Carrot Marmalade with Clementine Peel & Orange Blossom Water

This carrot marmalade with clementine peel and orange blossom water recipe is one for sunshine and a garden of blossoms in a jar. It’s my two favourite marmalades, carrot and clementine, combined into one and my marmalade of choice to make in autumn when new clementines, some still a bit green and sour, appear in the market. Bright orange colour, citrusy flavour and flowery scent, sweet with just the right amount of tartness, how delicious does that sound?

Carrot marmalade with clementine peel is really great to serve on buttered toast for breakfast with strong breakfast tea (with a note of Earl Grey if you like). But not just that. Think scones and clotted cream, or a naked sponge cake layered with a gooey, shiny and flavourful marmalade and decorated with fresh or sugar paste orange blossoms for a special occasion…

Carrot marmalade is a staple of Persian breakfast spreads. It’s usually flavoured with rosewater or cardamoms as carrots have no scent of their own. Quite often very thinly slivered orange peel is mixed into carrot marmalade too.

Persian orange peel jam is syrupy, perfect for putting on rice pudding. It’s also used to garnish the famous jewelled rice served in weddings and on special occasions. This jam can be made with dried slivered peel.

Persian preserves are often quite chunky and look rather like crystalised fruit in a thick syrup. Fruits like apples and oranges are often kept whole so one needs to cut the buttery and sweet flesh with a knife to serve. To keep the shape of some fruit, veg or blossoms they may be soaked in a solution of alum for a day or two. This results in a very crunchy texture. This type of preserve is usually served as dessert.

Sour cherry jam is undoubtedly the most popular jam in Iran.

Persian cooks are really obsessed with making jams, preserves and marmalades from every sort of fruit and vegetable imaginable. My childhood memories are filled with images of my mum and my female relatives in the kitchen busily preparing jar after jar of beautiful jams and preserves.

They usually offered little bowls of several different kinds of jam to guests after a meal with small glasses of tea and the breakfast table was never without sour cherry jam, children’s favourite, and whole fig jam, hollowed out Seville oranges or big chunks of citron peel preserve for the grown ups.

We make jams from all sorts of things: blossom jams (rose petals, orange blossoms, quince blossoms), fruit (stone fruits, citrus, berries, figs), vegetables (aubergine, cucumbers, squashes, black winter radishes) and even kitchen scraps (peel of oranges, aubergines, pink soft skin on pistachio shells, watermelon rind), you just name it.

The soft pink, cream and green peel that covers fresh pistachio shells is very aromatic. The jam made with the peel is exquisite.

Back to the recipe now. My carrot marmalade with clementine peel recipe is not complicated at all.  The hardest part is probably waiting for the marmalade to cool and set to have a taste of its fresh, zingy flavours. If you are inclined so, for a festive occasion like Christmas you can add a splash of Cointreau, rum or whisky to the marmalade after the it reaches the setting point but skip the orange blossom water. Adding liqueurs to marmalades is not a Persian thing to do but it works beautifully so why not?

You will need about 8 -10 medium clementines to make enough peel and juice for this recipe.


  • 100 grams thinly sliced clementine peel (white pith sliced off with a sharp knife before slicing)
  • 1 1/2 litre water
  • 200 grams carrots, cut in thin strips like the peel (or coarsely grated)
  • 600 grams jam sugar
  • 600 ml clementine juice
  • 1 tbsp orange blossom water (optional)


  1. Put a couple of small saucers in the freezer for testing the jam set later.
  2. Put the sliced peel in a saucepan and cover with the water. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for three minutes. Drain well to remove the bitterness from the peel. Taste the peel and repeat this step if it’s still too bitter for your taste.
  3. Put the cooked peel and carrot slivers (or grated carrots) in the saucepan and add all the sugar, clementine juice and orange blossom water. Stir to dissolve the sugar and bring to a rolling boil. Cook for three minutes, stirring from time to time to make sure all the sugar is dissolved. Skim the foam to the top occasionally. Lower the heat and continue cooking (about 20 minutes) or until the syrup is thick.
  4. Remove from heat and test the set by dropping a little syrup on one of the chilled saucers. After a minute touch the syrup with your finger tip and pull gently. If the syrup creases the marmalade is set. If not, return to the heat, cook for a couple of minutes and test again. Repeat until the marmalade sets. (if adding Cointreau, rum or whisky let the marmalade cool for a minute or two at this stage. Then carefully add two tablespoons of the liqueur).
  5. Let the marmalade cool and thicken a little. Stir through to evenly distribute the peel and carrot in the syrup. Pour into two small sterilised jars and seal.

