I was recently a guest blogger for a fantastic website called Canning Crafts. This marmalade was first posted on their site. Please check Canning Crafts out for all of their lovely canning recipes, custom-made canning labels, and more.

Citrus hits its peak of flavor during the colder months therefore making it ideal for a cold-weather canning project. This Three Citrus & Vanilla Bean Marmalade highlights oranges, grapefruits, and lemons while adding beauty and real flavor with vanilla bean seeds.

What exactly is marmalade? Marmalade is a clear sweetened jelly in which pieces of fruit and fruit rind are suspended. Oftentimes the jelly will be slightly bitter due to the use of fruit peels. Marmalade has been made not only using oranges, but also grapefruits, kumquats, lemons, limes, grapefruits, and bergamots. It is such a flexible treat.

When buying citrus for this recipe, look for the very best. Poor batches of citrus make for poor batches of marmalade. Look for fruit free of bruises. Buy organic if possible as it will be free of sprays, pesticides, and waxes. Please use vanilla beans for this recipe. The vanilla seeds are gorgeous in the marmalade and the flavor is unbelievable. If you do not want to use vanilla beans you will still get a lovely product. Omit vanilla entirely for a beautiful three-citrus marmalade.

Tips: After allowing your jars to cool overnight you may think that your marmalade has not properly set. If you have followed each step correctly never fear. Sometimes it takes marmalade up to 48 hours (or a week) to set properly. This is because natural pectin can take that long to develop firm  set.

There are a few different ways to test if your jam is set. I prefer using a digital instant read thermometer. It gives an exact read which leads to a high success rate with regards to jams and marmalades setting properly. My favorite brand is Thermapen. The other methods (sheeting off of a spoon test and frozen plate test) are good if you do not own a thermometer, however results may vary and these tests take some jamming experience.

Thermapen, my preferred thermometer for canning, shown on the right.

Three Citrus & Vanilla Bean Marmalade

Makes about five half-pint jars

4 large oranges

4 large ruby red grapefruit

2 large lemons

4 cups sugar

3 1/2 cups water

1/4 tsp salt

2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise

Place rack in the bottom of a boiling water canner, then place empty jars on the rack. Add water to the jars and the canner until the jars are about two-thirds full. Cover the canner and bring the water to a simmer over medium heat. Place lids in a small saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Do not boil. Keep lids hot until ready to use.

Scrub fruit thoroughly of sprays and waxes, rinse well, and dry. Using microplane zester or small holes on a box grater, grate zest from oranges, grapefruits, and lemons.

Try to not get too much of the white, bitter pith in the mix.

Using a sharp, thin-bladed knife, cut a 1/4 ” thick slice from each end of oranges, grapefruit, and lemons. Working with one piece of fruit at a time, place flat-end down on cutting board, and remove peel in strips, cutting from top to bottom. Hold peeled fruit over a bowl and collect juices. Slice between membranes and gently remove whole segments. Reserve segments and juice. Discard membranes and seeds.

Stir together sugar, water, and kosher salt, citrus zests, reserved citrus segments, and reserved juice in a stainless steel pot. Split and scrape seeds from vanilla beans. Add seeds and beans to mixture.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until instant read thermometer registers 220 degrees Farenheit. Note, this will take about one hour; no need to rush this process. Remove mixture from heat. Remove and discard vanilla beans. Skim foam, if necessary.

Ladle hot marmalade into hot jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Remove air bubbles and readjust headspace. Wipe jar rims with a damp cloth. Center lids onto jars.  Apply bands and adjust to fingertip-tight. Place jars in boiling-water canner. Repeat until all jars are in canner. Cover the canner with a lid and bring water to a full rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling hard and continuously, begin counting the processing time of 10 minutes.

Once 10 minutes is complete, turn off heat and let jars sit in canner an additional five minutes (this standing time allows the pressure inside the jars to stabilize and reduces the likelihood of liquid loss that could otherwise occur when the jars are removed.)

Remove jars and place on a kitchen towel-lined space. The towel will help reduce the chance of jar breakage. Do not dry the lids or jars at this point. You do not want to disturb the lids while the seals are being formed. Allow jars to cool for 24 hours before removing bands and wiping down jars. Date jars and store in a cool dry place for up to one year.

Recipe modified from “The All New Ball Book Of Canning And Preserving: Over 200 of the Best Canned, Jammed, Pickled, and Preserved Recipes“.