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Single Malt Marmalade ~ A Toast to Robbie Burns

January 26, 2012

Scotland is one of our most favorite countries to visit.  The rugged lush green landscape is dotted with livestock, castles, and abbeys and in every town the people are welcoming and friendly.  It’s truly the place one can learn what the term “Highland Hospitality” means.  It’s been a few years since we were last there but at any time we are able to revisit it in our minds.  And we do!

Our next recipe is a sort of salute to Robert Burns, Scotland’s most famous poet, who resided in the town of Ayr in the 18th century (above a photo of his cottage).  Every year on or around the poet’s birthday (January 25, 1759) Scots (and those who wish they were) gather together to enjoy a feast of traditional Scottish dishes.  This feast typically includes haggis and a series of toasts where glasses are raised and whiskey is consumed.  While, a feast of haggis is not in the cards one of our favorite marmalade recipes is.


  • 6 valencia or cara cara oranges (these are both sweet oranges with thinner skin than the navel orange)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple; peeled, cored and grated
  • 4 cups carrots; peeled and finely grated; about 4 large carrots
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 large lemon;  juiced to equal approximately 1/3 of a cup
  • 1/4 cup single malt Scotch whiskey (only the good stuff for you Robbie)
  • 1/2 tsp whole allspice
  • 1 cinnamon stick; broken into pieces to fit spice ball
  1. Prepare for water bath canning.  The preparation time for this recipe is approximately 1 hour so start your water bath and sterilize your jars while cooking the marmalade.  Sterilizing jars in the over at 250F for 30 minutes is our preferred method.
  2. Place a plate and/or a few spoons in the freezer for set test.
  3. Place allspice and cinnamon pieces into a spiceball or double layered piece of cheesecloth.  Set aside.
  4. Wash oranges and lemon well.  Using a vegetable peeler remove the outer peel from both the oranges and the lemon.  Cut the citrus peel into thin strips using a pair of sharp scissors.  Note: the thickness of the peel is a personal choice and will affect the consistency of the marmalade.  We trim the citrus peel into very thin pieces and leave them long.  Set aside.
  5. Juice the peeled lemon and reserve the juice (should equal approximately 1/3 cup). 
  6. Working over a glass or stainless steel bowl, to collect any juice, remove the membrane of the orange from the pith.  Discard the white pith and seeds.
  7. Place orange segments into a large stainless steel saucepan.  Add grated apple, carrots, water, reserved orange and lemon peel and spiceball to the stainless steel saucepan.  Note: we use a very fine grater for the carrots ~ again it’s all about the texture you want to achieve with the finish product.
  8. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.  Reduce heat, cover and boil gently, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.  Add sugar and lemon juice and stir to combine well.  Boil rapidly, stirring often, until marmalade reaches the set point, approximately 20-25 minutes.  Do a set test using the plate and/or spoons from the freezer and dropping a dab of the marmalade on the plate.  Place back in the freezer for 1 minute, remove and run finger through the middle.  If it stays separated it is ready.  If not, continue boiling and check again in a few minutes. 
  9. Once marmalade has set stir in Scotch.
  10. Remove marmalade from the heat and discard spiceball.  Skim foam.
  11. Ladle hot marmalade into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace.  Remove air bubbles and top up with marmalade, if necessary.  Wipe rims with a damp paper towel, center lids on jars and screw bands on adjusting so that they are just  finger-tip tight.  Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.  Remove lid and wait 5 minutes before removing jars to a folded towel on the counter.
  12. Check seals, label jars, and store.  Refrigerate any unsealed jars.

This marmalade is excellent and brings a smile to our faces every time we crack a jar (even if it does smell like Barbie dolls).   Just the name “single malt marmalade” reminds of us of our adventure in Scotland and how thoroughly we relished every experience.  We can’t wait to go back!

Put up Total:

  • 5 x 236mL regular mouth mason jars
12 Comments leave one →
  1. January 27, 2012 8:52 am

    You’ve done it again! I’m so excited to try this. I bought whiskey last year to use in a marm and didn’t get around to it (ended up using the whiskey in a hot toddy). This recipe has got me excited for another kick at the can! (ha).

    This summer, I went to a distillery in Cape Breton and brought home some souvenirs. I think Robbie would be happy.

  2. permalink
    January 27, 2012 8:54 am


    “Smells like Barbie dolls”??? Explain, please!

    • January 27, 2012 9:11 am

      Matt too is not really sure what I meant by this…as he doesn’t know what Barbie dolls smell like? But, when you first open the jar it has an interesting smell which I think comes from the scotch…Barbie dolls is what comes to my mind. Don’t let this stop you from making it though ~ ’cause it’s really yummy!

  3. January 27, 2012 12:02 pm

    This sounds delicious. The amount of sugar required is not listed in the ingredients.

  4. January 27, 2012 1:12 pm

    Man oh man am I going to try this! The only thing my family ever got close to with canning before I started doing it was my Mimi’s (grandmother) Calamondin Marmalade. She also happens to be the scotch drinker of the family. This is the perfect mix, and when I make a batch, she will be the first to test it!

    Speaking of canning, I remember that I said I would send y’all a jar of okra when I pickled some more. I got wiped out of it this fall, but just made a fresh batch last weekend. Can you email your address and I’ll get a fresh jar shipped up to you?

    • January 27, 2012 2:33 pm

      That is so sweet of you! You know I love okra. We would happily appreciate a jar of yours…can you send me the recipe too!

  5. January 27, 2012 2:11 pm

    Do you let it mellow for a while before you eat it? Or is it good the same day?

  6. suzy permalink
    March 2, 2012 8:47 pm

    I’m wondering what’s wrong with me that it’s taking me hours and hours to prepare the fruit for the marmalade. And 4 cups of carrots = 4 large carrots? I have grated 6 already and just have 2 cups.

    I’m wondering how dumb i am…

    • March 3, 2012 3:19 pm

      Marmalade is a time consuming process…but worth it in the end!
      We always try to give the cup measure and this is a perfect example of why…because size of fruits and veggies vary so much.
      We hope it turns out awesome and that you find it worth the effort. Good luck!

      • suzy permalink
        March 4, 2012 9:06 am

        i am not a jelly/jam/marmalade eater myself but my husband said it is ‘excellent’….I will definitely be making it again! Thanks for the recipe! (And a reason to buy a great bottle of scotch…ohmy, what to do with the leftover???)

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