Jayne’s nearly-Roses lime marmalade (recipe)

800g limes (approx, no need to be exact)
1 lemon
1 kilo white sugar
1.2 litres cold water

Equipment: a potato peeler, a very sharp knife, a 30cm square piece of muslin, jam jars and a large saucepan

First of all, place a small plate or saucer into your freezer – you will need this later to test whether the marmalade has set, and it needs to be very cold.

Peel the zest from the limes and the lemon, using a potato peeler (it is easiest to do this from top to bottom, rather than trying to peel around the fruit horizontally). You will get a thin layer of pith attached to the zest, but that’s fine, it will just dissolve.

Using a very sharp knife, shred the zest into very thin strips. If you prefer, you could cut it into larger pieces and put them into a mini food processor – it will taste exactly the same, but the finished marmalade won’t look quite so pretty. Put the shredded zest into your saucepan.

IMG_0434.JPG    IMG_0435.JPG

Again, using a sharp knife, slice the white pith away from the fruit, then collect the pith pieces and any pips in the piece of muslin (you could also use a blue J-cloth – I am currently cutting up an old Ikea muslin curtain that used to hang in our office – any thin cotton fabric works, just make sure whatever you are using is clean).

Cut the flesh of the fruit (including the thin pith that holds the segments together) into small chunks and add to the saucepan, along with any juice and the 1.2 litres of water. Try to pick out any pips, though one or two don’t matter. If your family are litigious and likely to give you a dentist’s bill, just don’t share the marmalade with them.

Tie up the muslin from corner to corner and add the muslin pouch to the pan – it is the white pith that contains a lot of the pectin in the fruit, which is what makes the marmalade set.

IMG_0436.JPGCover the pan with a lid, bring to the boil, then turn the heat right down and simmer, covered, for about 1.5 hours.

Remove the muslin pouch from the water and, using a wooden spoon to squash it against the side of the saucepan, squeeze all the liquid from the pouch of pith back into the pan. (You may find it easier to put the pouch into a small sieve and squeeze it in that, holding it over the saucepan). Discard the pith once you’ve squeezed all the liquid out of it – I will leave it up to you whether you rescue the muslin and re-use it (I have a very large curtain to go at and I am supremely lazy, so no prizes for guessing what I do with mine).

Put the saucepan back over a medium heat and add the sugar. Stir continuously until all of the sugar has dissolved completely, making sure to brush down any crystals on the side of the pan. Do not allow the liquid to boil until the sugar has completely dissolved or your marmalade may crystallise. Once the liquid is completely clear, turn up the heat and bring the marmalade to the boil. It may splash, so make sure you use a long spoon for stirring and also ensure that the saucepan has plenty of space, so that the marmalade doesn’t boil all over your stove (been there, it’s not pretty).

IMG_0439.JPGAdjust the heat so that the marmalade stays on a fairly rolling boil but isn’t threatening to come up over the top of the pan. Cook for about ten minutes, then test for a set by putting a teaspoon of the marmalade onto your cold plate and then pushing it with your thumb to see if it wrinkles. If the blob of marmalade wrinkles, it is ready, otherwise cook for another two minutes and test again, repeating if necessary. The marmalade does change colour when it is ready, but the difference can be quite subtle, so the cold plate test is the most reliable.

Once the marmalade is ready, pot into hot, sterilised (see note below) jars and seal tightly. The jars must be hot or they will crack when your pour in the hot marmalade.


1. To sterilise your jars, wash in hot soapy water, rinse well, then put on a tray in a 100°C oven for a few minutes until hot. Alternatively, wash the jars in a dishwasher and use them as soon as the cycle has finished, while they are still very hot.

2. In the unlikely event that you discover your marmalade hasn’t set when it has cooled, just tip back into the pan, bring to the boil and then repeat the setting process, checking every two minutes. You will need to wash and re-sterilise the jars.


28 thoughts on “Jayne’s nearly-Roses lime marmalade (recipe)

  1. Just finished my first attempt at Lime Marmalade – can’t believe how effective the natural pectin is! Got two pots. Does this seem right? Thanks, William.


    1. It sounds as though you might have let the water evaporate a little more than I did. I would generally expect to get three to four 500g (1lb) pots from 1kg fruit made with this method (it’s usually three full pots plus a bit). That might be why your pectin seems to have been so very effective! I’m just perfecting a new (much less time-intensive) recipe, which I will post asap. It gives a greater yield, generally a slightly softer set and nowhere near as much fiddly chopping and zesting. Rainy windy day today, so might even manage it this afternoon. Hope you like the taste, even if it is a bit on the firm side!


      1. I halved the ingredients so made about 1 and half jars tasted a little bitter but not cooled yet, I like it to be tart but not bitter is it too much zest or pith do you think?


