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Citrus Marmalade – The Chia Experiment

experiments with marmalade

My parents have been visiting this week and they arrived with a huge box of oranges and mandarins from a friends house plus avocados. The mandarins are divinely sweet and the kids have been eating so many of them that they both developed a reaction around their lips. With so many to use the obvious thing to make was a batch of marmalade. That also meant that I could send some back to the lovely people who gifted them to us. I had not yet experimented with using chia as a sugar replacement in jam or marmalade so decided to give it a try alongside a regular batch and compare the two.

Chia vs Sugar Marmalade

Do you want to know the verdict?

Chia Seed Marmalade

The chia seed version was very quick and easy to make. The chia seeds act as the gelling agent and thicken the mixture, although in the case of marmalade there is not too much to thicken if you are include all of the peel. I know that some people remove most of it but I tend to just leave it in. I loved that the flavour of this marmalade was not too tart. It is a smooth tasting marmalade, quite lovely and gentle but it does have a grainy texture that comes from the chia seeds. It certainly doesn’t look like regular marmalade but if you can get over that the flavor is lovely. Based on what I have read about using chia seeds in jams it will last stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or may be frozen for a longer shelf life.

Citrus Marmalade

The regular sugar based version of this marmalade was divine. It was not tart and the aftertaste was not too sweet. This can probably be attributed to the sweet home grown mandarins. The marmalade took longer to make than the chia seed version as you need to wait until the liquid reaches setting point of 222F. The result was a marmalade the glorious color of liquid gold. Simply looking at this marmalade on a cold winter morning is almost enough to warm you through. It will last a few months when stored in a cool dark location.

I am not sure I can decide which I like the most. If I had to choose I think I would go with the regular version. I love the chia seed version for it’s simplicity and fresh flavor and the regular version for it’s gorgeous well rounded flavor and texture. If you are seeking to reduce your intake of refined sugar give the chia one a try.

Citrus Marmalade - The Chia Experiment
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Cook time
Total time
Citrus Chia Seed Marmalade. A quick marmalade for a refined sugar free breakfast spread option.
Recipe type: Marmalade
Serves: 540 ml
  • 1 star anaise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 lemon - sliced finely
  • 1 orange - sliced very finely
  • 4 mandarins - sliced very finely
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 and ½ tablespoons chia seeds.
  1. Add all of the ingredients to a wide based pan on the stove top, except the chia seeds.
  2. Bring to a gently simmer over a low heat for 15-20 minutes until the peel of the fruit has softened.
  3. At this point if there are any larger sized pieces of peel in the mix they can be removed
  4. Add the chia seeds and stir for a couple of minutes
  5. Pot into steralised jars
  6. Store all jars in the fridge and use in less than 2 weeks.
Leave out the skin from the ends of the fruit that contain only pith and any large thick pieces. The more fruit included in this recipe the better (as opposed to the peel)
This is the recipe for a regular citrus marmalade
Citrus Marmalade - The Chia Experiment
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This citrus marmalade uses gorgeous home grown citrus and a little less sugar than usual for a lovely sweet breakfast spread
Recipe type: Marmalade with sugar
Serves: 1 liter
  • 1 cup of freshly juiced orange (2-3 oranges)
  • 2 oranges - finely sliced
  • 1 lemon finely sliced
  • 6 mandarins finely sliced
  • 1 kg sugar
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  1. Add all of the ingredients to a wide based pot on the stove top and bring to the boil
  2. Simmer for 20 minutes until the skin of the fruit softens
  3. Increase heat until the temperature reaches 222 degrees Fahrenheit
  4. Remove from the heat and pot into steralised jars.
  5. Store open jars in the fridge and remaining jars in a cool dry location.
Yield is an approximate. I used various sized jars to pot into and forgot to measure them prior - sorry!

*Any food that is kept in storage for a period of time must be checked for signs of spoilage prior to eating, ensure that it is discarded if there are any signs of spoilage or if you are unsure of the storage duration.

Have you attempted using chia seeds to make marmalade? If so what were your thoughts?






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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Cyndie July 25, 2015, 3:58 pm

    Hi Kyrstie, your recipes look so good! I have never made jam or marmalade as I don’t eat it often but it’s definitely a great way to use fruits. I make fruit puree a lot (apple, pear, banana), it looks like baby food but it is what we call ‘compote’ in France and adult like it a lot too. I look forward to catching up with you next month at #pbevent!

  • e / dig in hobart July 27, 2015, 10:38 am

    I have sent this to the marmalade maker in my family – mum! do you think the chia version would keep for as long? because sugar does act as a preserving agent. interesting!

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