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After every Chinese New Year, there’s always an abundance of mandarin oranges left at home and we always try to eat 2-3 oranges per day to avoid having to throw away rotten oranges. Hence this year, I made this orange marmalade using all the leftover mandarin oranges.

Why is it called marmalade, and not jam? Even though I naively thought both terms are similar, both uses fruits, and can be spread on toasts and pastries, there is actually a slight difference according to my initial readings. Jam is made from the pulp and juice of a fruit, while marmalade is made from citrus fruits with its juice and peel or rind, so one can taste the chunky bits.

orange marmalade

I extracted the very juicy orange pulp, mash them to squeeze out the juice, added chia seed as a thickener, and orange zest. And because the oranges are so sweet, I decided not to add any sugar, instead added some fresh lemon juice for a slight tangy flavour. When peeling the orange zest, you got to be careful not to peel it together with the pith, which is the white part that tastes bitter. The oranges are full of fibre, so I got to make sure not to add more than one tablespoon of chia seed. I have tried making orange marmalade before and added two tablespoon of chia seed, the results was not good, I think too much fibre makes me run to the toilet after eating some toast with the orange marmalade spread.

A typical ingredient in making jam is pectin, which is a type of starch in fruits and vegetables that gives them structure. When pectin is combined with acid and sugar in jams, jellies, and preserves, it helps in thickening. Unlike making jam with cranberries that has much higher amount of pectin compared to orange pulp, pectin in oranges exists in its peel, the bitter white part, which I don’t want in this marmalade recipe, thus mashing the pulp, blending it into a puree form, other than adding chia seed to thicken it, are all necessary steps.


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orange marmalade

Orange Marmalade with Chia Seed (No Sugar Added)

What to do with leftover mandarin oranges after the Lunar New Year? Make mandarin orange marmalade. Using orange pulp, orange zest, chia seed and some lemon juice, it's full of fibre and natural goodness and sweetness. Plus no sugar added!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 24 minutes
Course condiment
Cuisine Western
Servings 4 persons
Calories 50 kcal


  • 7-8 mandarin oranges skin & rind removed and extract the pulp only
  • 1 tbsp chia seed
  • ½ lemon freshly squeezed juice
  • 2 tbsp orange zest
  • Water


  • Wash the mandarin oranges. Choose the best looking oranges for the zest.
    7-8 mandarin oranges
  • Use a peeler to peel the zest of the oranges, taking care not to peel the pith (white part).
  • Add water and zest into a pot and bring to boil for about 3 minutes. Then drain the water and set the zest aside.
    2 tbsp orange zest, Water
  • Remove the skin of the oranges, extract only the juice pulp.
    7-8 mandarin oranges
    orange pulp
  • Add orange pulp to a pot over medium low heat. Use a potato masher to mash the pulp to release its juice.
    mash orange
  • Add 2 tbsp of boiled orange zest and mix well.
  • Bring the juice and pulp to a rolling boil. Once boiled, reduce heat to a simmer. The mixture will be runny with the juice and pulp separated.
    boil orange
  • Add chia seed and mix well.
    1 tbsp chia seed
    chia seed
  • Use a hand blender to blend the mixture to further break down the pulp.
    blend orange
  • Squeeze juice from half a lemon and mix well.
    1/2 lemon
    lemon juice
  • Keep stirring until the mixture reaches a thick consistency.
    add chia seed
  • Let the jam cool before storing in an airtight container. Store in the fridge up to a week.
    orange marmalade



Calories: 50kcal
Keyword chia, chia seed, jam, mandarin orange, marmalade, orange
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