Bergamot Marmalade

Okay, so this post is really only going to be of benefit to people in California, Brazil, France, Italy and a few other places, but this is basically all I've been thinking about recently. Everyone else can pretend I'm talking about regular sour oranges, or can call their local produce vendor to see about acquiring some of the little guys. I just can't keep it all in!

Anyway, I got my case of bergamot oranges delivered (by the way? Not a particularly easy feat when you live in a citrus state and need citrus from another citrus state). I zested and juiced 26 of the oranges the day before yesterday, my head spinning with all the possibilities. It's been so long since my home has smelled like this lovely, spicy, beautiful orange. Because I didn't have enough ice cube trays to deal with the juice (okay... in fairness, to deal w/ the juice and the vegetable stock I'm also freezing 2 tablespoons at a time), I stuck the 10 cups of juice in a container and stuffed it in the fridge, and then I oven dried all the zest overnight. I've been slowly freezing a tray of juice here and there, transferring the cubes to gallon sized freezer bags (I'm really going to have to cook one of those turkeys soon I think, so free up some space) as I have time.

Yesterday we went and got a couple more ice trays (and a new tv for P), and by the time we'd come home, I was certain I wanted to make a batch of bergamot marmalade. Well, and curd. But I'm not doing the curd until tomorrow or the next day. It's a modified version of the grapefruit marmalade recipe in the Ball Blue Book. Enjoy!

4 bergamot oranges, broken down into 2/3 cup thinly sliced peel (with some pith) and about 1 1/2 cup pulp, broken into large-ish bits.
1 quart water

Peel and supreme the oranges. This recipe takes the peel of about 2 oranges. I used a vegetable peeler on the other two and oven dried the peel, but kept the ends, pith, seeds and membranes (from all the oranges that didn't have their peel/pith go into cut peel, I just kept the seeds and membranes) because they have a lot of pectin and for some reason my stuff always takes an eternity to set. Every bit helps, I guess. Tie up all the ends, pith, seeds and membranes in cheese cloth.

Take your sliced peel and cover w/ water. Boil for 10 minutes, then drain. Then add in the flesh, the quart of water and the cheese cloth of miscellaneous bits and boil another 10 minutes. Cover it and stick it in the fridge overnight (up to 18-ish hours). Discard cheesecloth bundle, and cook over low-ish heat until the peels are completely softened. Measure your mixture and add an equal volume of sugar to it (i.e., if you have 4 cups of mixture, add 4 cups of sugar). Reheat it, stirring it until the sugar dissolves, then cook rapidly until it reaches the gelling point (go down to the part about how to tell when it's gelled). Pack into hot jars, leaving 1/4" head space, then process for 15 minutes (at sea level). Makes about 3 half-pints, theoretically, but I wound up w/ 5 (which means it probably won't set perfectly, so I will probably fix it, one jar at a time later, when I want to use it, since I don't really feel like dealing with it at the moment).


  1. Anonymous6:40 PM

    Wow! You did a lot of work! Sounds so good though :)

  2. Hi, Allie. I've never heard of Bergamont oranges before. That's why I love blogging...there's always something to learn.

  3. Maryann,

    Y'know, sometimes I think I just stop cooking my preserves even though I know they won't set up right. I think I just get tired of standing there? When I tasted them before canning, though, they were the perfect mix of sweet and sour.


    Bergamot oranges are by far my favourite citrus, though typically I just use the juice in a pie I make (most people say only the peel is edible, but I've found that to not be true). You're near the Bay Area, right? If so, Monterrey Market in Berkeley sells these oranges, and I believe the farmer's market in Marin also sometimes carries them.

    They are very, very sour - a cross between the Seville orange and the pear lemon. They make lovely "lemonade" (I call it bergamade), are good for pies, to marinate fish and meat in, and the peel is a lovely substitute for anything you'd put orange or lemon peel in.

  4. Bergamot isn't an orange, it's a citrus. It's a citrus the size of an orange, with a yellow color. It comes from the word bergamotto in Italian; the "t" is pronounced.

