Satsuma Marmalade Recipe
This holiday season has been a particularly good one for me. It’s the first time in probably forever that I’m working from home and able to spend more time on making things for Christmas instead of just buying things for people. My greatest accomplishment on that front has been this satsuma marmalade recipe. I ended up making 24 half pint jars and gained a lot of jam making experience in the process. Plus it’s rather tasty, which is always a good thing.
In theory, making jam/marmalade is fairly easy. Clean fruit, combine with sugar, heat, can, process, done. And it’s not that it’s NOT that easy, it’s just that is a bit challenging. The prep work is easy enough, but the cooking is where the challenges lie. For instance, my stove does not produce a flame that’s hot enough to reach 223 ºF, which is needed for this recipe to set without pectin. So I used pectin, and boy did it set. Let’s take a step back and talk through this whole recipe and see what’s what.
Satsumas are the main fruit base for this marmalade. In Southern Louisiana, we have an abundance of citrus, especially satsumas. Satsumas are very similar to clementine oranges – they are both types of mandarin oranges. They’re easy to peel and generally very sweet. They do typically contain a couple of seeds per fruit. If you live in an area where satsumas aren’t available, you can substitute clementines in this recipe.
I also had Meyer lemons on hand so I used those in place of regular lemons in this recipe. Meyer lemons are very special lemons – they are actually a cross between a true lemon and a mandarin or an orange. This means it was made to be included in satsuma marmalade! Meyer lemons also have a much thinner skin than normal lemons and tend to be sweeter. They’re perfect for desserts.
While we’re only using the juice of the Meyer lemon, we actually will be using most of the satsuma. When peeling the satsumas, keep the rinds. Once you’ve got them peeled, thinly slice the rind and measure out two cups of it. Discard remaining rind. The only thing you’re removing from the satsumas otherwise are the seeds and any stringy connective fruit tissue.
Below is my bowl of satsuma segments before and after a few pulses in the food processor. We do use all of the pith and skin surrounding each segment. All of that cooks down in the jam making process and is really what thickens the jam, the natural pectin providers. So do not be frightened of putting all that skin into your marmalade, you’ll need it.
The rest of the recipe is mainly water, sugar and some spices. Don’t be afraid of the sheer volume of sugar here. It’s marmalade, which means it’s going to be sweet. I’ve added ground ginger, cardamom and vanilla extract to give the marmalade extra flavor dimensions.
First though, the citrus and water are combined and simmered for 40 minutes – before the sugar and spices. This helps the tough casings on the fruit cook down and helps prepare the marmalade base for the next step, which is actually turning this into jam. The mixture is brought back up to a boil, THEN you can add the sugar and spices. That needs to cook for another 20-30 minutes at a rolling boil, until the temperature reaches 223 ºF.
So, why 223 ºF? That is the magic number dictated by the recipe I adapted, and it’s definitely a temperature you’ll need to hit for the jam to set. That’s right before you get into the candy-making range on the thermometer and just where the sugar and pectin need to get to set up properly. If your stove just won’t get up to 223 ºF, you can always whisk in pectin to help your marmalade set up. That will certainly do the trick if nature isn’t able to help out.
Finally let’s talk a little about canning. If you’re making this recipe, it’s going to make quite a bit of marmalade so I’ll assume you’re going to be canning this. You can use a water bath to can since it’s a high acidity food item. If you’re not familiar with canning, please educate yourself beforehand and make sure you have all the proper equipment. The National Center for Home Food Preservation has great tips and ideas on their website. Definitely check it out.
Alrighty, now that you wanna make some marmalade, let’s get to the recipe!
Satsuma Marmalade Recipe
This satsuma marmalade recipe feature juicy satsumas, Meyer lemons, cardamom, ginger and vanilla. Perfect for toast, scones or thumbprint cookies.
- 2 pounds satsumas
- 1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
- 6 cups water
- 3 pounds, 12 ounces granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Optional: 1/2 package pectin
- Peel the satsumas and keep the rinds. Once all the satsumas are peeled, julienne the rinds until you have 2 cups of thinly sliced rind. Set aside for now.
- Take the peeled satsumas and cut each carefully section of fruit in half to make removing seeds easier. When removing the seeds, be sure to do it over a mixing bowl or you will lose a lot of the juice.
- Once the seeds are removed, add the pulp to a food processor and pulse 5 times to break up the pith.
- In a large pot over medium high heat, add the water, lemon juice, julienned peeling and processed satsuma pulp. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 40 minutes until fruit is broken down and mixture is thickened.
- After about 40 minutes, bring the mixture back up to a boil then add the sugar, ginger, cardamom and vanilla extract. Stir very often until mixture reaches about 223 ºF. This may take up to another 30 minutes. If your mixture can't quite reach 223 ºF, then use half a package of pectin to thicken.
- While the marmalade is cooking, sterilize jars in a water bath. This means submerging the jars in simmering water in a large pot lined with a jar rack. Keep in water for 5 minutes then carefully pull out with tongs and set on a clean work space.
- Once the marmalade is done, carefully scoop the marmalade into the sterilized jars leaving 1/2" of head space, seal with lids and return to water bath. Allow to simmer 10 more minutes then remove from water bath.
- Place them on a dishtowel or counter upside down and allow to cool for several hours up to overnight. If any lids don't "pop" and seal, place those jars in the fridge. The others can be stored at room temperature for up to six months.
Unfortunately, yield varies by a wide amount. Not 100% sure why either.
Adaped from Alton Brown's Recipe.
Cook:1 hour 45 min
Total:2 hours 15 min