get to the point I felt was sufficient to set rather than the 10 minutes stated in the recipe. Very pretty on the table and even better on the palate—just the thing for warm scones, pancakes, or ice cream.

Originally published January 13, 2012


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. 5 stars
    I’ve now made this several times and it’s always getting raves. I’m aggressive about skimming ‘gunk’ from the top during the boil and I get very clear and brilliant red marmalade. Yes, it’s sweet, so I encourage small dosages. This is not PB&J marmalade.

    I also am a compulsive thermometer jammer and have noted that leads me to cook substantially longer than the recipe. Try it, adapt it, but the Granny Smith and blood Orange combo is the magic here.

    1. Love to hear this, George! And love that you took the time to let us know your experience with it. We so appreciate you and look forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next…

  2. A question about the sugar…

    I was on my way to a gorgeous marmalade but the end product was far too sweet and overwhelmed the orange nuances. I am sure that means I took a wrong turn somewhere… any ideas how this happened? I should also mention that it took the marmalade a long time to set, over 20 min.
    Thanks in advance!


    1. Cara, it is understandable that this has been frustrating for you as you took the time (and patience!) to make this marmalade and it did not turn out as you had hoped. I, too, found it to be a bit sweeter than the more bitter/tart marmalades we are accustomed to. However, I did not find it too sweet for my taste but then the apples I used were very tart as I buy very hard and green Granny Smiths. The blood oranges I used were also quite tart yet very juicy-sweet, if that makes any sense. Did you leave the apples unpeeled? That helps to thicken the marmelade. I also sliced the blood oranges instead of using navel oranges, as that is what I had and thought it would look even more gorgeous. (It did.) The marmalade took nearly 20 minutes to set for me as well but that has sometimes happened in my experience in making preserves–it was very likely not something you did incorrectly. If you did not add too much sugar perhaps the fruit itself was not tart enough. Could this have been the case? Perhaps you missed adding the lemon juice? Hopefully some of this helps.

      1. Thanks for taking the time to write me Brenda! My Granny Smith apples were more on the side of middle-tart, but I did indeed leave them unpeeled, having read that it’s essential to getting more pectin yield. I sliced my blood oranges, too! But maybe next time I will omit the navel and add a lemon. I think you’re right: They key here is to taste the fruit and determine the sweetness. Would reducing the sugar upset the thickening process? Thanks for the help!

        1. My pleasure, Cara. When you’ve made something that is so very good, you just want others to be able to share in it! 🙂 It truly does sound as though you did everything right. Usually reducing sugar in making preserves does affect the process but you know what? Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to add a touch more lemon juice and a bit less sugar as there is a fair amount of pectin in the apples. If that doesn’t work let’s blame the fruit!

          You’ve got me very curious – I want to try it again, too! However, I am away from home at the moment so cannot. If I can still find the oranges I am going to add some liquid pectin and use 1/2 cup less sugar to see whether that might work.

          If you try it again I would love to know the results.

  3. I just made a batch of Blood Orange Marmalade from another recipe but this one looks more amazing! I am so making it this weekend.

  4. A question: ” Ladle into hot sterilized jars and seal.” I can a lot and usually boil jams for 10 minutes or so after ladling them into the jars. Is that what the directions mean? Am I missing something here?

    1. Jam makers in the UK and Europe don’t as a rule process jams in a water bath after sealing. Further processing of jams in a water bath is a North American practice. So Cristine Ferber meant just that… ladle into jars and seal ….. without further processing.

      1. Hi Vivien, thanks for letting us know about the European practices. Has anyone else had first hand experience with this canning method? Me, I tend to rely on the UGA website ( for my canning conundrums.

        1. Vivien and Renee, I only do that with tiny batches such as 1 or 2 jars that I know will be eaten in a few months. I did not realize this is what Europeans generally do and am fascinated by that. I like that you’ve been doing this so successfully as your mother and grandmother have. You know what? You’ve inspired me to use this method with my next batches of preserves and pickles. Thank you so much for posting. It is an extra good day when you learn something new!

        2. Couldn’t resist. I have jammed (fruit, of course) most of my adult life without the use of a water bath, following the practices of my mother, grandmother, and Mrs. Beaton. I have in the past 10 or so years not sealed the jars with wax (hot wax on top of the hot jam makes a seal and allowed the use of jars other than the ball or mason jars we use today). I happen to have Cristine Ferber’s book MES CONFITURES and in it on p. 7 you will find her instructions “As soon as the jam has finished cooking, I fill the jars, using the small ladle and the jam funnel. I fill them right up to the top. Any drips should be carefully wiped off. I close the jars while they are hot and turn them upside down. Wait until they are cool to put the labels and then put them in a cool, dry place out of the light.”

          1. Many thanks, Vivien. Just the sort of confirmation we were seeking! We admit, we tweaked Cristine Ferber’s directions in the marmalade, being mindful of all the food safety knuckle-rapping going on here in the states. But perhaps we’ll give this upside-down approach a try. It sounds rather right-side up to us…

  5. Blood oranges are a welcome burst of color in the wintertime. I made this recipe over the weekend, keeping in mind your delayed gratification note! It turned out wonderfully, despite the fact that I didn’t get enough juice from my apples and added water to make up the difference. Also, I loved the look of the whole orange rounds in the finished marmalade, but I think I would consider smaller pieces next time. Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe.

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