Carrot Marmalade

History Wild Carrot Today Nutrition Cultivation Recipes Trivia Links Home Contact

Carrot Marmalade History and Recipes

Marmalade is a fruit preserve made from the juice and peel of citrus fruits boiled with sugar and water. It can be produced from kumquats, lemons, limes, grapefruits, mandarins, sweet oranges, bergamots and other citrus fruits, or any combination thereof. for the last 1500 years at least, various forms of marmalade have been enjoyed as a sweetened fruit preserve with long keeping qualities. The Greeks melmelo (raw or cooked quinces and honey) in earthenware jars to use during times of scarcity.

Pectin (natural setting agent) According to, carrots have the most pectin of all the vegetables. Carrots have 0.8 g of pectin per 100 g serving. Carrots are loaded with a wide variety of vitamins and the pectin they contain can help lower your cholesterol.  This makes carrots eminently suitable for making marmalade and jam set easily.

The benchmark citrus fruit for marmalade production in Britain is the Spanish Seville orange, Citrus aurantium var. aurantium, prized for its high pectin content, which gives a good set. The peel has a distinctive bitter taste which it imparts to the marmalade.

Marmalade is generally distinguished from jam by its fruit peel. It may also be distinguished from jam by the fruits used. The first record of a Marmalade occurred in the recipe book of Madam Eliza Cholmondeley, dated around 1677 and held at the Chester Record Office. It has one of the earliest recipes (for a Marmelet of Oranges) that compares to the marmalade we know today. 

It was recommended to Captain Cook in 1771 by Baron Storch of Berlin as a cure for scurvy. Read more here

He evaporated carrot juice to the thickness of treacle. Following this advice Captain Cook set off to discover the New World in 1772, reaching the Cape of Good hope after a 3 months voyage. The voyage carried amongst its provision some 30 gallons of Carrot Marmalade. Cook’s ship, the Resolution finally docked in New Zealand after 117 days at sea, the good state of the men's health was partly attributed to the ingestion of Carrot Marmalade, to help ward off scurvy. The mammoth journey ended in 1776 with an astonishing record of only one man being lost from sickness and that was not from scurvy! (source History of Scurvy and Vitamin C, by Ken J Carpenter, 1988 extract below)

Domestic Economy and Cookery for rich and Poor, by a Lady (1827) includes a recipe for "Carrot Marmalade - Excellent for the Navy", an anti-scorbutic which calls for boiling carrot zests with sugar and then acidulating it with lemon, vitriol (sulphuric acid), verjuice (green juice, a highly acidic juice made by pressing unripe grapes, crab-apples or other sour fruit), tartaric crystal and tamarind (fruit of the tamarind tree).

Read about ancient Persian Marmalade made in 1300 and onwards here.

Pectin (natural setting agent) According to, carrots have the most pectin of all the vegetables. Carrots have 0.8 g of pectin per 100 g serving. Carrots are loaded with a wide variety of vitamins and the pectin they contain can help lower your cholesterol.  This makes eminently suitable for making marmaled which sets easily.

Is a Carrot a Vegetable or Fruit?

For the purposes of the European Union's "Council Directive 2001/113/EC of 20 December 2001 relating to fruit jams, jellies and marmalades and sweetened chestnut purée intended for human consumption" carrots can be defined as a fruit as well as a vegetable. The Directive, written in the 80s and updated in 2001 describes the parameters required for a product to be labelled as jam or marmalade and from which the UK Jam and Similar Products legislation is based, there is the phrase "for the purposes of this directive, tomatoes, the edible part of rhubarb stalks, carrots, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, melons and water melons are considered to be fruit". This was introduced to pacify the Portuguese who are strongly into Carrot Marmalade and it is quite a delicacy!

Of course carrots are not botanically a fruit as they do not carry the seeds, and the above paragraph in the jam directive does not reclassify them as such, just allows them to be used as fruit.

Like a jam, this sweet marmalade uses carrots rather than traditional fruit, to provide extra dimensions of texture and flavour for a fun topping.  (CARROT JAM HERE)

Carrot Marmalade Recipe (1)

Ingredients: 10 cups grated carrots, 10 cups sugar, 6 oranges, 4 lemons, 1 tsp each of Allspice, cinnamon and ground cloves. Two cups of water.

Directions: Wash and peel thin the orange and lemon rind being careful not to get the inner white membrane of the rind. Put through the food chopper. Remove thin white membrane from orange sections and slice into small pieces. Squeeze the lemons and add the juice to the mixture and allow it all to stand over night.

Next day, boil the mixture with water for 10 minutes. Meantime, grate the carrots (unpeeled) and add with the sugar and spices and cook for 2 hours. Test for setting and when ready, put in jars and seal.

(for an extra zing try adding some sliced fresh ginger root to the boiling about an hour after you start.)

Note this is a very old recipe and I think you could dispense with the overnight waiting period.

Carrot Marmalade Recipe (2)

Ingredients: 1 ½ lb of brown sugar. 3 cups of chopped carrots. 4 medium oranges. 1 large lemon. Water.

Directions: Chopped the carrots, oranges and the lemon. Mix with sugar.

Allow to stand overnight. In the morning, cook until the mixture gels, approx 2 hours. Test using standard jam method.

Seal while hot.

Carrot Marmalade recipe (3)

Ingredients: 3 medium carrots; 4 lemons; 5 cups sugar; 9 cups water

Directions: Grate carrots and lemon rind finely into a bowl. Add lemon juice. Add water and allow to stand for about 12 to 14 hours.

Boil for one hour, adding sugar a little at a time and stir till dissolved. Only then bring to the boil again and boil for another hour or until it jellies on a cold saucer. Bottle as needed.

