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How to Make Orange Jam from Scratch

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Orange jam is a fantastic and easy way to preserve the winter bounty of citrus fruit to enjoy all year long! With the addition of warm spices like cinnamon and ginger, This recipe is packed with flavor and perfect for topping for toast on a chilly morning. 

Image shows a small jar of orange jam with a spoon hovering over it. The spoon holds a small amount of jam. Around the jar are slices of oranges. Text above reads "Orange Jam Recipe"

Is orange jam the same as marmalade? 

Nope! Orange marmalade recipes use orange rinds and white pith to give it its signature bitter bite. 

Orange jam, on the other hand, has no bitter aftertaste because we only use the flesh of the fruit. Basically, you get the flavor of orange juice rather than the flavor of the rind.

I know some people really grow to love orange marmalade, but I’m not one of them, and my kids definitely don’t, so to be honest, it’s a waste of time to make, except for as a gift to those I know who do like it. 

Where to get oranges? 

This definitely varies from place to place, and I’ve noticed the closer you are to Florida or Mexico, the easier it is to find bulk oranges for making jam. 

One reliable way to get bulk produce is to order with your local grocery store. Not a big box store like Walmart, but in smaller grocery stores like Lowes Market and Piggly Wiggly, you can often ask the produce manager to order a box for you when they put their order in. 

Also, try finding grocery suppliers in your area, especially if you live near a large city. 

If you live near an Amish community, find their source. Often it will be a guy driving a rented truck full of produce that can’t be grown locally (bananas, oranges, mangos, etc) that he got from a supplier in a city. 

Image shows a white plate of oranges, with one sliced in half. Next to the plate sits a small spoon.

What kind of oranges to use? 

I prefer naval oranges because they’re large and uniform, but almost any orange can be used. I used a bunch of mandarin oranges in the batch pictures. You can also use tangerines or clementines. 

How to make orange jam

Image, taken from above, shows a glass measuring cup of sugar, pile of oranges, jar of orange juice and sticks of cinnamon.

One of the main characteristics of jams is that they’re made using whole fruit, whereas jellies use fruit juice. That’s not to say you use the whole fruit. Most fruits, such as apple jam, you have to peel and/or core, and of course, oranges are no different. As we already covered, we’re not going to use the peelings. 

The ingredients for this jam are simple: Oranges, lemon juice, sugar, powdered pectin, and cinnamon sticks. 

The first thing you’ll need to do is section out your oranges. Since you don’t want the papery fiber in your jam, I like to cut the oranges in half with a sharp knife and scoop out the orange slices with a spoon. when you do this, make sure you get all the flesh and the juice as well. 

Once you have them all sectioned out and in a bowl, you can use a stick blender to blend them or pulse them in a blender or food processor a few times to break them up, but not completely puree them. You want to have some distinct orange pulp in there. 

Once you have your oranges all prepared, throw them in a medium saucepan pot and stir in the lemon juice, pectin, sugar, and cinnamon sticks. 

Image shows a large pot of  boiling orange juice, sugar and oranges.

This is where it gets tricky. Oranges don’t have a lot of pectin, and they’re very juicy. So, it can take a while to get your jam mixture to the correct setting point to make a gel. 

Plan on gently boiling (just above a simmer) your mixture for as long as 25 minutes. 

Occasionally dip out a spoonful of jam, and let it cool a few minutes. If it starts to thicken significantly as it cools,  your jam is ready! 

At this point, you can add ginger if desired and get ready to can the jam.

How to can orange jam

Image shows a small jar of orange jam with a black spoon sticking out. In the background are more jars of orange jam sitting on a cooling rack.

We use the water bath canner for jams. 

Heat your canning kettle with enough water to cover jars by at least an inch.

Fill sterile jars to about 1/2 inch of the rim, and fit with canning lids. 

If your jam is piping hot, the water in your kettle needs to be piping hot too. The same goes for if your jam is cool – match the temperatures. 

Bring the kettle with the jars in it to a rolling boil, and boil half-pint jars for 10 minutes and pint jars for 15 minutes. 

Remove the kettle from the heat, and let cool with the lid on for 15 minutes and with the lid off for another 15 minutes before removing jars. (This is to reduce the risk of hot jars bursting when you remove them from the canner).

Once jars are removed from the canner, protect them from drafts until they are completely cooled. Check for seals, and store in a cool, dark area.

This is such a great winter recipe to have alongside homemade cranberry jam to go on toast made from either gluten free sandwich bread or our beloved sourdough sandwich bread

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Orange Jam

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.9 from 9 reviews

This simple orange jam recipe is so easy to make, and tastes so good!

  • Author: Elise
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 90 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: varies
  • Category: Jams
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Scale
  • 68 lbs oranges
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 packet of sure gel
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cut oranges across the middle, section out pulp, until you have 4 1/2 cups
  2. Pulse in a blender, or in a medium-sized pot with an immersion blender
  3. Stir in lemon juice, sugar and sure gel
  4. Add in cinnamon stick, and heat pot over medium heat
  5. While mixture heats, place a small plate in the freezer
  6. Bring to a boil, and boil about 25 minutes, until mixture passes the “jam test” 
  7. To test jam, drop a small spoonful on frozen plate to see how thick jam is when it cools. Continue testing until jam is thickened to your preference
  8. To can: Ladle jam into sterilized canning jars. I usually use 4oz. or 8 oz. jars. 
  9. Place in a waterbath canner of hot water, making sure canning rack is inserted into bottom of canner
  10. Make sure water level reaches at least one inch above the top of your jars
  11. Cover canner and bring to a rolling boil for 8 minutes for 4oz. jars, 8 minutes, 8 oz. jars for 10 minutes, and 16 oz. jars for 15 minutes 
  12. When canner is done boiling, remove from heat and let cool at least 15 minutes before removing lid, and letting cool for another 15 minutes before removing jars. 
  13. When removing hot jars from canner, be sure to protect them from drafts to prevent glass breaking. One way to do this is to cover them with a towel as they cool
  14. Store sealed jars in a cool place out of direct light. 
  15. Enjoy!

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