Apricot Orange Marmalade

Whernever I’m in New York I love to visit Sarabeth’s Bakery in Chelsae Market. This quaint specialty foods shop offers some of the best food in the city from apple cinnamon french toast to grilled smoked mozzarella sandwiches. However, my favorite food find at Sarabeth’s is the orange-apricot marmalade. I wasn’t a fan of orange marmalade until I discovered Sarabeth’s.  On my last trip to New York my intention was to purchase the peach apricot preserves but I wasn’t paying attention when I bought it. When I got back to North Carolina I realized I grabbed the orange-apricot marmalade. Since I was several hundred miles away from the store I couldn’t readily return it so I decided to give it a try. And I was pleasantly surprised that I finally found an orange marmalade that I liked.  It wasn’t bitter or too sweet unlike the marmalades I’d had in the past.

From time to time I can find Sarabeth’s Orange-Apricot Marmalade at Home Goods. But it’s never when I want it so I took it upon myself to try and make this popular fruit preserve in my kitchen.  My plan wasn’t to re-create the wheel, I just wanted to see if I could make my own orange marmalade. Sarabeth’s uses simple ingredients that pack a lot of flavor and I wanted to stay true to that with my first experiment with making homemade marmalade. At first apperance, making orange maramalade doesn’t seem too difficult. It’s just a little tedious.  Thinly slicing the orange peels without leaving too much of the bitter pith but keeping enough of the pith to act as the natural pectin needed to give the marmalade its gelatinous texture can be a little intimidating. After all of that, making orange marmalade is a piece of cake. Just add sugar and water, and gently simmer on the stove until done. Pour into sterilized jars and put away.

I had to make the marmalade a couple times before I got the hang of it. Initially it was too sweet and turned into a hard jelly ball in the jar when it cooled. It was pretty gross. After a little tweaking to the recipe the marmalade finally tasted good and didn’t turn into an unappealing jelly ball. I’m still not too sure about my canning ability so I’m just going to keep it in the refrigerator.

Even though my first attempts at making marmalade didn’t turn out as expect, I eventually got a rewarding outcome from this 2-day process—homemade marmalade that I can enjoy in between trips to New York. Now I just have to work on my canning skills.

Apricot-Orange Marmalade
Makes 4 pints

6 Valencia oranges
2 lemons
½ medium fresh pineapple
8 dried apricots, quartered
10 cups water
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
6 ½ cups sugar
½ tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon apricot brandy or Gran Marnier, optional

Wash and dry the oranges.  Cut them in half crosswise and squeeze the juice into a small fine-mesh sieve set over a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, removing the seeds. Place the seeds in a square of several layers of cheesecloth. Scrape the white membrane from each rind and add to the cheese cloth. Scrape out as much of the white pith as possible and discard. (I used a melon baller  to scrape out the pith.)

Thinly slice the orange peels. Zest and juice the lemons and add to the orange juice.  Add the lemon seeds to the cheesecloth. Peel and core the pineapple. Add the core to the cheesecloth and  tie into a bundle with kitchen string. Cut the pineapple into ½ -inch chunks.

Add the orange juice mixture, orange peels, apricots, pineapple, cheesecloth pouch, 8 cups water and salt to a large stockpot or Dutch oven.

Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the peels are very soft, about 1 hour, stirring frequently.  Remove the pot from the heat. Cover it and let sit overnight at room temperature.

The next day, remove the cheesecloth bundle, squeezing the liquid into the pot. Discard the bundle. Add 2 cups water and stir in the sugar. Bring the orange mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat.  Add the butter. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered for 60 minutes.  Increase the heat to medium and cook for an additional 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Continue cooking the marmalade until it reaches 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

(To double check, place a saucer in the freezer until cold, about 15 minutes. Drop a teaspoon of marmalade onto the chilled saucer and place it in the freezer for 1 minute.  If the marmalade becomes firm and does not run then it’s done.)

