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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


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


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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  1. Now aged 75, I have made many batches of marmalade over the last 50 years, usually by the fiddly traditional method, including Prue Leith’s. I have also made Delia’s Dark (which was too solid after hours of boiling). This year (on the 27th January) I searched the web for marmalade recipes hoping for possible good processor/microwave recipes (the last one I tried 2 years ago turned out just an orange mush) and found your recipe (of the 26th), combining Delia’s poaching and traditional boiling.It was so easy and the marmalade is perfect. What timing! I only wish someone had worked it out long ago, but better late than never. I shall use no other from now on.

  2. seahorse

    Hi Bill and Fiona

    Further research suggests that fructose can leave an after taste. So I think my friend and I will try making both my original suggestion and the NTrust saccharin method. Let’s swap notes back here after.

    Re blood oranges, I’d love to know how on earth the makers of this one at Fortnum and Mason’s get that wonderful marbled effect that replicates the fruit. Mine just went a uniform pink. Pretty, but not spectacular. Any ideas?

  3. Ruthdigs

    Hi Fiona – thank you for the tip re the pectin in pink grapefruit! rx

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Lois

    I thought that you might have a problem with the marmalade setting (Seville oranges are pectin rich). So I Googled and found this recipe from Abel and Cole – you need to scroll down the page
    They don’t use extra pectin so my recipe should work. Let me know how you get on!

    PS I don’t know how much 8 blood oranges weigh but in their recipe they add 2.5 kilos of sugar to 8 oranges so you would need to adjust the sugar down – Seville oranges are very bitter.

  5. I finally got my hands on some blood oranges earlier this week and can’t wait to transform them into all sorts of goodies!

    Having never made it before, marmalade is something i’ve got my sights set on but i’m very much a novice. Will the recipe translate well over to blood oranges do you think? I imagine it would, but you can never be too sure!

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Bill

    It might be in idea to have a look at the ingredients on a jar of diabetic marmalade for clues. I’ve also found this recipe on the National Trust site

    Hi Kate

    Many apologies…

    Hello Danast

    I do hope that it went well. Making marmalade can be exhausting.

    Hi Carole

    Yes that should work fine.

    Hello Paula

    Wouldn’t it be great to have your own Seville orange tree!

    Hi Mandi

    Great idea – I must give that a go. I have Seville Oranges in the freezer.

    Hi Suky

    Thanks for that. This marmalade isn’t nearly as bitter as thick cut marmalade. I’ve also made a great three fruit marmalade that I’ll be posting soon.

    Hello Joy

    That’s a brilliant tip – saves on energy too. But we don’t have a microwave.

    Hi Tamar

    Yes we are far more relaxed than those on the other side of the pond. I reuse lids in good condition but not rings. I have been hot water bathing my fruit butters to give them a longer shelf life.

    Hello Cookie Girl

    That’s a good tip. Thank you for dropping by.

    Hi Ruth digs

    I know that you can make Seville orange without lemons as they contain loads of pectin. I just like this combination. However if you make pink grapefruit marmalade you would need to add pectin – either powder or lemons. Hope this helps.

    Hi Digger

    I’m not sure about diabetic marmalade either. But I did track down a recipe for Bill (see above). I totally agree – the Internet is a wonderful resource.

  7. not sure about a sugar free marmalade – it’s the sugar that acts as the preservative and don’t know if the sugar substitutes would have the same effect.

    Planning on making mnarmalade this weekend – found similar methods as above on – don’t you just love the internet!

  8. Ruthdigs

    I’m a marmalade virgin too so if this is a really dumb question sorry!
    As Seville oranges are notorious for their bitterness what role do the lemons serve? Are they needed to balance the sugar as the pith of the oranges are removed? Or is it some more alchemic reason? If I wanted to use pink grapefruit not oranges would I still need the lemons do you think?
    Sorry – this should possibly be in the forum!

  9. Cookie Girl

    When making preserves I fill my dishwasher with lids and jars put them on a quick cycle and wait for them to dry naturally, but still be warm. Hey presto ! Sterilised jars with little fuss. I am going to get some seville oranges and try and make a nice clear marmelade with tiny bits of orange…

  10. Tamar@StarvingofftheLand

    I continue to marvel at the differences in how canners on either side of the Atlantic approach the sterility issue. Over here, they tell you to *make sure* to buy new lids and rings every time, and to, and I don’t have enough confidence in my canning skills to go rogue and re-use what ought to be re-usable. Unfortunately, Seville oranges don’t even show up in markets around here, but when the wild grapes are ripe in the fall …

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