      2. Hi Tracey – sorry, there seems to be a glitch with wordpress – just answered you, but don’t think it sent! It shouldn’t be bitter from the zest unless you weren’t able to remove most of the pith (a sharp potato peeler is best for zesting). It should be quite tart – once the marmalade has cooled, I would leave it at least a week or so (longer if you can wait), as it does mellow in the jar as well. I sometimes make marmaade with whole limes and just chop them when they are cooked, so all the pith stays in as well, and it’s still not bitter. Is it possible you could have got the sugar content wrong? Hope the taste improves when it’s cooled.


  2. I Love Roses Lime Marmalade…We Have A Bunch Of Limes So I’m Excited To Try This…It’s Quite Labour Intensive But No Doubt Worth It! My Hubby Is Not A Marmalade Fan But I’ve Told Him That He Would Love Roses Lime Marmalade If We Could Get It…Seeing As We Can’t Get It, I’m Gonna Make Him Some. Thanks For Sharing This Recipe!!


    1. I’m generally with your hubby – I don’t like oranges, so I always hated normal marmalade, but my mother used to buy me Rose’s (I like the lemon and lime too). My recipe is quite a bit sharper than Rose’s, but if you wanted something nearer in flavour, just add a bit more sugar. The limes have loads of pectin, so it will still set perfectly well. Hope it turns out well. I have now made the new Seville orange/lime mix, which is a much easier recipe (not so much faffing) and I have also made a couple of jars of it with just limes, which has worked out really well too, so I will share that in the next day or two.


  3. Hi Jayne, interesting recipe thank you. I made a load of nearly Rose’s Lime Marmalade using my trusted nearly Golden Shred recipe which produces a beautiful very clear golden result. (Sorry you don’t like oranges!).
    I was in a SuperU market in France last week and shocked to find Rose’s Lime marmalade and Frank Cooper’s Vintage Oxford marmalade on the shelf. It was positively a Wow! Moment. Born in Derby in ‘52 it brought back memories of wonderful breakfasts with my Grandmother.
    Then I tasted the Lime marmalade and it is a pale shadow of what I remember. Thus, I was moved to look for a replica recipe and found yours which, with some slight differences, is very similar to my own. I make syrup with sugar and some water before adding it to the lime juice, pulp etc
    I squeeze my muslin into separate pot and boil it to make sure it is clear before adding it to the main pot, and boil hard until it reaches 105c.
    I make tons of jams, marmalades, syrups, cordials, chutneys out of all sorts of things. The hedges and woods are full of great stuff to cook with. I call it God’s supermarket! I also make my own pectin from crab apples, but lime as you know, like Elderberry has a huge amount of its own natural pectin.
    Today Rose’s put all sorts of crap in their marmalade, presumably to increase shelf life, all of which is totally unnecessary and could not possibly have been in the original 1930’s recipe.
    Your recipe, like my own is just lime juice, pulp, pips, finely cut peel, sugar and water. I can leave it in the cellar for years and my chums are always delighted when I give them a pot. No need for additives, colourings, E this and E that nonsense!
    I will write to the company and ask them why they don’t just work with the original recipe.
    Nice to find a fellow foodie who is old school and does things proper!
    Thanks again!


    1. I’m pleased the marmalade turned out well. I completely agree about the Rose’s stuff – when I tried a jar it was so disappointingly sweet. Maybe it was always like that and we have just lost our sweet tooth as we’ve got older. And, like you, though I was born a decade later, I remember my granny always making huge vats of marmalade for my grandfather, who was from Aberdeen and liked the really bitter stuff.

      Living in a town where oranges are one of the main crops is an ongoing trial for me – even the shade trees in our main shopping streets are Seville orange. When I first lived in Turkey, I lived in a place called Turunc, which is the Turkish word for bitter oranges – you couldn’t make it up!

      I’ve also been using a Marguerite Patten recipe, which is really quick and easy if you haven’t the time (or inclination) to do a lot of shredding. You end up with a chunkier marmalade, but I quite like that. It works with any citrus fruit, though I always try to include a lemon to be on the safe side. My favourite is pink grapefruit, lemon and lime, but obviously ‘normal’ people can use oranges too. Here’s the method: https://aviewfrommykitchen.com/2017/11/19/easy-seville-orange-lime-marmalade/

      We have been in Cornwall for the last two months, but we’re back in Turkey in September, so we are going off to the west coast in search of Bodrum Bergamots – they make the most amazing marmalade when mixed with other fruits. We have planted a Bodrum Bergamot in our garden (named Pip by our friends, who had to share the back seat of the car with him on a one-week road trip – we bought him on Day One), but it teases us by having flowers every year, which then fall off before they fruit – this is probably due mainly to our spring hail storms, but I am starting to wonder if we need a second tree, though the nice man who grows them assured me that they would be pollinated as long as they were near other citrus. If you can ever get your hands on a bergamot, give it a go in some marmalade – you only need one with maybe two or three lemons or limes (or oranges), as the flavour is quite strong.

