Zucchini marmalade has got to be the most creative way to preserve zucchini! This simple recipe for zucchini preserves comes together with just a few ingredients, and believe it or not, there’s no added storebought pectin needed.
Zucchini season brings out the creativity in every gardener, as we’re all trying to find yet another way to preserve zucchini. I’d just finished up a batch of zucchini pickles, and I’d already frozen several loaves of banana bread. Zucchini chips are one of my favorite dehydrator recipes, and all 9 trays of my food dehydrator were full already.
With more zucchini on hand, I decided to try my hand at making zucchini jam.
A quick search for zucchini jam recipes left me disappointed. Apparently what qualifies as zucchini jam these days is jello with shredded zucchini mixed in. Not even joking, there are dozens of recipes starting with all manner of florescent flavored fruit jellos studded with shredded zucchini and tossed into canning jars.
I know, zucchini is a funny thing to make into jam, but there’s no reason to use jello in anything called jam.
So I had another idea…This summer I’ve been experimenting with pectin-free jam making techniques. Traditional jam making techniques for thickening jam without added pectin.
I’d already had great success thickening jams with citrus seed pectin, so I planned on making a zucchini jam thickened with citrus seeds. If I could take a vegetable like zucchini and make it into jam without boxed pectin, then it’d be the ultimate test of the technique.
In the end, I decided that zucchini goes best in recipes where it can absorb plenty of other flavors. Zucchini bread is really a spice bread with zucchini added for extra moisture (and a bit of nutrition). Why not make a traditional marmalade, incorporating lemons and ginger to add spice and extra flavor?
Thus this recipe for zucchini marmalade was born!
How to Make Zucchini Marmalade
The ingredients are pretty simple, and everything’s in twos.
- 2 cups shredded zucchini
- 2 lemons
- 2 cups of water
- 2 cups of sugar
- 2” piece of fresh ginger
With a simple recipe, the magic is in the technique. We’ll need to extract pectin from the citrus seeds, and then add in the lemon juice and zest for flavor (and more added pectin).
Start by preparing the lemons. Use a sharp paring knife to peel off the outside of the lemon peel. Just the yellow part, leaving the white pith behind. Slice the lemon zest/peel pieces into thin strips.
Next up, juice the lemons, saving the seeds to the side, but keeping as much pulp as possible with the juice. Dice the white pith from the lemons as well, but keep all the parts separate.
Take the lemon seeds and diced up white pith and place them in 2 cups water in a jam pot. Simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes.
The volume will reduce dramatically, but be careful not to let it boil dry. During the simmer, the water will thicken as it extracts pectin from the citrus seeds and pith.
In the end, you should have roughly 1/2 cup thickened gel. Remove pith and seeds with a slotted spoon, leaving just the pectin water.
Add in all the lemon juice, pulp, and zest strips. At this point, all the lemon should have been incorporated, but the seeds and pith do not remain in the final zucchini jam.
Add in the sugar, minced ginger, and zucchini. (If you’d like a milder jam, use less ginger or omit it altogether.)
Turn the heat up to high and boil rapidly until the mixture reaches gel stage (220 degrees F). Test the mixture with a digital thermometer, or on a plate that’s been chilled in the freezer.
Pour the finished zucchini marmalade into canning jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Cap with 2 part canning lids and either store in the refrigerator for immediate use, or process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. If canned properly, this jam will be shelf-stable and should last at least 12-18 months in the pantry.
Once the jam cools and sets, it should be surprisingly thick (for a zucchini jam anyway). The lemon helps everything gel really beautifully without added pectin, even with all that low pectin zucchini mixed in there.
Zucchini marmalade can be used in all the ways you’d use any jar of jam, but I thought it seemed appropriate to spread it atop a piece of freshly baked zucchini bread…
This simple zucchini marmalade is a delicious way to preserve zucchini. Skip the other zucchini canning recipes and put up something the whole family will love!
- 2 cups shredded zucchini
- 2 lemons
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- 2” piece of fresh ginger
- Prepare jars and a water bath canner (if canning).
- Use a sharp paring knife to peel off the outside of the lemon peel. Just the yellow part, leaving the white pith behind, but saving it for the next step. Slice the lemon zest/peel pieces into thin strips.
- Juice the lemons, saving the seeds to the side, but keeping as much pulp as possible with the juice. Dice the white pith from the lemons as well, but keep all the parts separate.
- Take the lemon seeds and diced up white pith and place them in 2 cups water in a jam pot. Simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes. (The volume will reduce dramatically, but be careful not to let it boil dry. During the simmer, the water will thicken as it extracts pectin from the citrus seeds and pith. In the end, you should have roughly 1/2 cup thickened gel.)
- Remove pith and seeds with a slotted spoon, leaving just the roughly 1/2 cup pectin water in the jam pot.
- Add in all the lemon juice, pulp, and zest strips. At this point, all the lemon should have been incorporated into the recipe, but the seeds and pith do not remain in the final zucchini jam.
- Add in the sugar, minced ginger, and zucchini. (If you'd like a milder jam, use less ginger or omit it altogether.)
- Turn the heat up to high and boil rapidly for about 10 minutes until the mixture reaches gel stage (220 degrees F). Test the mixture with a digital thermometer, or on a plate that's been chilled in the freezer.
- Pour the finished zucchini marmalade into canning jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
- Cap with 2 part canning lids and either store in the refrigerator for immediate use, or process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.
