Peach marmalade is the love child of peach jam and orange marmalade. With a handful of maraschino cherries added to brighten the mixture. No pectin needed!
This delicious peach marmalade is the love child of peach jam and orange marmalade. It’s been a favourite of mine since childhood, when my Mom made it every Summer. It’s sweeter than orange marmalade, but not as sweet as peach jam. I think it looks like a Summer sunset in a jar and that thought always makes me smile when I pull it out of the fridge.
I love to make just a small batch as fresh, local peaches come into season and keep it and enjoy it from the fridge. Easy to make and no need to fuss with canning.
Peach marmalade is unbeatable on warm buttered toast or scones. It’s fabulous on vanilla ice cream (and even comes with a built-in cherry to put on top!) And of course, it’s a natural to use in my Peach Flip sweet bread.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Peaches – This jam is perfect to make during peak Summer peach season, when peaches are both beautiful and economical. Look for larger peaches, as they are easier to peel.
Orange – A regular Navel orange is perfect for this jam, though any orange will work here, if you’d prefer to use another variety.
White Sugar – It is very important that you don’t arbitrarily adjust the amount of added sugar to a jam. The sugar in jams and marmalade play an important role in preservation and shelf life, as well as sweetness. While the amount of sugar in jam may seem like a lot, always remember that jam is a condiment and you will only be using a small amount at a time. If you want your jam to set and keep a long time in the fridge, stick to the recommended amount of sugar.
Start with roughly 2 lbs. of fresh peaches. Prepare the peaches by peeling, pitting and slicing. I like to use a nice, sharp vegetable peeler to peel my peaches. Slice the orange into thin slices, then chop finely. Weigh the sliced peaches, chopped orange and lemon juice in a bowl. For this batch, that was 774g. Weigh out an equal 774g of white sugar and combine with the fruit in a large saucepan.
Start cooking the marmalade over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high and boil the mixture, stirring regularly, until the marmalade slightly darkens in colour, the liquid thickens and the mixture reaches 221F on a candy thermometer or passes the Cold Plate Test (see below for how to do that).
If you like a smoother marmalade, once ready, remove from heat and process lightly (and carefully as it’s hot!) with an immersion blender. Add the cherries and vanilla and stir in. Spoon into clean jars, refrigerate and enjoy!
Making jams and marmalades is best done with access to a scale, so you can weigh the fruit and sugar. The classic ration of fruit to sugar is 1:1, so you start by weighing your fruit mixture, then you add an equal amount (by weight) of sugar). Sticking to this ratio will ensure your jam will set and will ensure that the mixture can be preserved and have good shelf-life. If you don’t have a scale, you really should get one :) Seriously, you can get a great kitchen scale for $20 or less and it is an invaluable kitchen tool! Alternately, you’re left with best guessing.
I know the usual method recommended for peeling peaches involves boiling them, then peeling. I’ve always preferred to simply peel them with a sharp vegetable peeler. Works like a charm!
You can keep this jam chunkier or smoother, simply by how much you mash it down (or blend with an immersion blender).
This small-batch recipe will make 4 cups of jam. You can halve the recipe and make just one, smaller jar, if you like. You can also double or triple the recipe to make more, if you want to preserve it. I prefer to make a small batch and simply refrigerate and use from the fridge, rather than canning.
If you wish to can this jam for longer, room-temperature storage, you will need to follow recommended canning practices regarding jar and lid sterilization and canning in a hot water bath. Always refer to a reputable canning resource for guidance on doing this.
How to Know When the Marmalade is Ready
You want to be sure not to over-boil your marmalade, or it will turn out dark and almost caramelized, which is not what you’re after. That said, it is not always easy to know when your jam or marmalade is done. Jams set at 221F, so you can test the liquid with a thermometer. Alternately, use the Cold Plate Test detailed below.
For this marmalade, watch the colour. As it nears done, the marmalade will shift colour from bright to a slightly more muted colour. Start testing at that point.
This marmalade will be quite liquid-y still when done. It will set further in the jar/fridge. That said, as this marmalade has no pectin added, so it will be little looser that a pectin-added marmalade or jam.
