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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.

  Leave a reply


  1. I made Seville orange marmalade for the first time a couple of years ago and was bitterly (pun intended) disappointed. I couldn’t eat the stuff and gave it all away to friends (I grew up in Switzerland where we a) don’t eat so much marmalade and b) it isn’t so bitter). So last December, I tempted my luck with some Jaffa oranges. I used a zester for the shreds and packed everything left of the oranges after juicing them in a muslin and proceeded as normal. Result: perfect combination of a slight bitterness and very, very orangy marmalade. This is the way forward for me 😉

  2. I have been making orange marmalade for probably 45 or so years now and the best method and result I have used is to simmer the whole,scrubbed fruit in the water until soft and then leave until cool – I usually leave overnight. Then my infinitely patient husband halves the beautifully soft fruit, scoops out the pips and pith and slices up the peel however we want it. Sometimes it’s thin and sometimes thicker. Meanwhile the pips etc are put in a muslin bag and simmered in a little of the cooking water. When all is prepared the muslin is squeezed into the prepared peel mixture, sugar is added and all is boiled until the setting point is reached.I always use raw cane sugar.

    I often add coarsely chopped preserved ginger and usually put a good tablespoon of good whisky in the bottom of the sterilised jars, immediately prior to filling with the preserve. (If you can get away with it, husband’s Laphroaig gives a stunning waft of good, peaty malt when the jar is opened.) Pink grapefruit marmalade with added cranberries makes a welcome extra gift at Christmas. Whilst I’m on about additions, try adding Calvados to the jar when making Quince Jelly.

  3. Natalia

    I just recommended this recipe to a friend (though I haven’t tried it yet, I will when I make marmalade next.) I never see Sevilles here so will have to add pectin to my regular oranges. I think I will also make some with lemons, limes, and ginger, and combinations thereof. My kids also want me to leave out the peel!

    Just wanted to mention, I think you meant 2273 ml, not litres. 😉

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Veronica and Shelley

    Mine took about 30 mins to set!

  5. veronica

    Shelley, mine took quite a long time to set too, even though I only made slightly more than the specified quantity; the first 15 minutes it looked like boiling water rather than boiling jam, if you see what I mean — I had to evaporate quite a lot of excess water before it got to a true rolling boil, so it probably needed half an hour’s boiling in total.

    It does taste fabulous though!

  6. shelley

    mmm yummy!
    After the fete d’oranges ameres last week, this week it was marmalade time!!
    This recipe was pretty simple to follow and looks fabulous. It seemed to take a while to get to setting point but I had doubled the recipe so more fool me, but it has set fantastically now and smells yummy; roll on breakfast

  7. Digger

    Kate – I haven’t found frozen oranges to be too much of a problem with getting a set – although adding extra fresh lemons would help if you’re struggling to get a set

    Pam – You should have no problems halving the recipe.

  8. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pam

    I don’t know to be quite honest. These are based on the traditional weights for a batch of marmalade.

    If you do halve the quantities, I’d love to hear how you got on!

  9. Can this recipe be halved without any modifications? I’ve never made marmalade and am a bit tentative about diving into the full recipe. Thanks for your help.

  10. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Kate

    That’s good news. I have to admit I ate a whole half jar of this marmalade at one sitting!

    I don’t know about pectin and frozen oranges – this is the first year that I have frozen some. Sorry.

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