Marmalade

Seville oranges come on to the market in early January so if you intend making marmalade this is the time, as the oranges don’t keep well and are bulky to freeze.

Aim for a chunky marmalade, quite deep in colour. Small quantities like this aren’t too much work and home-made marmalade is superior to anything you can buy. At Gidleigh Park we make 20 cases of Seville oranges into marmalade each January and towards the end it drives me nuts. This 3 lb (1.3 kg) batch shouldn’t burden your sanity and will keep you in marmalade for a fair while.

Jams are generally simpler to make but, in truth, you can usually buy jam cheaper than make it, and the product will not be noticeably different.

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Ingredients

  • 3 lb (1.3 kg) Seville oranges
  • 3 lemons
  • 6 pints (3.5 litres) water
  • 6 lb (2.6 kg) granulated or preserving sugar

Method

  1. Wash the fruit. The skins of Seville oranges aren’t treated with fungicides in the same way as dessert oranges so they are very prone to mould. Check your fruit is not affected as it taints the finished product. Remove any stalks.
  2. Boil the whole fruit in the water until soft, around 40 minutes.
  3. Strain the liquor obtained into a clean pot. Halve the fruit and scoop out the pith and pips into a sieve lined with clean cloth, preferably muslin. The juice from this is an important setting agent for the marmalade so squeeze out as much as possible before discarding the debris and add the juice to the pot.
  4. Slice the skins into strips.
  5. Add these strips to the pot and stir in the sugar. It is important to keep stirring until all the sugar is dissolved otherwise it cooks unevenly and is liable to crystallise later.
  6. Bring to the boil, then boil rapidly until setting point, probably 1½ hours. You test for setting point by lifting a tablespoonful from the pan on to a cold saucer. If it forms a skin it is ready.
  7. Sterilise the jars you intend to fill. The products sold for sterilising babies’ bottles are ideal. Heat the jars and then fill them. Cover with little rounds of greaseproof paper, then cool. Screw down the tops of the jars (if using Kilner jars). Otherwise cover with cellophane.
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