using baking soda in marmalade recipes

Asked August 13, 2018, 3:47 PM EDT

Why do many, but not all, marmalade recipes include instructions to boil the peels in water with a tiny bit of baking soda (1/8 tsp for 2-4 pieces of fruit)? I am reading through several recipes from Better Homes & Gardens. The lemon, lime, grapefruit and blood orange recipes call for boiling the thinly cut peel in baking soda for 20 minutes as a first step. The recipe for tangerine marmalade does not include this step. All the recipes use liquid pectin. Thanks! Serena Jaspera

Multnomah County Oregon food safety home food preservation

1 Response


Baking soda is slightly alkaline and helps to break down the peels, shortening the time it takes to cook and soften them. You do not have to use it to make good marmalade, but it helps shorten the cooking process.

Tangerine rinds probably do not need baking soda since the skins are already very thin and cook down faster.

There are recipes for both liquid and powdered pectin available. You can google the pectin companies and get up-to date recipes.

Thanks for using Ask an Expert

Nellie Oehler