Beet Marmalade

by Lori on October 20, 2011

I’m leaving my husband with the kids and heading off to Maui for a week with my girl friends.  It’s been 6 years since I’ve left them for more than a day or two.  I’m scheduled to leave on Saturday morning, and I was beginning to get that panicked feeling about getting everything done in time to pack for myself, when my friend sent me a text message telling me to just bring clothes.   Apparently the condo has everything else.

An immediate feeling of ease set in and took over.   I’ve got this.

I mean, how much does one need for laid back, breezy island life, aside from bathing suits, a few sun dresses and a couple of outfits for those highly-anticipated dinners without our collective children?  I’m thinking 20 minutes ought to take care of the packing.

Traveling light isn’t always possible when you’ve got the family in tow, or if you’re going to a destination where the weather is unpredictable.  But this time around, it’s just me and a lot of guarantees.  I like that.

Sure, there’s a part of me that will miss my husband and kids.  Terribly.  My husband and I honeymooned in Maui many years ago, and all of my memories of places we visited involve him.  But this mama needs to recharge her batteries. It’s time for me to travel light in a broader sense.

And that’s exactly what I think about when I look at this beet marmalade.  It’s the epitome of traveling light.  Four flavor-packed ingredients, a few minutes of your time (especially if your beets are already roasted) and no fuss.  That’s it.  It would take you longer to pack your bags than it would to make and can it.  And honestly canning isn’t even necessary.  By the time you’ve served it alongside roasted chicken or turkey, as a sweet surprise on top of goat’s cheese (or cream cheese), or as a relish on your next sandwich or panino, you’ll be burning rubber down the driveway and heading to the airport.

This beet marmalade has a lot of guarantees, and I like that.


Beet Marmalade

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Yield: Approximately 2 pints

Serving Size: It varies.

This marmalade is reminiscent of cranberry sauce, but it has an unmistakable earthiness from the beets. It's a hit every time I make it. I love it with roasted chicken, but it is a wonderful as an appetizer along with mild, creamy cheeses and crackers. The recipe comes from Marion Cunningham and appeared in her update of the Antoinette Pope Boston Cooking School Cookbook.


  • 4 medium-large red beets, roasted and peeled
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 large lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger


  1. To roast the beets, trim down the stalks leaving about a half inch intact and remove the thin root end. Wrap each beet with foil and place on baking sheet in a 375 degree F oven for about 45 minutes to an hour. Beets are done when they yield to pressure. Cool and peel.
  2. Put the beets in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped, or mash the beets by hand.
  3. Transfer the beets to a heavy bottomed saucepan and stir in the sugar.
  4. Cut the lemon, skin and all, into large chunks (remove any visible seeds) and place in food processor along with the chopped ginger and pulse until finely chopped, or chop finely by hand.
  5. Add the chopped lemon and ginger to the beets and sugar and stir to blend. If you see any seeds, remove them.
  6. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the marmalade has thickened a little. That should take about 2 minutes and the marmalade will get thicker when it cools.
  7. If using within a month, place the hot marmalade into clean jars, cover and refrigerate.
  8. For longer preserving, pour or spoon into hot, sterilized jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace, and seal. Process in boiling-water bath for 15 minutes


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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Krista {Budget Gourmet Mom} October 20, 2011 at 4:13 pm

I’m gonna admit right now that I am not a fan of beets. This marmalade, however, I could definitely do! It looks so amazing with the crackers and cheese. Have fun in Maui!
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Lori October 21, 2011 at 9:44 am

I think this marmalade could convert you! It reminds me of cranberry sauce. The ginger and the lemon are perfect with the beets. I hope you try it.


Dixie October 21, 2011 at 9:03 pm

I love beet salad and nothing pairs as well as beets and goat cheese. I will for sure be trying this but maybe cut down on the sugar a bit. Do you think that will change the consistency?


Lori November 3, 2011 at 11:19 am

The consistency may change a little if you cut back on the sugar, and the overall taste may be a little more tart because of the lemon. Play with it and see what works for you.


*Just Fran* December 10, 2011 at 1:51 pm

I made this and canned in 1/4 pint jars. They will be Christmas gifts (along with other home-canned goodies). We loved the flavor of this marmalade and the color is outstanding. Can’t wait to share it!
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