    Thanks for the idea, I will take the 4 Bergamot fruits I obtained recently and try your marmalade recipe. It should be a marmalade with some very complex flavors. I think I'll try candied Bergamot peel for the rest of the rinds, maybe even dip them in chocolate... that would be a taste treat.

    Lisa in

  5. Lisa,

    The bergamot is indeed an orange - it's in the aurantium species which is designated for bitter oranges (such as the Seville, Chinotto and a couple others).

    I'm very happy for you that you were able to obtain some of them! The peels are lovely when candied, though I've never dipped them in chocolate. I hope you enjoy the marmalade! Also, bergamots make a wonderful curd.

  6. Yes, you're right, they're in the aurantium class of hybrids, but not in sinensis (sweet oranges).

    Did you see this? If you can get your hand on some bitter oranges, apparently you can make your own Grand Marnier! Whoopee! I can make something more with my Sevilles than just marmalade! And Grand Marnier is so expensive...

    "Grand Marnier is a liqueur created in 1880 by Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle. It is made from a blend of true cognacs and distilled essence of bitter orange."

  7. Lisa,

    That's hilarious. I see Seville's ALL THE TIME here. Sadly, the bergamots are the ones I have trouble finding. I always have to get them shipped in from somewhere else (usually California). I never buy the Seville's though, since all I really know to use them for is marmalade (and I use the bergamots, in part, for that). Now I know there's another use. Thanks!

  8. Hey, I used your Bergamot marmalade recipe today.. sort of. I don't see anywhere where you say how much sugar you used. Are you using the 1:1 ratio for liquid to sugar? That's what I did, and I now have 5-3/4 half-pint jars that have sealed nicely. I will just have to attack the 3/4 jar soon... soon.

    I candied the rest of the peel and will try dipping them with bitter chocolate.

    Now to attack the rest of the harvest. We have an annual pilgrimage to Lindcove where we (the California Rare Fruit Growers) pick as much rare citrus as we can take home in paper bags... it's obscene, really. This was two weeks ago. I have to make SEVERAL more batches of marmalade. So any advice on what to do with all of these before they spoil is appreciated. I have a lot of clementines, pummelos and grapefruit left. My favorite is Sarawak, which is best eaten fresh, but I will make marmalade and dry some peel.


  9. Lisa,

    Goodness, I did leave it completely out of the recipe, didn't I? Yeah, I just used the marmalade standard, but it looks like I forgot to even say where you put the sugar in! Thanks for pointing that out!

    I'm envious of your citrus haul, but NOT envious of all the work you have to do to preserve it! I would make several jars of curd, since you can use it for scones, toast and as a tart filling. Or just to eat with a spoon (my favourite). And of course, the marmalade. You can also freeze the zest (or if you have a lot of freezer space, freeze the halved, juiced orange rinds and just grate them while they're still frozen). I often also freeze the juice in ice cube trays, 2 tablespoons per cube. Then you can use them to make drinks, or to cook with later, or for marinades or anything else you might use citrus juice for. Oh, and perhaps you can dry some zest also. When I'm short on freezer space I zest them and then I dry the zest in the oven.

    Oh, and since you have some lovely eating fruits (pomelo is one of my favourites!), you could always supreme some fruits, make a light vinaigrette and turn them into winter salads. They'd be lovely with some pear or apple, some field greens and maybe feta or gorgonzola I think.

  10. Okay, Lisa. I finally remembered that you told me I'd neglected to add the sugar into the body of the recipe (now that I've taken my differentials exam, my brain is starting to settle down a bit into some semblance of something functional), and I've fixed it. Thanks for letting me know that was missing!

  11. Allie, I think you'll like this recipe... I just made a huge batch of membrillo, and covering some of it with chocolate sounds pretty enticing!

  12. Great idea, Lisa! I make a batch of membrillo each year (or if I'm lazy I just make quince jam), but I've never covered it in chocolate. Looks amazing!

    And, how've you been doing lately?


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