A perfectly balanced marmalade highlighting the wonderful taste of ripe mandarins. Delicious for breakfast, grilled meats, cheese courses or in desserts, a jar of this sweet, tangy marmalade makes a great gift too.
When you have neighbours that spoil you all year round with their fresh garden produce, it feels like winning the lottery! We were recently gifted freshly snipped mandarins from their tree, which were perfect for making this delicious marmalade!
Like all citrus fruits, mandarins contain a large amount of pectin, especially in their skin. For that reason there is no jam making sugar needed for this recipe. The addition of kaffir lime leaves and triple sec make it even more special.
I admit, there is a bit of work to do beforehand but the mandarin marmalade or jam is cooked in 1 hour, consists of only 5 ingredients, and you can eat it straight away!
Mandarin marmalade is a recipe, best prepared during mandarin season, the fresher the fruit, the better.
Other points to consider:
- preferably choose organic mandarins since the skin has not been treated with pesticides. The skin is an important ingredient for this recipe
- there are hundreds of mandarin varieties, most common ones are clementine's and tangerines, there are even seedless ones like satsuma
- choose fruits that are heavy for their size and unblemished
- if you have a mandarin tree, pick them as soon as they turn orange. If you leave the ripened mandarins hanging for too long, they loose their taste.
What you need
Mandarins should only be bought when fresh. They are in season from November to January in North America and Europe and April to October in Australia.
Lemons add acidity to the rather sweet marmalade.
Kaffir lime leaves adds an exotic, citrusy flavour. Can be replaced with lemongrass, lime or lemon zest.
Sugar no jam making sugar needed here. Use your normal caster sugar.
Triple sec is a liquor that has orange flavours. You can use Cointreau or Grand Marnier instead.
How to make mandarin marmalade
For the mandarin marmalade or jam, we need three parts of the fruit:
- the juice
- the flesh
- the rind
All these steps bring a lot of flavour to the marmalade and shouldn't be left out.
For the juice, use half of the mandarins and the lemons.
Cut them in half and juice them. Keep aside.
Now peel the remaining mandarins. Make sure not to throw away the peel, as we need it later.
Seperate the mandarins into segments and cut into small pieces. This is the time to remove any seeds you come across, unless you bought seedless mandarins!
Place the cut mandarins in a bowl and keep aside.
Preparing the peel asks for some knife skills but I'm sure you will manage! Cut about half of the peel into strips and discard the leftover. Now place the strips flat on your cutting board with the white part up.
Press the blade of your knife down on the rind and slice the white part away from your hand, removing most of the white pith.
Cut the rind into very thin strips (julienne).
Now bring a small pot of water to a boil and cook the mandarin rind for about 4-5 minutes.
Refresh the cooked rind in ice water and strain. This will remove some of the bitterness, we don't want to get rid of it completely as some bitterness is needed to avoid an overly sweet marmalade.
Cooking the marmalade
Now that you have done your prep, it is time to cook the marmalade.
In a wide pot add the cut mandarin.
then pour the juice
add the cooked rind.
then the triple sec
Now in goes the sugar and the kaffir lime leaves. Crush the leaves a bit in your hand before you add them, this helps to release their flavour.
In the first 15 minutes, bring the ingredients to a boil and keep at boiling point. Thereafter, reduce the heat and simmer for another 45 minutes. Make sure to stir occasionally.
Testing if the marmalade is ready
Testing if the marmalade has set and is ready to cool can be tricky. Mandarin or any citrus marmalade is different to other fruit marmalades, it can become very dense if it has cooked too far.
A typical way of knowing if the marmalade has reduced enough or not, is to place a spoonful on a cold plate. It should be like a soft gel and still a bit runny like honey but If it is too runny, keep cooking until you get the desired consistency.
When the marmalade is ready, fill them into jars and cool at room temperature. Close with a lid and keep chilled afterwards.
You most probably have overcooked the marmalade. Pour it back in a pot, bring to a simmer and add enough water to thin it out.
If it has a bitter after taste, it certainly comes from the pith. Leaving the rind out however will not give you the natural pectin. Either try to remove the white pith from the rind like shown in the recipe or choose mandarins with a very thin skin.
Homemade marmalade can be stored in the fridge for up to a month. If you follow proper canning instructions, the jam can be kept for up to 6 month. Frozen it lasts for up to 3 months.
What to use it for
If like me, you too dream of spreading sticky, sweet mandarin marmalade on freshly baked croissant, crepes, french toast or brioche (or on freshly baked bread like my wife) for breakfast, then guess what - your dream just came true!!
This mandarin marmalade is perfectly sweet, irresistible, and foolproof - all you need now, is a fresh cup of coffee to go with it!
You know what else you could use it for? Your cheese - It's a lovely condiment especially for a hard or blue cheese.
And if you still have some extra marmalade on hand, then here are few more ways of using it - I sometimes, add it into my sauce bigarade otherwise it pairs beautifully with grilled chicken or pork chops too!
But if you ask me what is my favourite combination, it's gotta be mandarin marmalade with crepes - it's as good as crepe suzette if not better!
It's so good that it makes me wonder if Paddington the bear would swap if for Aunt Lucy's Orange marmalade? Let me know what you think after you make it!
Mandarin Marmalade with Kaffir Lime Leaves
- wide pot
- small pot
- marmalade glasses
- 1.5 kilogram mandarins
- 2 lemons
- 5 kaffir lime leaves
- 500 gram caster sugar
- 100 millilitre triple sec liqueur
preparing the ingredients
- Cut half the amount of the mandarins and 2 lemons in half. Juice and set them aside. They should give you about 400ml (13.5 floz)
- Peel the remaining mandarins. Make sure not to throw away the peel as we need these later.
- Seperate the mandarins into segments and cut into small pieces. Remove any seeds, place in a bowl and keep aside. You should have 650g (1.4 lb) of mandarin flesh.
- Cut about half of the peel into thick strips and discard the leftover. Now place the strips flat on your cutting board, with the white pith facing up.
- Lay the blade of your sharp knife flat on the rind, press slightly and start slicing the white pith away from your hand. Try to remove most of the pith. Now cut the peel without the pith, into very thin strips called julienne's (refer to image in the blog).
- Bring a small pot of water to a boil and cook the mandarin peels for about 4-5 minutes. Refresh them in ice water and strain.
cooking the marmalade
- In a wide pot combine the juice, mandarin flesh, blanched peel, sugar, kaffir lime leaves (crush them slightly in your hand) and triple sec. Bring to a boil.
- After 15 minutes reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring often, for a further 45 minutes.
- When done, It should be like a soft gel, still slightly runny like honey. To test the consistency, place a small amount of the marmalade on a cold plate, if it is too runny, keep cooking until you get the desired consistency.
- When the marmalade is ready, fill it into jars and cool at room temperature. Close with a lid and keep chilled afterwards.