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the apricot brandy, if using. Ladle the marmalade into sterilized jars and fill right below the rim.

Wipe the rim and jar with a damp cloth.  Apply the lids and seal.   Cool to room temperature and the jam is set. Store in the refrigerator for up to six months. (Follow specific canning instructions to store in panrty.)


6 thoughts on “Apricot Orange Marmalade

  1. I had been using recipes from the cookbook, Sarabeth’s Bakery, so when I came across her jams at T. J. Maxx (commercial sibling of Home Goods), I happily tried them and love them. I am using the apricot-orange marmalade for rugelach filling. I am also going to attempt to make orange marmalade this holiday season, and I was so happy to see this recipe with wonderful photos. After six decades of thinking that marmalade was a wonderful word, especially as applied to cats, but wondering who ate those concoctions, I have developed a taste for marmalades on toast and in pastry and my husband loves them as a glaze for pork roast. I wanted to contribute a recipe from The Gourmet Cookie Book ( highly recommended cookbook), which features best cookie recipes from seven decades of Gourmet magazine, for Polish Apricot-Filled Cookies, sort of a non-crescent rugelach, in the shape of squares spread with filling, with opposite corners pinched together. The recipe features a cooked apricot-orange filling similar to Sarabeth’s Orange Apricot marmalade but with golden raisins and no pineapple. The filling in this recipe begins with orange marmalade, and adds diced apricots and cooks them with honey and a bit of cinnamon. I like this especially because a choice of fine honey and cinnamon (I use Penzey’s Vietnamese) enhances the flavor.
    Ingredients: 10 oz. (~1 3/4 cups) coarsely chopped dried apricots, 1/2 cup golden raisins, 2/3 cup honey, 1/4 cup sweet orange marmalade, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 cup water.
    Instructions: Put all ingredients in a heavy, 2-3 qut. saucepan, and, stirring, bring to a boil over moderate heat. Reduce heat, and, still stirring frequently, simmer until dried fruit is softened and mixture is thickened. (The original recipe said this took about 10 minutes. I found it to be more like 20. Taste to make sure apricots have softened. Otherwise the filling will not blend as well.) Put into a bowl and cool until warm, about 20 minutes. Puree in a food processor. You can then store this in refrigerator for use as spread or filling for rugelach, etc.

    1. Hi Mary,

      Thanks for sharing your recipe. It looks wonderful. And I have everything on hand in my pantry. YAY!

      I get my Sarabeth Preserves from Home Goods (my home away from home). I put them in butter, mayo or Dijon mustard depending on which on I buy.

  2. A BIG THANK YOU for sharing your mock up of Sarabeth’s Orange, Apricot & Pineapple Marmalade! I just purchased Sarabeth’s cookbook and while it includes a nice selection of preserves to cook up the recipe for this signature marmalade that kicked off her success is NOT included (pretty smartalicky/’cheeky’ of her not to include it if you ask me) and of the recipes in the cookbook that call for this marmalade as an ingredient or filling most home cooks would be compelled to order it online (I live in Reno,NV and only found her marmalade when I lived in California) I will experiment with your recipe because the ingredient list on Sarabeth’s marmalade does not include the butter or optional Grand Marnier but I’m guessing your version tastes more sophisticated with that addition!

  3. Thank-you so much for this delicious and easy to make reicpe!! I have tried so many store bought breads that I have choked down when I finally came across Udi’s bread but it isn’t always available and it’s so expensive (and small too). I decided to make my own bread and after trying your other reicpes with success I tried this one and I have to say it was also a success!! This bread actually has the texture and look of real bread. I can’t wait to make a sandwich with it tomorrow. I have had 2 luncheons this past week for my Opa’s funeral and everyone was eating delicious buns and I had my dry cardboard bread that I made into a sandwich (there was no Udi’s so I had to buy a different brand which wasn’t good at all) I felt so left out. Tomorrow I have another lunch to go to and this time I won’t have to choke my sandwich down. Thanks for sharing all of your reicpes.

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