If canned properly, this jam will be shelf-stable and should last at least 12-18 months in the pantry. As a refrigerator jam, the jars will last a few weeks in the refrigerator.
Always refrigerate jams after opening.
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More Creative Zucchini Recipes
Looking for more ways to preserve zucchini? (or just a few ways to use it up?)
- Zucchini Relish ~ Attainable Sustainable
- Zucchini Bread Made with Butter ~ Grow Forage Cook Ferment
- Zucchini Lasagna ~ Attainable Sustainable
- Zucchini Corn Bread ~ Kneady Girl
More Summer Canning Recipes
Want to keep that canner going? Here are a few more easy canning recipes for you:
I’m excited to try this recipe. Can it be doubled?
Yes, of course!
You state 2 pieces of ginger. Exactly what do you consider 1 piece. That statement of 2 pieces is very subjective
I adjusted the ginger to taste. Maybe a thumbnail size.
can you substaute fake sugar for the sugar
You could try using a low sugar or no sugar pectin like Pomona’s. They have lots of information on their website about using other sweeteners.
Hello,I’d like to try this, however, could you use pamonas pectin instead, if so do you know the the amount? Thanks!
You should be able to use Pomona’s pectin with no problem. I would just go by the instructions on the package for the amount.
I can’t wait to try your lemon pectin idea! But I have 3 teenage boys and don’t think they’ll eat jam that looks that color. Any ideas of a way to naturally give it a more yellow, orange, or mint-green color without using jello? I’d hate to have to eat all the jam by myself! 🙂
You could try using yellow crook neck squash instead of green zucchini, then it’d be all yellow.
The other thing you could do is peel the zucchini, and then it wouldn’t have any green in it.
That is exactly what I did, used yellow crook neck squash (Zephir)! Every jar looks like captured sunshine and it tastes so good! Thanks for the recipe.
You’re very welcome.
What a genius idea! I have limes, and they’d be amazing with ginger, too. I am totally onboard with making a low-sugar version as asked about above so these are great ideas! Thanks!!!
I just found this! I just harvested three late-surprise zucchinis from my garden and since I’m in the middle of making jam (grape jam and tomato jam), I wondered if there was such a thing as zucchini jam. Clearly, there is! Your recipe sounds SO interesting–and I love the lemon pectin aspect. Totally trying this out this weekend. I’ll be sure and let you know how it comes out! Thanks so much!
You’re very welcome. So glad you enjoyed the post. Let us know how you like it.
I was looking at this recipe, because I want to do something a little similar.
I want to can/jar zucchini for use in mock apple pie later on (ie: middle of winter). Way less carbs (7.64NC per slice VS 84.4 for a regular apple pie), and at least a fifth the calories.
The mock apple pie recipe I am doing now starts with about 3 pounds of raw zucchini, that I slice/dice with a mandolin. It is then cooked down to about a third its original volume until it has the texture of fully cooked apples (not mush, but no bite to either), with spices, a sour acid (malic &/or citric acids), erythritol sweetener, a bit of stevia, and a two or more tsp of apple flavoring/extract. I’m still tweaking the recipe to get it just right, but I am getting close.
The original recipe had me putting in lemon juice (6 Tbsp) right away, and it seemed to cook off most of the sourness (cooked it for around 60 minutes, still had some bite to it). The next try, I used 3 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar instead, and then added 2 tsp of malic acid, and a 1/4 tsp of citric acid after I got it cooked down (about 75 minutes, just the right mouthfeel). The filling is then put into a prebaked (10~12 minutes @ 350F) almond crust, covered with a top almond crust (both at near room temp), and baked for another 25~30 @ 350 to basically cook the top crust properly.
I would like to can some of the filling, but I’m thinking I need some advice.
So I’m guessing that adding the malic acid should let me water can it?
Do you think that Is it good idea to keep the apple flavoring out of mix until ready to use it in a pie? Or should it be okay to add it to the recipe before jarring it?
I’m currently using gelatin and xanthan to thicken the mock apple filling, which seems to work okay. Do you think Pectin would be a better fit for a pie filling otherwise?
It is typically not recommended to water bath can zucchini because of its low acidity unless it is used in a tested recipe with the proper acidity. When doing any kind of pie filling you need to use clear gel. This is the only kind of thickener that is tested safe for canning pie fillings.
I’m so thankful for this recipe – a friend of my husband asked if I wanted some of his glut of end of season summer squash (the scallop kind). Yes please, I said. He looked relieved and handed me a large feed bag FULL of good squash to use. Some for the freezer, of course, some dehydrating as I write this but I’ve just made my first batch of this marmalade and having just tasted the pan scrapings am now gearing up to make a few more batches’-worth tomorrow. Marmalade for everyone for Christmas. Cheers and best wishes from the UK!
That’s wonderful. So glad you enjoyed the recipe.
How long would this last if it is only kept in the fridge and not water bath canned?
They should last a few weeks in the fridge.
Can I use pint size jars instead of 1/2 pints? Do I change the water bath time?
I would personally stick with the 1/2 pints unless you can find a tested recipe that uses the pint jars.
Can I substitute oranges for lemon?
Yes, I think that should work fine.
How many 1/2 pint jars does the recipe make? Just wondering if I should double it. Thank you
The yield is 4 half pint jars.