Interested in making Mandarin Orange Jam? Not marmalade. I mean jam with just the fruity segments of mandarin oranges – no peel. Well, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a mandarin orange jam that’s made with No Sugar Needed Pectin to give you a super quick and easy orange jam that’s not overly sweet and without the bitterness of marmalade.
Can You Make Jam with Mandarin Oranges?
Of course you can!
We always go crazy for the first mandarins of the season, but by the third box our enthusiasm slows down and I need different ways to enjoy this seasonal fruit. That’s how I ended up with Homemade Canned Mandarins and this mandarin orange jam.
My experiments have proven – you absolutely can make jam with mandarin oranges!
Why Use Commercial Pectin?
If you understand pectin and jam making, you know that commercial pectin is often made using citrus fruit – particularly the pith, seeds and peel. They use citrus because it is super high in natural pectin. For us jam makers that means if we use citrus, especially if we somehow incorporate the pith, seeds and peel (like in marmalade) we don’t need commercial pectin when making jam with citrus.
However, when relying on the natural pectin in citrus, you also need a lot of sugar to get a proper gel set. You need roughly 60-65% of your jam mix to be sugar, ie. more sugar than fruit.
And, if not using commercial pectin, you need to cook the fruit longer to get the right gel set and you need to test for the gel set.
So, I use commercial pectin, in this case No Sugar Needed Pectin, because:
- it’s easier
- it’s faster
- it allows me to make jam without using the pith, seeds or peel of the mandarin oranges
- it allows me to reduce the amount of sugar I use (CAUTION: Always read the ingredient list of commercial pectin – some No Sugar varieties include dextrose (a type of sugar) or artificial sweeteners like aspartame). If you want to avoid sugar or artificial sweeteners completely look at Pomona Pectin as indicated on Pectin Chart.
If you prefer to avoid using commercial pectin, this recipe is not for you.
Mandarin Orange Jam Recipe
Now that we have all that out of the way. Here’s my recipe for Mandarin Orange Jam followed by photos of the process.
- 2 lb mandarin oranges (10-12)
- 1 lemon
- 1 cup sugar*
- 1 pack No Sugar Needed Pectin
- Peel mandarins and remove as much of the white pith as possible from the outside and center of the oranges. Remove any seeds that may be lurking in your "seedless" oranges.
- You do not need to remove the membranes separating the segments, however, if any are very loose, remove them.
- Chop mandarin segments into small pieces. If using a food processor or immersion blender, do so briefly to avoid completely pureeing the oranges.
- Zest and juice the lemon, add to oranges.
- You should have 4 cups of prepared oranges. Add orange juice or more orange segments as necessary.
- Wash jars and lids and keep hot. (No need to sterilize).
- In large saucepan, combine 4 cups prepared oranges and No Sugar Needed powdered pectin. Stir until pectin is fully dissolved.
- Over high heat, bring mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring frequently.
- Add sugar. Stir constantly and return mixture to a full rolling boil for 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Pour into hot jars leaving a 1/4 inch headspace.
- Wipe rim of jars and apply 2 piece lids tightening ring finger tight.
- Place jars in hot water bath and boil for 10 minutes (begin timing when water starts boiling).
- Allow jars to rest in canner for 5 minutes, then remove and allow to cool.
- These jars will last on a shelf for one year.
- Makes: 4-5 half pint (250 mL) jars
- Peeling and removing the white bits from the oranges eliminates any bitterness. It's easy, but time consuming - I did this while watching my favorite shows.
- Jars do not need to be sterilized because the hot water bath processing is 10 minutes.
- *Sugar Note: The beauty of No Sugar Needed Pectin is that you can add as much or as little sugar as you want. I recommend 1-2 cups sugar for flavor. Sugar also helps preserve color of jams and allows you to keep jams longer once opened and in the fridge.
- For more details about the hot water bath read Step By Step Guide to Hot Water Bath Canning"
Hot Water Bath Processing
All preserves intended to sit on the pantry shelf require some processing. High acid foods including jams, pickles and most canned fruits need a hot water bath (boiling the filled jars in hot water for a specified time). Low acid foods or combination foods like vegetables, soups, meat or fish require pressure canning or a different type of processing.
To ensure a safe, good quality product with a tight seal, this mandarin orange jam needs a hot water bath after the jars are filled.
Click here for a full Step By Step Guide to Hot Water Bath Canning.
Preparing the Mandarin Oranges
The more of the white stringy bits, the pith, you remove the less bitterness you’ll have. I used a paring knife to scrape the sides of the oranges. Yes, it takes time, but I did this while watching my favorite Netflix shows – no big deal.
Here’s a truly naked orange!
Split it open and remove the white parts from the center. Again, I used a paring knife and cut out that part. Unless the membrane between the segments was really loose and super easy to remove, I didn’t bother removing the membranes.
Bowl of naked mandarin segments.
I used an immersion blender to chop the mandarin segments being sure to leave some chunks. Once you cook the oranges, they break down a little more so keeping some bigger pieces made sure there’s some texture in the final jam.
After that it was off to the stove to make the jam.
How to Use Mandarin Orange Jam?
Start by putting it on toast, bagels or sweet biscuits. Yum!
Other ideas include:
- topping for ice cream
- yogurt, mandarin orange jam and granola parfaits
- pancake, waffle or French toast topping
- thumbprint cookie jam
- glaze for ham or turkey
- smoothie or shake sweetener
- sweet and sour sauce ingredient
- filling for layered cake
- addition to fruit leather
- addition to salad dressing
- topping for baked brie
And of course, it makes an ideal gift, especially during the holiday season.
Is mandarin orange jam in your future? If so, please take a pic and share it with me by tagging @getgettys on Instagram. Or leave a comment and let me know how it went.
Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist, speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas. She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.