Lacto-fermented Orange Marmalade


Today I used my preserved lemons we made came out delicous – we’ve used them in pasta and they are so refreshing, healthy and beautiful. Every time I open the refrigerator they greet me with their sunny countenance. I look forward to adding the jar of sparkling orange marmalade to keep them company.

Nourishing Traditions Marmalade from the book by Sally Fallon

Use 3 organic navel oranges, washed ends cut off, and thinly sliced
Put them in one scalded quart size mason jar (to scald the jar pour boiling water into it and leave it for several minutes)
Pack them down lightly
Mix together 1 Tablespoon sea salt, 1/2 cup filtered water, 1/4 cup whey and 1/4 to 1/2 cup rapadura
Pour into the jar
Add extra filtered water if necessary to cover the top of the oranges
Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days

My favorite way to eat orange marmalade is on brown bread with a soft, creamy cheese like havarti or farmer’s cheese.

35 Responses to Lacto-fermented Orange Marmalade

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  4. I just finished my first batch of this–yum! It’s really bitter though. It’s good, just really bitter. Should I add more sugar or ..?

  5. Mary it is a little tart but I love that. You can add more sugar or honey if you like. I still have to make this this year – I miss it! And when I make it there will be lots and lots of crumpets for it. ;p

  6. how do I convert this recipe to accomodate mandarins?

  7. Hi Valerie,

    The beauty of fermented food is recipes are truly flexible. You can substitute 1:1 mandarins or grapefruit or lemons or limes or any combination.

  8. Hi, I’m new to your blog…I like it–been digging through your fermentation archives.

    I have a question, maybe you can help. I just made a pint of lacto-fermented raspberry preserved. I followed the berry preserve recipe in Nourishing Traditions. After 48 hours, I opened it, and it had this really strong smell–almost like nail polish. I tasted it, it was salty and tart. The color looked really good–I mean, it looked preserved–and my little boy said he liked it, but I have NO IDEA if I did it right. Does this sound right to you?

    Thanks, Lisa

    • Annette Cottrell

      I’ve actually not made the berry preserves because anytime you ferment something it becomes somewhat savory and that just isn’t what I want in a berry preserve. If it tasted salty and tart and not skunky then you did it right though! As Sally Fallon says in NT, you will know right away if fermented food is bad. There will be nothing in the world that will convince you to eat it. You might add some honey to it if you don’t like the taste?

  9. Yeah, I remember she says that in the book. Thing is, I don’t want to eat it, but my kid is fine with it, lol. I guess it’s fine then. Thanks for your help…and maybe I will try adding honey.

  10. Annette Cottrell

    Lisa I could tell just from reading it wasn’t something I wanted to waste good berries on. I’m glad your son likes it – more for him, right? :)

  11. Is it possible to use something else other than the whey (no idea where I would get that in Denmark!). What about adding powder from a probiotic tablet – would you suggest that as a good idea to increase the good bacteria?
    Thanks for the advice!

    • Annette Cottrell

      HI Caroline – it’s even easier in Scandinavia to find farms! You don’t need raw milk though, you can simply use the clear watery liquid that forms on top of your plain yogurt. Hope this helps!

  12. great – I’ll try it with the yoghurt!

  13. Diane Markesbery

    I was wondering if I could peel the oranges first I think the oil on the peel would make it bitter. It is beautiful and I really want to try it!! Does anyone have an idea about the peel?

    • Annette Cottrell

      Hi Diane, I wish I knew the answer to that. If you try a small batch you can find out if it works and let me know! I love the bitterness from the peels personally but my kids put extra honey on top. The nice thing about fermented foods is they are obvious if they are bad – they smell putrid! If they smell good then they are good. Good luck!

    • Diane, I’ve been making stuff with my oranges, lemons and grapefruits because we have tons of them coming off our trees. It isn’t the oils or the outer peel that is bitter. Its the inner white stuff called the pith. When you cut the peels, you can trim away the white part as much as you can. Hope this helps!

  14. Hi, for those who have milk allergy or are vegans what is the best substitute for the whey or yoghurt liquid? Thank you.

    • Hi Sarah, I’m not actually sure on this recipe. If it were a savory ferment I would say add more salt but you don’t want to do that with this! I’m sorry I’m not more helpful.

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  16. Annette, there are non-dairy starter cultures for lactofermentation available at vendors like Cultures for Health and Body Ecology. I’ve never used one myself, but I know they are out there.

  17. This sound delicious! But, what is “Wash them, remove the ends, and thinly sliced the” – the part about “remove the ends” – ends?

    And what is rapadura?

    I’m so ready to make this!

    Tamara Slack

  18. Annette Cottrell

    Hi Tamara! There are two ends to an orange, the tree and blossom end. Slice off both of those. Sorry if that was confusing. Rapadura is a natural sugar but honestly any sugar will do. Let me hear what you think of it!

  19. I haven’t tried this yet… I’m a little hesitant to because I tried the berry preserves from NT book and it had a very strong alcoholic taste to it. I’ll try a jar and see what happens I guess ;o) I have plenty of citrus fruits…

    • Annette Cottrell

      Mare there is way more sugar in berries. I cannot imagine what an abomination of berry jam that fermented recipe might be. The citrus is great though! Try it!!

  20. I just made my first batch of NT marmalade today, and am wondering how everyone else eats it…? I followed Sally’s instructions and cut the oranges slices into fourths – so now my jar is full of orangey-tart liquid and orange pieces. Do you just put the orange bits on your bread, biscuits, etc? Or should I have chopped the pieces up finer? What about adding, say, gelatin to thicken it up?
    Love your site!!

    • Annette Cottrell

      Hi Emily, thank you! I scooped out the orange bits and put them on toast with butter. When I got to the bottom of the jar where the juice was I used that to make a sauce for duck. But I bet it would be good in a grain based cold salad or something too. Anywhere you want the flavor of orange (baked goods or in pancakes or whatever). I bet it would be marvelous in chocolate muffins too…that wouldn’t be very NT though. :)

    • Annette Cottrell

      I bet you could use some pomona’s pectin too, or cook say 1/4 cup of the peels in a bit of liquid and make your own pectin. Then add that back once cooled. That way you would still have the beneficial bacteria from the ferment but some more thickness to it. It’s a little fussier that way but I bet it would be more like traditional orange marmalade.

  21. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe soon. I’ve seen some bags of organic oranges at some local stores, so it is probably a good time. I made lacto-fermented blueberry syrup using the recipe in the NT book (the same as the recipe for the berry preserves, but without the pectin or calcium water) a little over a week ago. It is a little salty and tart as Lisa C. noted about her raspberry preserves. I’ve been enjoying it on sourdough waffles with cream cheese or butter. I’ve also mixed it into plain yogurt for flavor. I was so excited that it worked because in the past if I bought a lot of berries, I’d have trouble finding uses for all of them. Now if I stock up, I can make more of these lacto-ferments.

    • Annette Cottrell

      Excellent – I think I’m not quite ready for fermented fruits yet but I do love the citrus. I think because it’s *supposed* to taste sour so it works for me. Let me know how it comes out for you! And thanks for commenting on your blueberry ferment experience.

  22. Would plain water kefir be a good substitute for whey? I found that I can use it in the place of whey for fermented veggies. I have a lactose intolerant son.

  23. By “Cover tightly” are you referring to covering with a tight knit cloth? or covering with a canning lid? or and air tight covering?

    • Annette Cottrell

      Hi Shea, you want to cover with something like a canning lid jar. Have you tried it yet? What did you think?

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