Orange Cranberry Marmalade

Well, it’s been six months since my last Ferbering, the bitch-slap that Fate likes to hand me now and then for daring to question the Queen of Confitures. I suppose it was about time, and I know it is all just payback for claiming that her jams are too sweet (philistine) or, even worse, not safe for canning (Mon Dieu!), but publishing a marmalade recipe with no added water just to get back at me? De trop, Madame. De trop.

Remember me looking for cranberry recipes? Well, I was specifically hoping for a cranberry marmalade: Marisa has one, but I was looking for something more about the citrus, with just an accent of cranberry; Madeline Bullwinkle has one in Gourmet Preserves, but it is a ‘quick’ version, full of all sorts of finicky finagling with the fruit to make up for the time you didn’t spend letting it sit, unattended, in a bowl in the fridge. If I had been paying better attention, I would have noticed that nearly all traditional marmalade recipes include water and lots of it. But, instead, knowing that I prefer the texture of a marmalade that has had a chance to sit and ponder the meaning of life, safely ensconced in the fridge for a few days, I opened up Mes Confitures and turned to the first marmalade recipe I saw: Clementine Marmalade (which in Googling around to find you the recipe, I realize that Julia has made. Hers turned out perfectly, natch, so I can’t even blame it on the recipe. But I will. Oh, I will.)

Long story short? Because I find Ferber jams way (way) too sweet, I always cut the sugar down, which means I always have a higher fruit:syrup ratio and need to try to add back in some liquid, and often some pectin, to adjust. While I did add an extra cup of orange juice, and used liquid apple pectin, I should have added water (or more juice, or wine, or something) when I saw the syrup disappearing rather than, say, gelling. But I just added a bit more sugar, and a bit more pectin, to try to get to 220 degrees F and the gel stage. So, at the end of the day, I have six jars of candied orange peel with cranberries: crammed into jars and water-bath preserved. Candy in a jar! (Say it with enough enthusiam and I can almost pretend that I meant to do that.)

Basic marmalade procedure adapted from Clementine Marmalade in Mes Confitures by Christine Ferber


Orange Cranberry Marmalade


  • 2 lbs organic oranges (about 4 medium), well scrubbed (I used navel oranges)
  • 2 cups water (optional, but recommended)
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • juice of 2 small lemons (a generous 1/3 cup)
  • 1 and 1/2 lbs (3 cups) raw sugar (organic turbinado)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 lb (2 heaping cups) organic cranberries, picked through, rinsed and sliced in half (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup apple pectin stock


  1. Day 1. Slice the blossom and stem ends off of each orange and discard. Slice the oranges in thin rounds, slice rounds in half, then slice each half into sections (I get about 8 pieces per half, but I like my pieces of peel fairly small). Reserve any seeds. Transfer sliced orange and any juices to a large stockpot or Dutch oven.
  2. Add water, orange and lemon juices, sugar and salt to the orange slices. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Stir in cranberry halves, then transfer mixture to a heat-safe bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Day 2. Tip the fruit mixture into your preserving pan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occassionally. Remove from heat, return to the bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
  4.  Day 3. Prepare canner, jars & lids.
  5. Tip fruit mixture into preserving pan. Add apple pectin and bring to a boil over medium-high to high heat. Boil vigorously, stirring only to ensure that the marmalade is not sticking/burning, until you’ve reached the gel stage: 220 degrees F on an accurate thermometer, or a small dollop placed on a frozen plate wrinkles when you push it after 1 minute of freezer storage. Ladle hot marmalade into hot, sterilized jars to 1/4-inch headspace. Push marmalade down well with the handle of a wooden spoon or chopstick to remove any air bubbles; wipe lids, affix rims, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Yields about 5 cups.


  1. As usual when I use the Ferber method, I had too much fruit and not enough syrup, therefore the marmalade was very low on spreadable jelly and very high in packed fruit pieces (i.e., candy-in-a-jar!).  Additional sugar would help this problem; adding water, more juice, or other liquid may also help. Frozen OJ concentrate might be a good option.
  2. A sweetish white wine, like a Riseling or fruity white Burgundy, would make a nice addition and would help with the problem of not enough syrup.
  3. Although I was going for a subtle cranberry pop, rather than a fruit-forward cranberry flavor, the cranberries are a little lost in the dense orange peel candy. If I tried this again, I would increase to 1 lb cranberries.


Canned, in a cool dark spot, for up to 1 year. Refrigerated for up to 1 month.




  1. Nancy

    I love adding wine to anything. Riesling used to be my fave for cooking off, or drinking… but I have a new favorite that just happens to come in a convenient 4-pack of mini bottles, perfect for dedicating one to a batch of marmalade. It’s called Moscato and its made by Sutter Home. Sweet with a touch of tang. I think a sweet red might work in this case as well, since its obviously not a light-colored marmalade. My choice for sweet reds is Lambrusco. Dang it, now I’m craving a glass of wine!

  2. Shae

    Well, I can see how you have to work to dig into it, but it actually looks quite yummy, Kaela. You know, I have made this clementine marm recipe a whole bunch of times, and this year I was meditating on why I, too, ended up with chewy clementine candy in a jar. It’s because last year I had the good sense to look at the mixture and see that it was lacking water. I added extra. Also, in the comments on Julia’s blog, it was suggested that it would be okay to soak for only two nights and not three. I tried that and found that leaving out a soak really affected the texture and not in a good way. I am, like you, a marmalade traditionalist. A great marmalade takes time! (And water.) 🙂

  3. The flavor really is quite good; it’s just like… candy. (In. A. Jar!) 🙂

    I really don’t understand these ‘quick’ marmalade recipes. Most of them are so much more work; peel of the zest, then cut off and discard the white pith, then chop the fruit, then add back commercial pectin to replace everything you just threw away… when if you just followed the traditional 3-day soak, you get all of your pectin, the pith softens, the bitterness mellows, and really, it’s not like you have to work at it. The hardest thing is finding space in the fridge.

  4. anduin

    I’ve been wanting to do a grapefruit cranberry marmalade because that’s what I have a lot of right now. After some thought, I decided to do more of an orange cranberry marmalade with a little bit of grapefruit to give it an extra something. Learning from you, I made a version of this that turned out quite good. The ingredient ratios are below:
    2 lbs oranges/grapefruit (4 oranges, 1 grapefruit) = 5 cups
    5 cups water and some lemon juice
    1 lb cranberries
    2 lbs plus 1/2 cup sugar
    Yield: Just shy of 9 cups
    Unfortunately, it’s a little too set. It’s been a couple years since I made marmalade, so it’s probably my fault (or the fault of my baby who started crying just as it was gelling). I let it sit an extra day after the second day. I guess I wasn’t prepared for the time when it went from not set to kinda set to way over set to come so quickly (plus I was distracted).
    But the color, oh the color! It’s probably the prettiest color of any jam/jelly I’ve ever made, at least since the apple jelly with flecks of red jalapenos. It’s ruby red/coral/lava. The cranberries are almost iridescent.
    I didn’t halve the cranberries, and I don’t think it was necessary. Why did you go through that painful process?
    Finally, the taste. The hubs said it tastes like chewing on a vitamin C drop. The grapefruit gives it that pleasant bitterness but it doesn’t smack you in the face. Actually, I think it may end up being too sweet. I should have held off on the final 1/2 cup sugar. Of course everything will mellow a bit, so it’s a bit hard to tell now.

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