Canning, Freezing & More Preserving / Recipes

Orange-Grapefruit-Ginger Marmalade

Peel and grate fresh ginger

Citrus season is in full swing in Southern California, and while everything in my garden is rather monotonous right now — green lettuces, green collards, green kale, green chard, turnip greens and carrot greens — I can always count on my citrus trees to add some cheerful pops of color.

This is also the perfect time of year to share my favorite marmalade recipe, as it uses three of the season’s freshest harvests (oranges, grapefruits, and ginger) and makes a beautiful gift for the holidays. I’ve always believed that preserves are some of the most endearing gifts to give or receive because of the time and love put into them. A gift of homemade marmalade is even more special because it’s a good amount of work for such a small batch… but so. incredibly. worth it!

Orange-grapefruit-ginger marmalade with cream cheese on toast

Orange-Grapefruit-Ginger Marmalade

Makes 4 pints


2 tablespoons grated ginger
6 medium oranges
4 medium grapefruits
3 1/2 cups sugar
1 packet low-sugar pectin (optional)


This preserve has the perfect balance of sweet, tart and zest without the bitterness usually found in marmalade. You can add as much or as little ginger as you prefer, but I’ve found that 2 tablespoons is just the right amount — flavorful without overpowering the citrus.

Start with a 4-inch piece of ginger root. I peel the skin off using a serrated peeler and grate the ginger with a mini grater. It should break down to about 2 tablespoons. Reserve the grated ginger and its juices and set aside.

Peel and grate fresh ginger

Grated ginger

To prepare the fruit, thoroughly wash your oranges and grapefruits.

Thoroughly wash oranges and grapefruits

Peel the skin off all the fruits with a serrated peeler.

Peel off skin with a serrated peeler

Stack several peels and thinly slice them cross-wise into 1/8-inch strips. You want about 2 cups of sliced peels — but a little more won’t hurt!

Stack several peels and slice into thin strips

Sliced orange and grapefruit peels

In a medium pot, combine the sliced peels with 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the peels have softened.

Simmer sliced peels in water until softened

While you’ve got that stuff cookin’…

Supreme the oranges and grapefruits. To do so, cut off the top and bottom of your fruit so that the flesh is showing.

Cut the top and bottom off of peeled fruit

Slice off the pith (the white rind under the peel) from top to bottom, following the shape of the fruit. If you can actually make it resemble its original round shape, you’re already doing much better than me.

Slice off the pith

Slice off the pith

With a small knife, slice along the membrane to separate the fruit segment. Repeat on the other side to free the fruit segment completely.

Slice along the membrane to separate the fruit segment

Fruit segment without membrane

Scoop the fruit segments and their juices into a bowl. Set aside all the seeds, membranes and pith but do not discard.

Once you’re done supreming all the fruit, you should end up with about 4 cups of fruit with their juices (adjust the fruit amounts in this recipe accordingly if you don’t have enough).

Supremed oranges and grapefruits

Important note: This recipe uses the natural pectin in the fruit to give the preserve a jelly-like consistency. However, as fruits ripen, their pectin levels decrease, so your preserve will not set properly using overripe fruits. If your oranges and grapefruits are very ripe, you can discard the seeds, membranes and pith, and simply add commercial pectin when you cook them down.

If you’re using slightly underripe fruits, you should be able to extract enough natural pectin without using commercial pectin. To do so, collect a handful of seeds, membranes and pith (all of which contain high amounts of pectin) and wrap them tightly in cheesecloth. You will be boiling this cheesecloth bundle along with the fruit.

Pull together seeds, membranes and pith into a cheesecloth bundle

Back to the stove…

Strain the sliced peels and set aside, but reserve the water (which has now been delightfully infused with citrus) and return it to the pot.

Strain sliced peels and return citrus-infused water to pot

For Preserves Using Natural Pectin

In the same pot as the citrus water, add all the fruit segments and juices, grated ginger, sugar, and cheesecloth bundle. Stir to blend the flavors together. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil while using a spoon to mash the fruit a bit. Stir the mixture every few minutes as the natural pectin is released from the cheesecloth bundle.

Add fruit segments, juices, grated ginger, sugar, and cheesecloth bundle to citrus water

Boil until the mixture reaches 220°F on a candy thermometer. Stir in the sliced peels, then remove from heat.

Use tongs to squeeze more pectin out of the cheesecloth bundle. It looks like a thick, clear syrup and you want every last drop.

Use tongs to squeeze out natural pectin

Use tongs to squeeze out natural pectin

Discard the bundle and stir the marmalade well to distribute the natural pectin.

Ladle all that goodness into hot, clean jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, adjusting time for altitude as necessary.

For Preserves Using Commercial Pectin

Combine commercial pectin with the fruit segments and juices, grated ginger, and citrus water in a pot, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil for about 20 minutes, or until the fruit is nicely broken down.

Stir in the sugar and sliced peels. Boil hard for a couple of minutes, then remove from heat.

Ladle the preserves into hot, clean jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, adjusting time for altitude as necessary.

Ladle jam into hot, clean jars

Jars of orange-grapefruit-ginger marmalade

Now how about a few spoonfuls smeared over cream cheese over a piece of homemade toast?

Orange-grapefruit-ginger marmalade with cream cheese and toast

About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring—all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »


  • Bonny Wagner
    February 18, 2018 at 4:14 am

    This was a terrible recipe. The quantities were incorrect,it was very bitter, the fruit never cooked through. The oranges and grapefruit taste raw in the marmalade. The ginger was imperceptible in the final jam. . It didn’t jell. I feel like it was a waste of very expensive ingredients.

    • Linda from Garden Betty
      February 27, 2018 at 11:41 pm

      I’m sorry this did not work for you. I’ve made it numerous times with success, as have other readers. If you peeled off too much of the pith, that could make your marmalade too bitter. (The pith may also give that “too raw” taste you mentioned, even after boiling it until softened.) Jelling issues may come from the mixture not boiling to 220F, or using very ripe fruits (which have less pectin). In the instructions, I did recommend using commercial pectin if you’re making the recipe with ripe citrus. Hopefully these suggestions will help if you decide to try this again.

  • Tamara
    December 20, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Looks amazing! Thank you for all the great pics!

  • Laila Noort
    March 29, 2012 at 8:17 am

    That looks amazing! Thanks for the tip about the natural pectin. I love fresh ginger and the combination with the fruit must be fantastic. Can’t wait to try it out. Do you recommend any kind of orange to use?

    • Linda Ly
      March 29, 2012 at 6:21 pm

      I used Valencias from my tree, but I imagine any kind of orange would be delicious. I’d love to get my hands on some blood oranges next time.

  • Tinyeden
    February 4, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Oh YUM!

  • Arlene @ flouronmyface
    January 16, 2012 at 6:50 am

    That looks like a beautiful batch of marmalade. I made my first batch last week with grapefruit and orange. I wish I would have thought of adding some ginger. 

    • Linda Ly
      January 19, 2012 at 4:20 pm

      Thank you! The ginger is very subtle… adds a slight kick to all the sweetness and tartness.


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