Spicy Persian Pickles (Torshi Bandari)

It’s that time of year again when I can’t stop myself from pickling whatever I find.  Last week I spent two days pickling which reminded me I had often been asked for an easy torshi (Persian pickles) recipe and a post dedicated to torshi was long overdue.

Torshi is an indispensable part of Persian meals, except breakfast of course because it’s vinegary, sharp and often spicy. Iranians believe it aids in digestion of heavy foods so one or even several types are often served with big meals. Torshi bandari is a delicious spicy one that goes very well with most polo khorsh (rice and stew) dishes, kotlet (meat and potato patties) and lamb hotpot (abgoosht).

Stone fruit such as peaches, apples and pears are often used to make torshi.

Bandari in the names of Iranian dishes means they hail from the Persian Gulf port of Bandar Bushehr or Bandar Abbas where the influence of Indian and Arabic cuisines is quite pronounced and the food is quite spicy. This sour and spicy torshi is very easy to make and can be enjoyed right away but it will also keep in the fridge at least for a couple of months.

Autumn is the best time of the year to make pickles.

There are literally hundreds of types of torshi. Most common vegetables used for making torshi are aubergine (eggplants), garlic, peppers, chillies, Jerusalem artichokes, cucumbers, celery, cauliflowers, white and red cabbages, Persian shallots (moosir) and tomatoes. Plums, apples, pears and peaches are often used in pickles too. Most torshi are flavoured with herbs and spices. Vinegar, tomato juice, verjuice and tamarind are used as souring (and preserving) agents.

Each region of Iran and Iranian family has its own favourite torshi recipes according to local produce and preferences. One of the most popular throughout the country is garlic pickles (sir torshi). According to Persian medicinal lore the older it gets, the more health benefits it acquires. I had a jar of twenty year old sir torshi I had made when I started my own family. There’s a five year old one now I made soon after I arrived in my new home.

Whole heads of garlic are pickled in wine vinegar. The older, the better.

Making torshi must be an ancient method of preserving vegetables and fruit. The Persian word torshi means “sour” and was borrowed in many languages including Albanian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Egyptian Arabic and Greek most probably in Ottoman times through Turkish tursu (pronounced turshu).

Bake aubergines in hot oven to soften the flesh and reduce moisture.

The most important point in making torshi is to make sure all the ingredients are of the highest quality, washed well and air dried for at least half a day so there’s no moisture when they are mixed with vinegar. Any moisture will result in dilution of the vinegar and the torshi will go off quickly. To avoid that drain the chopped vegetables and spread them on clean tea towels and allow to dry before using.


  • 2 medium aubergines
  • 1 large carrot
  • 4 florets of cauliflower
  • ½ red pepper
  • ½ green or yellow pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 medium hot chillies (or more if you wish)
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander seeds
  • ½ tbsp celery seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin seeds
  • ½ tbsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp dry mint
  • 2 tbsp dry parsley
  • 2 tbsp dry tarragon
  • 100ml tomato juice or passata
  • 3 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 300ml white wine vinegar
  • pinch of sugar (optional)


  1. Wash the carrots, cauliflower and peppers. Spread on a clean tea towel to dry for a couple of hours.
  2. Wash the aubergines, prick in several places with a fork and wrap in foil. Bake in a hot oven (200 degrees) for 30 minutes or until very very soft. Let cool.
  3. Cut the aubergines in half and scoop out the flesh. Mash well and let drain in a sieve over a bowl.
  4. Finely chop the vegetables, garlic and chillies and allow to air dry for a few hours again.
  5. Mix the aubergine pulp, chopped vegetables, dry herbs, salt and spices in a bowl. Mix the tamarind paste, passata and vinegar and combine with the aubergine mix. Taste and add a little sugar if it’s too sharp. Fill in clean sterilised jars. This torshi can be enjoyed right away but it’s usually better after developing for a couple of weeks. It will keep for months in the fridge or about two months in a cool, dark place.