Friday 7 November 2014

Cardamon and Clementine Marmalade

Today my kitchen smells of clementines. Their sweet aroma, mixed with some upper notes of green cardamon is so good that if I could figure out a way of bottling it I'd wear it behind my ears for special occasions!

I've played around with the flavours to produce a light fragrant, not-too-sweet marmalade. Cardamon is one of my favourite flavours, and these green cardamons marry beautifully with the floral, citrus taste of the clementines, which I've ramped up further with the Cointreu. I'd say it's a flavour match made in heaven!

Would you like to make some for yourself? Well, no worries, here's my recipe :


1200g clementines - about 8 clementines
2 medium sized lemons
2 kg jam-making sugar
2.5 litres of water
1 tablespoonful of green cardamon pods split lengthways
8 tablespoonfuls (120 ml) of Cointreau
Certo apple pectin for emergency use if you can't get the mixture to set as you may not have enough pips in the clementines to give you all the pectin you need.


A: Day 1

1. You really need to start this recipe the day before. The first thing to do is wash the fruit in some fresh, clean water. Then juice the clementines and lemons, finely slice them and let them soak overnight in their juice to soften up the skins a bit and release some of their natural pectin. I half them and extract all the precious pips, which I place on a saucer for safe keeping. These are full of pectin, and will help your marmalade to set.

2. Take all the pips and tie them in a little square of muslin. Draw the four corners together, and tie them with a piece of kitchen string to make a parcel like this:

3. Place the skins in a large ceramic bowl, pour the juice over the top, and pop your parcel of pips into the mix. 

Cover with cling film and leave overnight to allow the juice to work its magic on the skins.

Day 2

4.Take an old saucer and put it in the freezer to get it really cold. You will use this to test the consistency of your marmalade later in the process.

5. Put your citrus skins/juice/pips mixture in a large saucepan. Add 2.5 litres of fresh water and bring to the boil. Once it reaches the boil, turn down the heat and leave to simmer gently for about two and a half hours until the skins are soft and slightly translucent.

6. While you’re waiting for the skins to cook you should sterilise your jam jars. Wash both the jars and their lids in hot soapy water. Rinse well with warm clean water. Dry the outsides but not the insides. Place them on a baking tray (open top ends up) with the lids (top sides up) on a separate tray in an oven pre-heated to 150 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes to half an hour.

7.You should also warm your sugar. With about half an hour to go before the lemons are ready, weigh it out and put it in the oven at about 150 degrees Celsius in a large flat dish.

8. When the citrus skins in the saucepan have been boiled to the point where they are soft and translucent, add the sugar, cardamon pods (split in half length-ways) and a knob of butter (this helps to stop it burning, according to my mum) and bring to a rolling boil, which is a gentle boil that isn’t too violent – think of gently churning rapids downstream from a large waterfall. Stir occasionally and let everything boil for another fifteen minutes or so until it starts to set. You could use a thermometer for this stage to check the temperature. The marmalade should start to set somewhere around 104 degrees Celsius.

9. When it reaches this stage, and you see it starting to thicken, you need to do the frozen saucer test. Take your saucer from the freezer and drip a little drop of the marmalade onto it. Leave it for a few seconds and then gently push it with your fingertip. If the marmalade is ready it should have formed a thin skin on top and you should be getting wrinkles when you apply pressure. It may still seem to be too liquid for spreading on your toast, but if there is a very thin skin with wrinkles you are good to go. The mixture will thicken/ solidify a bit more once it cools, and sometimes it will carry on setting for a few days after. This is the trickiest stage of the process, so do keep your eyes peeled.

Anyway if you haven’t reached this point let the mixture boil on for another three or four minutes and test again. Keep going until you get that skin-and-wrinkle-thing happening on your saucer, but be really careful as it can easily burn if it overheats (and, believe me, cleaning the bottom of the saucepan when it does is a nightmare job).

If you can't seem to get the stuff to set you can always add a spoonful or two of pectin and watch for it to do its magic. I keep a bottle of Certo apple pectin for these occasions.

10. Once the marmalade has started to set remove the saucepan from the heat, and add the Cointreau. Be careful as the hot mixture may spit a little when you introduce the cold liquid. Stir thoroughly and leave for about 15 minutes to cool. Skim the cardamon pods out of the mixture with a slatted spoon while you're waiting for the mixture to cool down.  This cooling will also allow the mixture to set a little more. Stir it again before you ladle it into the sterilised jam jars. By stirring it once it has thickened like this you will ensure an even distribution of peel throughout the mixture.

11. Top the jars of marmalade with waxed disks and put the lids on.

12. When everything has cooled down a bit you can add some stick-on labels.

Enjoy with hot buttered toast and a good cup of Rosie Lee!

All the best,

Bonny x

and if you've got the marmalade bug you might also like to try my lemon and lavender recipe, which you can find:  here.


  1. OK, this is truly amazing. I'm an avid jam and jelly maker and I had no idea about the pips having pectin, soaking the rinds, or anything else!! This is an art!

    1. Thank you, Barb. Yes, the pips are where the magic is. Some people save them each time they juice a lemon, and then keep them in a little box in the freezer so that they have a supply of natural pectin for making those tricky jams such as strawberry that are a nightmare to get set. All the best and thanks for stopping by, Bonny

  2. I'll bet this smells wonderful! It certainly looks delicious! I must admit, sadly, I've never had marmalade! I know, I must remedy this!!

    1. Well this is a good one to start off with. Citrus fruit generally set quite easily, especially if you chose clementines that have lots of pips in. All the best and thanks for stopping by, Bonny

  3. Oh, wow! Thanks for sharing this. Clementines and cardamom --two of my favorite things!

    1. My pleasure. Hope you enjoy it if you make it. All the best and thanks for stopping by, Bonny

  4. I bet it smells lovely and it's delicious! :) I used to make lots of jams before moving to Scotland, but I've never tried clementines jelly. My MIL makes lemon and grapefruit marmalade, I will suggest her to try this lovely recipe one day. :)

    1. Mmmh ... lemon and grapefruit sounds like a very nice combination. I'll put that one on my list of things to try too. All the best and thanks for stopping by, Bonny

  5. Love much clementine marmelade, greeting from Belgium

    1. Greetings Louisette. Hope you enjoy it if you make it. All the best and thanks for stopping by, Bonny

  6. Ok, so I just wrote a comment on your Christmas cake post that I didn't like to cook and bake, but I was going to try making your cake anyway because it looked pretty and delicious. And now I came across this post on making marmalade. I absolutely adore marmalade, but have never found one that I thought was perfect. Your recipe looks very appealing. I am going to try it. You are keeping me busy this holiday season, girlfriend!

    1. Good luck, Christa. The only thing to watch out for if you don't have a lot of pips in your clementines is getting enough pectin in the mix to get it to set well. I always keep a bottle of Certo, liquid pectin, which you can buy from the supermarket, just in case it doesn't set. I add a few spoonfuls of it until I see the viscosity of the mix changing. I like a good firm set, but lots of people like a looser more liquid consistency so to some extent it's a matter of personal preference. All the best and thanks for stopping by, Bonny

  7. My sister-in-law LOVES Clementine! I must send her your recipe. Thanks so much!

    1. I hope she likes it. All the best and thanks for stopping by, Bonny