Seville oranges are in season right now so it is time to roll up your sleeves and make Marmalade! I learnt a couple of things last week, firstly that Seville oranges have a short season from the end of December to mid-February, and secondly that there is a high concentration of pectin (natural gelling agent) in the pith and seeds of citrus fruits. What this means is that to make marmalade you only need 3 ingredients and decent amount of time on your hands.
Now I confess before I embarked on making Marmalade last weekend I gave Mummy Mortimer a ring to see if she had any top tips. Her advice was to cut the oranges in half and to cook them first in a shallow pan with a little water to soften the rind. It was a great shout and meant that I could make the marmalade in two stages and the rind was incredibly easy to cut into slivers.
My tip is to put at least 4 side plates in the freezer for testing when the jam has reached setting point. When you think the jam is ready to test – spoon a small amount onto one of the plates and place back in the freezer for 1 minute and then push the marmalade gently with your fingers to see if the jam wrinkles. If it does then you will know that it is ready, if not keep boiling.
The beauty of making your own marmalade is that you can adjust the balance of sugar in the recipe to suit your own palate. I personally prefer a sharp marmalade so I work on the following ratio 750g sugar to 1 litre of liquid and then add more sugar as needed.
The process of making marmalade whilst lengthy is very easy and I recommend you giving it a go if you can get it your hands on some Seville oranges. At the end of the process you’ll have at least 3 jars which you and either keep and enjoy over the next few months or give to friends and family as gifts. Enjoy!
“A wise bear always keeps a marmalade sandwich in his hat in case of an emergency”
~ A Bear Called Paddington ~
Makes: 3-4 jars
Preparation time: +4hrs
- 1kg Seville oranges
- 750g-1.5kg granulated sugar
- Sterilize 4 x 450ml jam jars.
- Cut the oranges half and place in a swallow casserole dish and just cover with water. Place on a medium heat and will to simmer until the orange peel has a translucent look. Then set to one side and leave until cool.
- Remove oranges from pan and pour the cooking liquor into a measuring jug. If there is less than 1 litre of liquid then add water until it makes 1 litre and pour into a large saucepan.
- Next, scoop the centre out of the oranges and pass the pulp through a sieve and into the pan to remove the pips and any pith that has not broken down.
- Cut the orange peel into fine slices and add to the pan with 750g sugar.
- Heat the pan on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved, taste and add more sugar as required.
- Place 4 side plates into the freezer to chill whilst you bring the jam up to the boil.
- Once the jam has come up to the boil, maintain a rolling boil for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. After ten minutes test the jam, spoon a small amount onto one of the plates and place back in the freezer for 1 minute and then push the marmalade gently with your fingers to see if the jam wrinkles. If it does then you will know that it is ready if not keep boiling testing every 2-3 minutes until it reaches the setting point.
- Spoon the marmalade into the jars, clean around the top of the jars with a little kitchen towel before putting on the lids whilst still hot to create a seal.