When I was a little kid, I preferred orange vegetables over any other color so much that I developed a yellowish hue. It’s a real thing, and my parents took me to the doctor for it. They recommended incorporating other colors of foods, but I was set in my ways from an early age (this is where my Mom would say, “THAT’S an understatement, Rachael!).
In the years since my oranging, I have learned to balance out the food colors, erring on the green end of the spectrum when at all possible. But, there’s always that part of me that longs for sweet potato, butternut squash, pumpkin, and, you guessed it, carrots.
Combine that background with a passion for jams, jellies, preserves, and marmalades, and you get this delicious carrot marmalade.
This recipe is a very grown-up take on my childhood favorite, and it’s complicated flavors would probably send little me running for the hills. For grown-up me, it’s a lovely, adult addition to all varieties of things, especially homemade yogurt and pancakes.
I know what you’re thinking…Why carrot marmalade? Why not orange marmalade? Or carrot cake? Or anything else that doesn’t turn carrots into a jam of sorts?
Well, the truth is, I found this recipe, and just had to give it a go. It’s a little unusual, but very simple. It was the perfect foray into the marmalade world, to which I shall return often. The person who shared this recipe on Food.com found it in the Canadian Farm Cookbook of 1911, which makes it over 100 years old. I don’t know about you, but that makes it even more palatable and exciting to me. Although I did follow the guidelines and ingredients of the traditional recipe, I did make a few adjustments.
- 1 orange
- 1 lemon
- 2 cups of shredded carrots
- 2 cups of water
- 2.5 cups of sugar
- 1 tbs of ginger, diced finely (optional)
- First, wash the citrus in very hot water to remove any wax from the outside. If possible, try to use organic citrus.
- Dice both the orange and lemon (rind and all) into extremely fine chunks. Remove all seeds when you see them. Place the diced fruit into a large stock pot, and then add the sugar and water. Do not heat yet.
- Wash, peel, and shred the carrots (use any color you’d like). Then, add those to the pot.
- Peel and dice finely the ginger. This will help brighten the flavor and remove some of the bitterness inherent to the lemon and orange peels. Totally optional.
- Turn the heat onto medium, and stir to integrate the sugar with the water. Then, heat the mixture up to a full boil, and allow to cook for at least 30 minutes. Stir very often (or you can end up with a messy, hardened, candied blob).
- Keep an eye on the mixture. You want it to be thick and for the carrots to start looking glazed (like glass), and you don’t want a watery dish.
- Once the mixture is thick (you’ll know), remove from the heat and let it set.
- You can preserve this marmalade by canning. To do so, be sure to sanitize the containers completely and then boil in hot water to seal completely. Since I don’t have canning equipment, I’ve stored mine in plastic containers, which I will freeze and refrigerate.
Really, that’s it! This is a pretty simple recipe with a great flexibility. Feel free to add pineapple, cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean, or anything else you might like. However, please do note that you MUST add some citrus (full peel and rind) to get the thickened, marmalade consistency.
A note on bitterness:
I will say, in advance, that this recipe is somewhat bitter. That’s why little me wouldn’t like it. But, it’s not a bad bitter. I suspect that you could reduce that by using a sweet orange with a thinner pith. It’s highly manageable and not unpleasant, but it is there. Actually, it would be perfect with dark chocolate…
Would you ever try a recipe like this? Have you made marmalade in the past? With what would you serve this?
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