Sunshine in a Jar — Make your own Marmalade!

This is the very best way to cheer up a grey day. It truly is sunshine in a jar, and any marmalade maker will tell you that homemade marmalade is sooo much better than anything store bought. So I thought this was our year to give it a try.  I will not sell this as a super easy project, but it is a super fun, rewarding, and delicious one. It is a delight for the senses — the scents, the colour, and the taste. A recipe to cure any winter blues!

Marmalade it is a citrus fruit preserve (unlike jams which can be made from almost any fruit or vegetable) made from the Seville orange. Most UK marmalades are prepared from the Seville or bitter orange (Citrus aurantium), which is normally only available to fruit producers in January and February. 

Marmalade typically consists of the fruit peel, sugar and water.  Marmalade’s characteristic bitter flavour comes from the bitterness of the peel. Orange marmalade uses the flesh and peels from oranges and lemons to make a citrus fruit preserve. Thin cut versus thick cut marmalade is based completely on the amount of chopping of the peel. 

Packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and iron too, some say that there could be up to 20 times more antioxidants in 1g of marmalade than in a standard glass of orange juice. If you needed an excuse. 🙂

I used a great Seville Orange Marmalade recipe from a grandma, and chef, Prue Leith. Don’t grannies always know these things best? We recommend starting this on a Saturday morning, so you can finish it by Sunday and eat it for breakfast on Monday… but that is just my tip. The smell is divine, it will instantly cheer up your home from the minute you begin chopping to the time when you are pouring this stickiness into jars. And it is very sticky. Which is very fun!

And if you really want a full marmalade experience, which we did, then watch Paddington the film as a family and join in the marmalade theme. It is such a delightful movie. And every family should have a marmalade day! (see the movie for the clue)

Smother some toasted bread with butter, or even a crumpet, and join the brown bear from the deepest, darkest Peru in his love of marmalade. And enjoy! But first… the recipe…

Sunshine in A Jar — Seville Orange Marmalade


-1 kg Seville oranges
-2 lemons
-3 pints water
-1.5 kg preserving sugar
-2 tbs black treacle


  1. Cut the oranges and lemons in half and roughly squeeze them into a large bowl. (Do not bother to extract all the juice: squeezing is done simply to make removing the pips easier.)
  2. Remove the pips and tie them up in a piece of muslin.
  3. Slice the skins of the oranges and lemons, finely or in chunks as required, (we did finely) and add them to the juice with the bag of pips and the water. Leave to soak for 24hours of time — this softens them and means less time cooking later on.
  4. Transfer to a preserving pan or large saucepan and simmer gently until the orange rind is soft and transparent-looking (about 2 hours). Remove the bag of pips and place the bag in a sieve. Using a wooden spoon, press any liquid from the bag back into the marmalade.
  5. Tip the sugar and treacle into the orange pulp. Stir well while bringing the mixture slowly to the boil.
  6. Once the sugar and treacle have dissolved, boil rapidly until setting point is reached (106°C /222°F — we used a digital meat thermometer. This may take as long as 20 minutes, but usually less. Test after 5 minutes and then again at 3-minute intervals.
  7. Sterilise the jam jars while you are boiling the marmalade in the oven at 160 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes with empty glass jars. You can leave the lids in boiling water for a few minutes to sterilise.
  8. Allow jam to cool for 10 mins, then pour into warmed, dry and sterilised jars.
  9. Cover with jam covers and leave for 24 hours. Label and store in a cook, dark, airy place.

If you need any help, this is a great round up article on how to understand the process of jam and preserve making.

It was such a great activity. My son was so proud of it he brought it into school to share with all 60 nursery students! And we are saving some jars of marmalade to give as Valentine’s Day gifts. An alternative, but very sweet gift indeed.



ps Other favourite breakfasts we love to make from scratch are this rice pudding, our grain-free granola, and these very yummy blackberry cream cheese pastries.


Comments (4)

January 30, 2020

Hi Lara, looks great! Can I just check when the juice etc is left for 24 hours should it be refrigerated during that stage? Thank you!

Lara in London
January 30, 2020

Hello Harriet, Thanks for your note. It does not need to be refrigerated… it is basically a marinade. I should note that I put a tea towel over the top of the bowl just to keep any dust out or curious little hands. 🙂

Shannon in NYC
January 31, 2020

I must confess marmalade has never been my favorite, but perhaps that’s because I’ve never made it myself! You’ve piqued my interest and these photos are gorgeous. We may have to have a go at it one of these wintry weekends if I can find the right oranges 🙂

Lara in London
February 6, 2020

Hope the Seville orange hunt is a success. Homemade marmalade is such a delightful addition to any breakfast table! x

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