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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. sam griffiths

    thank you, it did set not long after i wrote the question but it had reduced a bit so i only yielded 5 1/2 jars instead of 7 and it is a very dark colour although tastes nice

    why is it so dark ?


  2. Christine

    I’m afraid it’s too late to change what you’ve made. You could try another batch, make it much thicker and mix the two together, perhaps.
    Lemon juice provides acid to activate pectin. The secret is to test pectin levels before adding the sugar, and you do that by mixing a teaspoon of cold juice with a couple of teaspoons of meths. When there’s a solid ‘clot’, there’s enough pectin to go to the next stage. If the clot isn’t firm enough, continue to boil the mixture along with the pips and anything else you removed from the oranges.

  3. sam griffiths

    hi im in the process of your recipe at the moment, i have followed it exactly, i have been boiling now for 1hr what am i doing wrong, should it be rapid boiling or more of a fast simmiering ??? thanks

  4. I made the marmalade for the first time ever – with this recipe. However I am having some problems to get it to set – don’t know why as I followed things to a tee – except I substituted some dark brown sugar for white sugar. Would this make a difference – it was only about 15% of the total sugar required? Its made it realy unctuous and tasty but having problems keeping it on the toast! Do I just have to boil it more, add more pectin (lemon juice) or what? Any guidance most welcome.

  5. Hi Fiona, I’m using this recipe for 2nd year running with a few additions, my favourite being star anise and ginger. I only made one batch last year and have just finished the last dregs of the last jar. This year I have got a bit carried away – well I can buy seville oranges for 50p per pound on my local market. I thought I was done but last week I swapped a jar of ginger and whisky marmalade for some fish at the market. When I went back this morning Tom informed me that he had eaten half the jar already and would return the empty jar next Friday! He also said it was the best marmalade he had ever eaten and was convinced it would win prizes. Maybe I should enter a jar in the International Marmalade Festival especially as it is just down the road in Penrith! Anyway, I took pity on Tom and as they still have sevilles on the market I went back and offered to make him a whole batch. Guess what I’m doing this weekend, again! Batch 5. I think I should invest in a jam pan now as I am officially addicted to making marmalade. By the way, I use a lot less sugar than your recipe but that is just personal preference.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Pamela

      A jam/maslin pan is a great investment as it makes the process so much easier!

  6. Didn’t start for about an hour after getting the marmalade into the jars, but your method worked nonetheless! Many thanks for your swift reply. My breakfast this morning of wholemeal toast and this golden orange nectar was the best of 2012!

  7. Ali Ross

    Hello again, I am wondering why my marmalade has not set yet, I made it yesterday. I am no stranger to jams jellies and preserves.
    If I need to empty all those jars…oh dear I hope not, how long should I boil. Thank you so much for a wonderful site.
    I am in Canada, cold at the moment and the smell of the marmalade cooking yesterday was just grand.
    Cheers from Swallowtail Farm.

  8. Could you expand on turning the jars every ten minutes to spread the peel evenly throughout? Mine settled near the top when I poured it into the jars half an hour ago but I’m not sure if I’m supposed to wait until the marmalade is cool (or cooler) before turning. A lovely recipe to use though – so thank you very much. X

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Lucy

      Keep on turning from about 15 mins after putting into jars! Hope that it’s not too late.

  9. Christine

    I made a batch of very rough cut and bitter (this is how I like it!) marmalade over the weekend using a similar recipe, which is very good. I’ve just found your recipe and passed it onto a colleague, because it’s much clearer and helpful about things like reaching setting point. Anyway, I preferred your lyrical introduction and the hints and tips about changing elements of the recipe to suit different tastes in the Forum.

    What a star you are! Thank you. You’re now firmly on my ‘favourites’ list.

  10. Ali Ross

    I made this recipe yesterday and my marmalade has yet to set. Will it set over time ? What should I do next?
    thanks so much

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