I’ve got 80 jars of jam sitting in my basement right now.

I’ve got 10 more empty jars on the kitchen counter, recently boiled and sterilized, waiting to be filled with orange thyme marmalade.

Orange Thyme Marmalade | Things I Made TodayThis has become my December tradition—run around frantically buying all the local stores out of small canning jars, send Jason to the grocery store at least three times mid-batch to get more sugar, forget that the sanitization and sealing of the jars makes the whole process take seven times longer than just making the jams, and generally make a mess of the kitchen in an attempt to send all our family and friends my favorite concoctions from the year.

Orange Thyme Marmalade | Things I Made Today

This year we’ll be delivering three flavors: cranberry lime curd, pear cardamom, and this orange thyme marmalade which may be my new favorite. Initially, I set out to make sour cherry preserves as the final flavor, but unbeknownst to me even frozen sour cherries are incredibly difficult to get this time of year. So oranges it is.

Orange Thyme Marmalade | Things I Made Today

There is definitely a bit of work to getting a perfect marmalade. You need to peel the oranges and then peel them again to get the extra pith off. It’s tedious. You need to boil the peels three times to get all that bitterness out. But again, it’s worth the effort.

Orange Thyme Marmalade | Things I Made Today

What you get is a perfectly blended marmalade, with a good texture from the peels and a nice hint of herb from the thyme. It’s subtle and simple and really delicious.

Orange Thyme Marmalade | Things I Made Today

I’ll be packaging up this and the other flavors this week and sending them out to all our friends and family. I know it’s not much, but it’s kind of my favorite gift to give.

Orange Thyme Marmalade | Things I Made Today

Here’s to hoping that I have just enough left over to spread it on my croissant in the morning.

Orange Thyme Marmalade | Things I Made Today

Orange Thyme Marmalade
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 40-50 ounces
  • 6 navel oranges
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 6 sprigs of thyme
  1. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the a thin layer of the peel off the oranges. Next, use a sharp knife to scrape any remaining pitch off the inside of the peel. The more pith you can remove the less bitter the marmalade will be. Slice peels into thin strips.
  2. Place peels into a large saucepan and fill with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Discard water. Repeat two times, adding new water each time and boiling for 10 minutes to get rid of bitterness.
  3. Meanwhile, use a sharp knife to peel the remaining pith off the main part of the oranges so only the edible part of the fruit remains. Cut each orange in half lengthwise, then chop into half moons.
  4. Once peels are done boiling, discard water. Add orange slices, 6 cups water, lemon juice, sugar, and thyme to the saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 40-50 minutes, until mixture has reduced by about half and has thickened. Remove from heat and use a spoon to pick out the thyme sprigs. The leaves will have fallen off, but the stems should be intact. Discard stems.
  5. Let marmalade cool. It should firm up significantly and have the consistency of honey. If it doesn't once cooled, bring back to a boil for 10-15 minutes more.
  6. Spoon marmalade into sanitized jars or store in tupperware in the fridge for up to two weeks.


For the last few years, I’ve been spending late November and early December frantically making jam and preserves for all our friends and family.

This has become our go-to gift for the holidays. It’s an effort to share something that I love but also to put a stop to buying things that no one needs as a way to show my gratitude for having them in my life. But the irony of all this jam making is that there is an artisan producer right here in Madison that does it year-round, and with significantly more mastery than I do.

Twisted Bread Stuffed with Shallot Confit and Blue Cheese | Things I Made Today read the rest »

It never ceases to amaze the things that are still popping out of the ground in early December.

You’d think by now that Wisconsin would be frozen over, and yet, there are still greens showing up in our CSA. This week, I’m heading out to Salt Lake City for a work trip so Jason and Theo are in charge of putting this all to good use, but I’ve dreamed up a few ideas on their behalf.

CSA Series {Week 23} | Things I Made Today

Here’s what I’d be cooking if I was at home: read the rest »