Greek Carrot Marmalade

Ingredients: 2 1/4 pounds of fresh carrots, finely grated, grated peel of 2 oranges, 3 1/2 cups of water, 3 cups of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

Method: Boil all ingredients, partially covered, over high heat for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Syrup should be like thin maple syrup. Allow to cool for 1 hour. Spoon into glass containers with airtight lids. Allow to cool completely before covering.

1771 Recipe - Extract from a letter to Captain Cook, aboard the sloop Resolution at Deptford Dock, from Baron Storsch, written from Berlin 12 September 1771. The letter is in a letterbook of orders, correspondence and instructions to and from Cook and the British Admiralty in preparation for his second voyage of discovery.

In the letter Storsch remarks the recipe is “one of the best Remedies against the Scurvy, it will be of the greatest use in long Sea Voyages, and if this Remedy should take it will of consequence improve the Culture of this useful wholesome Root.”

Text of the letter -

"About the beginning of October when the Yellow Carrots are the Sweetest, you take fresh out of the Ground as many as you intend to make use of. Take care to chose them well, that none with black Spots be left between them.

You wash your Carrots sundry times & clean them nicely of the Herb as well as of the Green Top.

If you intend to make but a Small quantity of the Marmalade you may grate your Carrots upon a Tin Grater but should you want any large quantity, you may mince or hatch the Carrots which you put into a Kettle And Add as much fresh water, that your Carrots be cover’d with about four inches with Water. You boil them over a Small fire until they are reduced to a pap, the Grated Carrots Want less boiling, the hatched ones must be boil’d about twelve hours, take a great care never to give too Much fire after they begin to boil & to stir your Carrots now & then of fear they may stick and burn beneath.

When your Carrots are boil’d enough, you must strain them well through a clean linen and press the Felt well, that all the juice may come out, the dregs are a good Food for Hogs, Geese & Ducks. You put the filtrated Juice of Carrots into another Kettle & boil it again over a small fire until it gets the thickness of a fluid honey, at this last boiling you must take great care by constant stirring and by small firing to prevent its sticking to the Kettle & burning, which will give to your Marmalade a bitter and disagreeable taste.

When your Marmalade is enough boil’d and well done, you preserve it into Stone or Earth pots, well varnish’d & keep it well cover’d with a Parchment or Bladder, if it is well made & thick enough boil’d, it will preserve full two years.

Should your Marmalade spoil by some accident or other and get some moisture at the top, you take of the moisture with a Spoon and boil it again and it will regain its first sweetness.

Captain Cook Marmalade

Other method of making the Carrot Marmalade (transcript of above letter image)

"You squeeze the Juice out of the grated or hatched Carrots and boil it immediately thick without any addition of water either over a Small fire or even over boiling water, you preserve it in the abovementioned way, but it will not keep above a twelve month.

In some Parts of Germany where many acres of Carrots are cultivated they make use of Oil Mills to squeeze the juice of the Carrots and boil it afterwards in the last mentioned manner.

One acre of good soil well plowed (ploughed) will want 24 ounces of carrot seeds, a less rich soil will want 2 pound of seed per acre.

The carrot don’t improve well in a well dung land."

The Magazine of Domestic Economy Vol 4 1839 (published by W Orr, Edinburgh)

Carrot marmalade 1849

Godey's Magazine, Volume 82 1871 (image below

Godey's magazine 1871 carrot preserves

A Carrot Marmalade was advocated in 1915: 

Source: The Great War Cook Book, From Trench Pudding to Carrot Marmalade by May Myron, c. 1915 (Published in 2014 by Amberley Publishing with an Introduction by Eleri Pipien)

Take two and half pounds of peeled sliced carrots (weigh after preparing). six lemons thinly sliced, with the pips removed, a heaped saltspoonful (1/4 teasppon) of salt and four quarts of water. Boil all together till they can be pulped through a sieve; say about two and a half hours; then add two pounds of sugar, and b oil up until the marmalade will set.


Ambrose heath - "War Time Recipes" - 1941 - Heath was one of the contributors to the “Kitchen Front” talks broadcast by the BBC during the Second World War. The talks were organized by the Ministry of Food to encourage frugality and palliate the hardship of rationing with recipes, household hints, exhortations from government officials and comedy. The “Kitchen Front” was a platform for propaganda, but of a homely and avuncular cast.  

World War One Recipe


Reduce 1 pint grape juice one-half by boiling slowly. Add 1 cup vegetables (pumpkin or carrot). Add 2 teaspoons spices and 1 cup corn syrup. Boil until of consistency of honey and place in sterilized jars or glasses. 

Title: Foods That Will Win The War And How To Cook Them (1918)Author: C. Houston Goudiss and Alberta M. Goudiss

A recipe from Australia in 1917- "Carrots contain a large amount of sugar, and, on account of their deep colour, make a very attractive looking preserve." (read more here pdf)

A lovely Christmas recipe

Marmalade roasted carrots and parsnips 20 mins to prepare and 30 mins to cook

Sweet and sticky, and the perfect side for your Christmas turkey dinner. Can be cooked and frozen for up to a month, helping you get ahead on the day.

Ingredients: 500g (1lb) carrots, cut lengthways;500g (1lb) parsnips, cut lengthways; 2 tbsp olive oil;6 thyme sprigs, leaves picked;2 tbsp fine cut marmalade;2 tbsp clear honey

Method: Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Put the veg in a roasting tin. Drizzle with the oil and scatter over most of the thyme; season. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until softened.

Toss the veg in the marmalade, honey and remaining thyme until coated. Roast for a further 10-15 minutes or until golden.

Carrot Museum page about Carrot Jam 


MUSEUM NAVIGATION - History Wild Carrot Today Nutrition Cultivation Recipes Trivia Links Home ContactSITE SEARCH