      Anyway, happy stirring. I am shaping up to a blog post, as we are off to pick blackberries this morning and hopefully photograph a family of buzzards we have been watching since March. The little ones were about to fledge when we left for Warwickshire three weeks ago, so we are hoping they are out having flying lessons. Thanks for you comments – if you want to follow the blog, there is a ‘follow’ tab at the very bottom right hand of the page.


      1. Hi there,
        That was fast!
        I’ll give the bergamots a go for sure.
        Spring and early summer is a really busy time isn’t it.
        First it’s the Seville Orange marmalade in late Feb, then tapping Birch sap, then looking for Morel and St George’s mushrooms, and then Wild Garlic (which drives me insane cos I just can’t find it in Brittany!).
        I’ve been making Elderberry Sparkling wine and cordial which is wonderful. Drinking some of last year’s bottles now and a year mellows it and makes a huge difference to the taste, if you can uncork it without blowing your head off.
        The heavy rain storms played played havoc with my cherries this year, lost the bloomin’ lot which was really a bore!
        Luckily I have farmer chums who produce wonderful cherries for soaking in alcohol, making Clafoutis, jam, jelly, ice cream.
        A wet June can even bring early Ceps de Bordeaux.
        Last year was insane for Ceps. We foraged about 12kg which was a record.
        Now it’s Peach, Strawberry, Raspberry, Greengage, Mirabelle plums, Reine Claude jams, jellies, pies, cakes, gelatoes, sorbets etc etc and that’s before you pull your waders on to go hunting for Moules, Oysters, Razor clams, crabs, lobsters. and fishing for trout, salmon, sea bass, plaice, and on and on.
        Next week I’m invited to shoot wild boar, pigeon, rabbit, hare in Normandy. You might be a vegetarian, I don’t know but when in the forest foraging for shrooms and a deer ambles past my mouth starts watering and I reach for my rifle and saucepan. We all have a hunter gatherer in our genes. September will be duck, grouse, pheasant, Roebuck and Deer. Then Hazel nuts and then more Ceps and Girolle mushrooms.
        So there’s no time to sit around. It never stops and I learn more and more as time goes by.
        For me it’s all about God’s larder and finding wonderful things to cook for the family and friends. It really doesn’t get any better than that does it!
        Somehow I have to find time for my other projects which revolve around renewable energy and trying to revive technology and medical treatments which have been hidden by the bad guys.
        Good to make your acquaintance.
        I’ll stay in touch.
        Enjoy the rest of the summer!


      2. Hi there I made Jayne’s nearly-Roses lime marmalade – i have used up every lime off my tree – totally delicious thank you so very much for the recipe i am going to try it with plain lemon and will let you know the results


      3. Sounds lovely – I have done lemon before. It can be pretty sharp, but you can always add slightly more sugar. I quite like it like that! I don’t think we are going to have many limes this year – we had big storms when the flowers were on the tree and I think most of them were knocked off by the hailstones, so we might be on lemon this year too. Lemon and grapefruit (pink grapefruit if you can get it) is also a lovely mixture – I do one medium grapefruit to two lemons. Have fun.


    2. Just read this comment and it’s like a page out of my book. Totally agree with the above, Ian! I’m busy harvesting my winter crop (I live in SA), and got fantastic lemons, the old fashioned rough skinned ones, A small crop of Minneolas and lovely fragrant limes.
      Am so pleased to find this great lime marmalade recipe, as you said from the old school, no nonsense, and can’t wait to taste the result!
      Happy cooking……


      1. Hope you enjoy it – check out the other recipe for easy chunky marmalade too – good if you like chunky marmalade and you’re not in the mood for shredding and chopping.


  4. Ha ha, no I am not a vegetarian, though we don’t eat meat that often and we eat a lot of egg and dairy-free stuff because our grandchildren have severe allergies, so I am always trying to come up with new ideas to feed them. Tonight is pork shoulder steaks in blackberry & cassis sauce, using the blackberries we picked while out walking this morning. Could do with a bit of your cherry soaking liquor, but I will have to make do with a drop of cassis from our local garden centre. In fact, your entire stash sounds most appealing – just send us the address and we’ll be up to the Plymouth ferry. I lived on the west coast of France for three years (near La Tremblade/Royan) and my friend’s parents were oyster farmers – they used to present us with boxes of clams, mussels and langoustine that were ‘not needed’ – we were only in our early 20s and had no idea how lucky we were – we used to keep them for staff meals though, we never shared them with the customers! I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to mushrooms – I must be the only cook on earth who doesn’t like truffles, morels or ceps. We also get girolles in the early autum in Turkey – they are always discoloured, which apparently is just the particular variety, but very off-putting all the same, though I admit they do taste delicious. Enjoy what is left of the summer – I think ours might be nearly over, though it’s been a cracker. I just got drenched in the car park at Asda, which was a perfect example of super-poor timing, as it only lasted the three minutes between supermarket exit and car. Pah.


