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Perfect Seville orange marmalade recipe

oranges and lemonsAs the topping for the best slice of toast of the day, good marmalade is a joy. We like it dark, chunky, hand cut and never in moderation.

Marmalade was the first preserve that we made. We were so proud of it that we could hardly bear to move it from the worktop to the larder, let alone eat it. Eventually we opened the first jar and lavished it on slice after slice of hot buttered toast.

We immediately christened it Intellectual Marmalade as so much ground work, research and care had gone into its manufacture. Visitors who spotted the label were wary of it at breakfast. Would it somehow have an effect on the brain? When they saw us slopping it onto our toast they happily did the same. No one ever mentioned the name.

We like dark old fashioned marmalade. We couldn’t find a recipe for this so we based our recipe on the classic Seville Orange Marmalade in Delia’s Complete Illustrated Cookery Course. We ignored the rolling boil stage and then let it simmer slowly for hours to achieve the dark colour and depth of taste. We tested it for set every twenty minutes. It nearly killed me (I was up for most of the night). Simmering for hours was a key tip from my mother whose marmalade is excellent (I suspect that her inspiration is Mrs Beeton, with knobs on). She wasn’t forthcoming when we dared to ask for the recipe. Update: my mother uses a Pru Leith recipe and adds a couple of tablespoonfuls of molasses to get the dark colour. We recommend the Delia recipe – but simmered very gently for a good six hours to achieve the dark colour and depth of taste naturally. However, I would recommend tasting it every hour or so. When you get the flavour that suits your palate bring the marmalade to a rolling boil immediately and test every 15 minutes for set.

Marmalade can be a bit of a palaver. It starts with hunting down and bagging the fruit. Despite many forays I couldn’t find any Seville oranges this year. Just as I was about to give up I saw them twinkling out in the Cambridge market on Monday. Investing my small change in three kilos of the fruit, I staggered back to the car park with just enough cash to release Jalopy from the gloomy depths.

Having made no notes on the timings of our Intellectual Marmalade recipe, I couldn’t face another day/night of babysitting the bubbling vats. I was determined to find the best old fashioned marmalade recipe, with proper timings. A couple of days ago I discovered a Dark Chunky Marmalade recipe on Delia Online. It’s made in two steps, so it’s great if you are working full time as you can spread the process over two evenings (I would recommend a spreading the task over a weekend unless your evening starts at 15.00 hours). Seville oranges will survive happily in the fridge for at least a week. They keep for months in the freezer and, if you have the room, you can stash them and make fresh marmalade throughout the year.

We have finally made Delia’s Dark Chunky Marmalade. We combined her recipe with our method and simmered ours for a good six hours before setting point was reached. It looks divine and tastes even better than my mum’s. I’m amazed that Paddington Bear hasn’t dropped by.

N.B. If you try this recipe, the poaching liquid is used in the final marmalade. The recipe isn’t very clear on this point and I found the answer in the DeliaOnline forum (press the Community button on her site to access this great resource). Also you need a very large pot! To stop all the peel rising to the top of the jars let the marmalade cool a little before bottling in sterlised jars.

Update January 14th 2011

We now have several new recipes for Seville orange marmalade to suit every taste:

A super three fruit marmalade. A best seller on our gateside stand.

Easy Seville orange marmalade. This fine shredded marmalade is a classic and gets the thumbs up from my mum and is really easy to make!

Seville orange and quince marmalade. Lots of deep flavours in this orange and quince mix.


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265 Comments

  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Mildred

    Thanks for the tips on boozy marmalade! I’m going to freeze some Seville oranges as they are great for making liqueurs as well as marmalade.

  2. oops, I posted my comment above using hubby’s name! Sorry Ian.

    And I meant to add thank you Fi for reminding us that we can freeze the oranges.

  3. Kate, I did some with whisky, I just added a couple of teaspoons to the clean jar before adding the hot marmalade (I think Delia recommends that method). It worked very nicely! I expect rum or brandy wold be nice too.

    Waitrose now have their Seville oranges in stock, guess what we will be making this weekend 😉

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Kate,

    I’m sorry but I can’t help you as I’ve only made traditional marmalade. It might be worth looking at the marmalade recipes on Delia’s site as she has a few.

    Seville oranges freeze well if you run out of puff!

  5. My husband turned up from our local market yesterday with a huge amount of seville oranges pounds and pounds of them, and announced as I liked jam making I could give marmalade ago. I have never made marmalade before, until yesterday, put in jars this morning and it was great it worked, I now am looking for wonderful additions to my marmalade, like whisky, ginger, etc any ideas would really be welcomed, as I have another 15lbs to get through. Kate

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Mildred

    A huge thank you for sharing this marmalade recipe!

    It’s great to have a good one to make when Seville oranges are not in season.

  7. Mildred

    Marmalade is my favourite preserve! The Sevilles are not in stock as I write, not long to go now though! To keep my ‘hand in’ I did a refresher course of marmalade making today using four fruits – 2 red grapefruits, a big orange, a lemon and 2 limes. 3lbs of fruit in all.

    I squeezed and chopped it all up yesterday, putting it (and the pith and pips and bits tied up in a muslin bag) into the pan with 3 pints of cold water to sit overnight. The juice from squeezing the fruit went in the fridge.

    I simmered it this morning until the rind was soft, it took about 2 hours and the limes took the longest (I put the lid on half way through, I don’t simmer it in my maslin pan as too much water evaporates and my roll of tinfoil isn’t wide enough to make a temporary lid). Then I squeezed the muslin bag of bits (using your tip above Fi, thank you!) and added the juice from the fruit, plus 3lbs granulated sugar, heating slowly until it was all disolved (in the jam pan now).

    I brought it to the boil and checked for setting point after 30 mins, it was almost there. 10 minutes later it was in the jars with a sample bit left over – we tested it at lunchtime and declared it a winner! Really rich, orangey and tangy. The nicest marmalade I have made since the Seville last year! I love Delia’s method too, it works very well.

    I know what you mean Fi, whether it is your first batch (or 21st batch) of marmalade, you have to keep a jar on the table to look at, it’s a work of art!!

  8. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Margaret-Rose,

    If you tie the corners of the muslin and insert the handle of a wooden spoon, and turn it gently, there is no need to squeeze.

    I do hope that this helps.

  9. Margaret-Rose STRINGER

    This has turned out a real disappointment for me: Delia’s recipe requires that impossible business of squeezing pulp through muslin, and I can’t do it. I’m 64, I have arthritis in my hands and I just CAN’T DO IT. Why doesn’t anyone make marmalade that adds pectin if necessary but doesn’t require the cook to do that painful task?!

  10. cybersquibbs

    I’ll have to return to read more on your interesting web page but I have to go now to make my marmalade. Found my mislaid recipé.

    webcrone@cybersquibbs.com

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