The Cold Plate Test for Jam or Marmalade
Before you start your jam or marmalade, plate a small dinner plate into the freezer. As your jam comes close to done, remove the plate from the freezer and place a drop of the hot jam liquid on the plate. run your finger through the drop. If the space where you ran your finger through runs back together and fills in the space, your jam is not done yet. Boil a little longer and test again. When the space where your finger run through it remains AND the edges along where you ran your finger appear slightly raised (as opposed to flat and thin) or wrinkled, your jam is ready.
Unless the marmalade is placed into sterilized jars and processed in a hot water bath to seal, this marmalade must be stored in the refrigerator at all times. Marmalade will keep in the fridge 6-8 months. If properly processed for canning, the marmalade will keep at room temperature for a year or more. *Always use guidance from a reputable source for detailed instructions on how to properly can/preserve marmalade.
Get the Recipe: Peach Marmalade
- 2 lbs. peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
- 1 medium navel orange
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- 3- 3 1/2 cups granulated white sugar, approximately *see Note 1
- 1 tsp. vanilla or vanilla bean paste
- 10 maraschino cherries, halved or quartered
- Kitchen scale for weighing fruit and sugar
- If you don't have a jam/sugar thermometer, place a small dinner plate into the freezer before starting your marmalade, to use for the Cold Plate Test for done-ness (see Note 2 below).
- Peel, pit and slice the peaches. (I like to use a nice, sharp vegetable peeler to peel peaches). Remove the ends from orange and slice across the equator as thinly as you can. Chop the peel and flesh into smaller pieces. (You can chop as finely or as coarsely as you prefer).
- Cut maraschino cherries in half or quarters and place on a paper towel to absorb the juices. Set aside.
- Place the prepared peach slices and chopped orange into a large bowl. Add the lemon juice. Weigh the fruit mixture. Add an equal weight of granulated sugar to the bowl. (So, in my case, my fruit weighed 774g/27oz) so I weighed out that same amount of sugar by weight and added it to the fruit mixture). Stir to combine.
- Place the fruit/sugar mixture in a large, heavy bottom pan (not aluminum) over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. *I like to use a potato masher to break down the peaches a little bit at this point. Raise heat to medium-high and continue cooking until juices start to thicken and jam tests done on a chilled plate *, about 10-15 minutes. *If you like a chunkier marmalade, you don't need to do anything. For a less chunky marmalade, you can use an immersion blender at the end of cooking (before adding vanilla and cherries), to make a smoother marmalade. Be careful with the immersion blender as the liquid is very hot!
- Remove the pan from heat. Stir in vanilla and cherries. Spoon into clean jar or jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Place lid and ring on just fingertip tight and invert jar on tea towel. Allow to stand (inverted) until cooled to room temperature, then immediately refrigerate. (Inverting hot jam will give you a "soft seal" of the canning lid, but is not considered a sufficient seal for room-temperature storage, so the marmalade MUST be stored in the refrigerator unless you take the extra step of properly sealing by the boiling water bath sealing method.
- *If you wish to can the jam, spoon into sterilized jars and process in a water bath. Always refer to a reputable source of canning information for how to sterilize and how long to process in a boiling water bath.
- The sugar amount is approximate. You will need to weigh your peach/orange mixture and then add an equal amount (by weight) of white sugar. The general ration of fruit to sugar is 1:1 and it is always best to stick to this ratio for proper setting and prolonged shelf-life. Always remember, jam is a condiment, not a meal :)
- Cold Plate Test: Before you start your jam or marmalade, plate a small dinner plate into the freezer. As your jam comes close to done, remove the plate from the freezer and place a drop of the hot jam liquid on the plate. run your finger through the drop. If the space where you ran your finger through runs back together and fills in the space, your jam is not done yet. Boil a little longer and test again. When the space where your finger run through it remains AND the edges along where you ran your finger appear slightly raised (as opposed to flat and thin) or wrinkled, your jam is ready.
Hi! I’m Jennifer, a home cook schooled by trial and error and almost 40 years of getting dinner on the table! I love to share my favourite recipes, both old and new, together with lots of tips and tricks to hopefully help make your home cooking enjoyable, stress free, rewarding and of course, delicious!