  5. Just finished making the Jayne’s nearly Roses Lime marmalade.
    It is the best, I have made. Thank you for sharing your recipe.


  6. With a glut of limes and having exhausted all means of off loading them, I tried this recipe out. Using 1600g of limes, I doubled the water and sugar to match. It took a little longer to reach setting point, but I have to say that this is the best marmalade I’ve ever made. Not too sweet, full of lime flavour and just the right amount of tartness. Thank you so much.


    1. Pleased to be of service! If you have more limes, try them in the easy seville orange marmalade – just replace the oranges with limes (I usually include one lemon just to be on the safe side with the pectin). It works with any mix of citrus and is a really easy recipe (no faffing about with shredding peel or anything). https://aviewfrommykitchen.com/2017/11/19/easy-seville-orange-lime-marmalade/ Wondering whereabouts you are? We didn’t have such a good lime crop this year, though that might be because the trees didn’t get enough water this summer when we were locked down over here in the UK! Hopefully they’ll be more prolific next year. Enjoy your marmalade.


  7. Hi Jayne,
    Thank you for the recipe – it was great to find it.
    I made a batch recipe yesterday and it tastes perfect, but has a slightly bitter aftertaste. It doesn’t bother me, but my partner is not keen on bitter marmalades. I just read the comment about waiting a week for it to settle down so we’ll see what happens.
    I have a different question – I chopped the flesh into about 1cm pieces. My finished marmalade is clear with the fine peel floating in it (squee!) bit also looks like it has white pieces of onion in it, and I think it’s the thin pith from the segments. I was thinking of making a second batch and putting the de-pithed flesh into a blender and blitzing it into a puree. This would probably make it cloudier though? And could it affect the setting?
    Thanks again, from Fish Creek, Victoria


    1. Hi Tinker – that does sound probably. There is actually a good way of segmenting fruit without getting any of the pith – it sounds complicated but it’s very easy as long as you have a sharp knife. You are left holding the pithy ‘skeleton’ of the fruit, along with completely pith-free segments. There is little youtube video that demonstrates it (though I would definitely go with a much smaller knife – a sharp paring knife or small cook’s knife is ideal): https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=how+to+segment+a+lemon#kpvalbx=_g-6gYOK0J5PrsAeeu5jwBQ19 You can just add the pith that was holding the segments together into the muslin bag with the rest of the pith and pips. Re the bitter flavour – it is meant to be quite sharp, rather than sweet like jam (though the original Rose’s marmalade is quite sweet – I tried some recently and was quite shocked at how sweet it is). Obviously you could add more sugar, but if you play around too much with the sugar content, you might have a problem with the set. The bitterness comes from the pith, so if you wanted it a little less bitter, you could try only including about half of the pith, and just discard the rest – that should make a difference. Would be interested to know how you get on.


      1. Thank you Jayne. I thought of peeling the segments but wasn’t sure if that amount of pith was maybe needed. I’m very happy with the sweetness level as is. I’ll try to remember to get back with my results too


  8. I made a batch, tested he pectin, perfect, cooked it to temperature and setting, but when it cooled it was a very soft set. Any suggestions. Thanks


  9. Hi Jeanette, sorry to hear that, it’s so annoying when that happens. I don’t think it can be the pectin level because obviously all citrus fruit has that in spades. The only thing I can think of is that it just hadn’t quite reached setting point. I’ve had that happen, where it seems to pass the ‘wrinkle’ test, then is still too runny when it cools. Obviously you could just pour it on to your toast (messy) or if you have only made a small amount, use it in tea breads or muffins. Otherwise, what I have done in the past is just to put back in a pan, bring it back to the boil over a medium heat, then turn up the heat and boil rapidly for three or four minutes and test again, repeating if necessary, the put it back in the pots. Other good clues that it has set are: dip in a wooden spoon, then run your finger down the back of the spoon. If the ‘chasm’ stays put, you’re good to go, but if the marmalade starts to creep back into the gap, boil for a little longer (cover your finger with a piece of kitchen paper to do the swipe, as the marmalade will be hot). Also, I’ve noticed that when marmalade (or jam) has reached setting point, it very slightly changes colour, so that is a good clue to look out for – it goes just very slightly darker. It is a bit trial and error, and it never behaves exactly the same from batch to batch – I know how irritating it is when it hasn’t set. Hope it turns out OK in the end, at least it will taste delicious.


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