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Easy Seville Orange Marmalade recipe

 

Photo: Fine cut Seville orange marmalade

Photo: Fine cut Seville orange marmalade

“I want to make a marmalade that looks pretty. Like this.” I pushed our copy of New British Classics by Gary Rhodes across the table.
“It looks stunning but it would take hours to remove the pith and cut the peel that fine.”
“Not if I poach the oranges à la Delia. I could probably scoop out the pith with a spoon.”

I’d been researching making marmalade in depth. Having been brought up in a dark chunky marmalade household I’ve steadfastly continued with the tradition. Assuming that this is the best marmalade. Until last year, that is, when The Chicken Lady presented us with a jar of her own marmalade. Sweet, clear and filled with shreds of peel. This was the jolt that I needed to get of the Oxford marmalade path and onto the main marmalade making highway.

I discovered that it’s the pith that gives Seville orange marmalade most of its bitterness. If I removed the pith, I should end up with a more intensely orange flavoured marmalade. The marmalade angels must have been lurking as this recipe turned out to be better than expected. A tasty base with the shreds giving little bursts of deep orange tanginess. Truly good and well worth the effort.

Delia’s method of poaching the fruit prior to chopping makes marmalade making a doddle. The fruit is soft and easy to cut and handle. I easily removed the pith from the skin using a metal spoon.
Easy Seville Orange Marmalade recipe

Ingredients:

2lbs 8ozs/1134g of Seville oranges
10ozs of lemons/284g of lemons
4 pints/2273 litres of water
4lbs 4ozs/1927g of white granulated sugar

Method:

Scrub the oranges and lemons to remove any wax. Put the fruit in a large heavy bottomed saucepan and cover with the water. Put the lid on and bring to simmering point. Then turn the heat down very low and slip a piece of aluminium foil under the lid to ensure a good seal. Simmer very gently for 3 hours until the fruit is soft.  Allow to cool overnight in the poaching liquid.

The next day cut the oranges and lemons in half and scoop out the flesh and pips into a separate saucepan. Add about a pint/570 millilitres of the poaching juice and simmer gently for at least half an hour and then pour into a sieve lined with muslin set over a bowl.

Meanwhile discard the lemon peel and cut the halves of oranges in half again and remove the pith by scraping with the edge of a metal spoon. When this is done rinse the peel and cut into fine strips. I set the skins in blocks cutting about 8 skins at a time.

By this stage the pulp liquid will have almost dripped through but it’s worth giving it an extra squeeze. Knot the muslin and pass two wooden spoons (juxtaposed) beneath the knots turn the spoons against each other which will squeeze out any remaining juice with little effort.

Add the pectin rich juice to the poaching liquid and check that you still have 4 pints of juice. Top it up with cold water if necessary.

Bring the peel gently to simmering point in the poaching liquid add the sugar and stir until it is completely dissolved. Taste the mixture – if it’s too tart for your taste add a little more sugar stirring again until it is completely dissolved. Then bring the marmalade to a rolling boil.

After 15 minutes test for a set (see Tips and Tricks below). If the marmalade is not set bring back to a rolling boil and test every five minutes or so. Just before the marmalade reaches setting point it moves from forming thousands if tiny bubbles to a much more gloopy boil.
Using a ladle and a funnel pour into hot sterilised jars and seal immediately. Leave to stand overnight and label the next day.

If your peel wants to rise to the top of the jars keep on turning the jars every ten minutes or so and the peel will settle evenly distributed within the jar.

Tips and tricks:
Marmalade “set” or “setting point”:
Getting the right set can be tricky. I have tried using a jam thermometer but find it easier to use the following method. Before you start to make the marmalade, put a couple of plates in the fridge so that the warm marmalade can be drizzled onto a cold plate (when we make marmalade we often forget to return the plate to the fridge between tests, using two plates means that you have a spare cold plate). Return the plate to the fridge to cool for approx two minutes. It has set when you run your finger through it and leave a crinkly track mark. If after two minutes the cooled jam is too liquid, continue to boil the marmalade, testing it every few minutes until you have the right set. The marmalade is far more delicious if it is slightly runny.
Sterilising the jars:
We collect jars all year round for our jelly, chutney and jam making sessions. I try to soak off labels and store the clean jars and metal plastic coated screw-top lids in an accessible place. The sterilising method that we used is simple. Just before making the jam, I quickly wash and rinse the jars and place them upside down in a cold oven. Set the temperature to 160c/140c for fan assisted. When the oven has reached the right temperature I turn off the heat. The jars will stay warm for quite a while. I only use plastic lined lids for preserves as the all-metal lids can go rusty. I boil these for five minutes in water to sterilise them. If I use Le Parfait jars, I do the same with the rubber rings.


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70 Comments

  1. Sounds good, any chance of a sugar free variety? I have done the usual webtrawl but cant find anything – anyone else out there got a sugar free recipe?

  2. kate (uk)

    I blame you entirely Fiona for the ‘sold out’ saville oranges round here!

  3. I’m making marmalade for the first time today and I am hoping for good results. So confident, I bought more oranges this morning. Confident or foolhardy- time will tell

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Bill

    Sea horse gave you an answer on Marmalade Dayzz. She suggesys this route,
    “Bill, I have a diabetic friend who is helping me try out making a diabetic marmalade. We’re using fructose from Holland and Barrett. Use a bit less than the recipe suggests, about a third less, as its sweeter than regular sugar. Also, you may need to add some pectin in the form of certo or your own (mine is from my juice extractor that i use for apples in the autumn).”

    So you can adapt this recipe!

  5. Ah sorry I missed that reply – Cheers Sea Horse

  6. hi fiona do you think i could poach the oranges in the slow cooker rather than simmer them.

  7. Thanks for the recipe Fiona- I’ve tucked that one away. I hope to keep a Seville orange in a pot in my future greenhouse just for making orange marmalade, as it is my favorite.

  8. I have to admit never having made marmalade and if I did wouldn’t put the peel in cos I pick it out anyway… but the thought crossed my mind at some point during the process can’t you add orange peel strips done from a canele cutter( the channel cutter on a lemon zester) to give you un pithy uniform thin shreds? That way you wouldn’t have to faff about removing the pith from the peel and shredding that just use the ready cut stuff? Or wouldn’t this work?

  9. Carole, I poached mine in the slow cooker. They only just fitted but it worked just fine.
    My last batch of old english is very bitter and a bit syrupy so I will try this with the oranges that are in the freezer.

  10. I don’t poach the fruit but I cut them in half, put face down on a plate and heat in the microwave for about 40 seconds. It makes the juicing, etc, incredibly easy.

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