Oranges a plenty


Over the last few weeks I have been in the garden a lot, not because I particularly like gardening I have to say but because it is something that I don’t mind being interrupted from.  With themselves being a bit more needy since battling chest infections there have been quite a few interruptions lately so figured it was better for me, and them, that I happily interrupted.  While I managed to get most of the weeds out there is one thing that I am constantly collecting which won’t be stopping anytime soon … oranges.


Just one of our trees …. with our place in the background.

We have two amazingly plentiful orange trees and 2 just as plentiful sweet grapefruit trees supplying more fruit than we can keep up with at the moment. So of course the marmalade recipes have come out in a bid to use some of the fruit up … aside from all the juicing and fresh munching that is going on.  I have tried making sugar free marmalade before by using honey however as himself is not eating honey anymore I had to put my thinking cap on.


Preparing our chunky style marmalade

I have played around with different marmalade recipes quite a bit over the years;  reducing refined sugar, trying coconut sugar and as mentioned honey all with varying degrees of success.  The key thing I have noticed is that when you reduce or replace sugar the boiling time becomes a trial of patience.  Rather than the quick rolling boil that usually occurs it becomes a slow reducing exercise until the marmalade reaches the correct consistency.  My latest play with recipes has come up with something that I’m pretty pleased with and themselves are happy to eat so it is a win/win as far as I can see 🙂 Hopefully it will be something that you can use or modify if need be to make it yum for your family too.

Refined Sugar Free Orange Marmalade

  • 1 kg sweet oranges (approx)
  • 2 large eating apples
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup ( or whatever amounts tickles your fancy)

– Slice the oranges depending on how you like your marmalade (thick or thin) then put in a large pot.

– Peel, core and grate the two apples and add to oranges.

– Just cover the orange and apple mixture with cold water and leave overnight (or for at least 8 hours) to sit.

– Next morning (or later that day) boil the fruit until it is soft and the volume has reduced a bit. Use a wooden spoon to push the juice out of the fruit a bit as it cooks.

– Add maple syrup and boil for a little longer before testing on a saucer. Place a little bit of marmalade on a saucer and allow to cool. It will be ready when you can run your finger through the juice and it stay separated for a bit.  With sugar marmalade it will stay separated however with alternative sweeteners it just takes longer to come back together.

– Spoon into warmed, clean jars and store until needed.



Hope this gives you ideas to spark a bit of experimenting and finds you in the best of health heading into the new season.





It has been a very busy past few weeks and the job list seems to keep on growing.  One of these jobs is to make the most of our own food as it is at this time of year our orange and grapefruit trees are laden with gorgeous golden fruit.  We end up giving loads away as we can never quite seem to cope with our abundance and there is only so much marmalade you can make and eat!


However tonight I will share our refined sugar free marmalade with you.  I apologise now for the lack of accuracy in measurements (I tried my best to measure what I put into my latest batch) however it really does depend on how sweet your fruit is and on how sweet you like your marmalade to how much honey you want to plonk in. 🙂

Honey Marmalade – makes approx 4 x 225 gm pots

700 gm oranges (approx) (this can also be a mixture of grapefruit and orange)

1 lemon

Water to cover

250 gm runny honey

  • Finely dice up the oranges and one lemon and place in a bowl.
  • Cover fruit with water and cover with a plate. Leave to sit over night.
  • In the morning transfer fruit and liquid into a thick based pot and add honey.
  • Boil until the liquid has reduced and the marmalade has thickened.  A good test is to put some marmalade onto a saucer and run your finger through it.  If the marmalade stays apart then it is ready and if it runs back together it needs more boiling and reducing.
  • Bottle into warm sterilised jars.


Hope this finds you enjoy the fruits of your life.



Time to preserve


The plum trees are full and ready for the picking along with the apples, the last of the citrus are falling and finally stone fruit is cheap in the supermarket.  It seems that Autumn is on its way and the time is ready for preserving.


Getting ready for a small batch of  plum sauce

This is just a quick post, and maybe a tad annoying for those who like measurements, to remind you that all those yummy preserves don’t need to be sugar laden.  For some years now I have been creating marmalade, plum jam and plum sauce without the aid of sugar and instead just use honey as a sweetener when needed.  It definitely takes a little longer and a bit more watching, for me though the results are worth it – refined sugar free stockpiles to get us through winter.

So far I have only used plums (jam and sauce) and citrus (marmalade) which have been a success.  With jam I pretty much just cut the fruit then half cover with water and then boil until fruit is soft and the liquid has reduced a fair bit.  At this point I take it off the heat and taste before adding a bit of honey and reducing further. The rest of course is the heat the jars and bottling the stuff up to enjoy :). It is a trial and error process but not too strenuous if you are around the house anyway.

Here is a Plum Sauce recipe I have adapted out of the good old kiwi Edmonds Cookbook

Plum Sauce

  • Plums
  • White Vinegar to cover
  • Honey to sweeten
  • 1 or 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • black pepper to taste
  • ground cloves (amount depends on plum amount 1 tsp for 1.4 kg plums)
  • ground ginger (amount depends on plum amount 1 tsp for 1.4 kg plums)
  • ground mace (amount depends on plum amount 1/2 tsp for 1.4 kg plums)
  • cayenne pepper (optional)
  • salt

-Cut up plums and cover with vinegar.  Add the spices and garlic.

-Bring to the boil, stirring frequently and continue boiling until mixture is pulpy.

-Take off the heat and taste then add honey to your desired sweetness (sometimes the plums have already done the job).

-Return to the boil to reduce down a little further but still leaving runny enough for a sauce.  You can then bottle like this or blend the mixture first depending on how smooth or chunky you like your sauce.

The sauce is great as a base on pizzas or as a side to home-made chips (fries) and a definite favourite around here!

Hope this finds you enjoying the sweetness of the season and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve used other fruit to make preserves without refined sugar:)