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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. Mrs evans

    Thanks for your advice fellow marmalade makers. I tried the reboiling method you suggested using just three jars. I got a fantastic set but I think I boiled for too long and the marmalade is rock hard now. I will persevere and redo another three jars boiling for less time!! I intend to read the rescue methods too!!

  2. Veronica

    Agree with Erna. The most likely reason is that you simply made too large a quantity.

  3. Erna Rae

    Try taking five jars, empty into a pan, add the juice of a lemon and re-boil. If it works do it again for each quantity of five jars worth.
    There are pages and pages of comments on the Perfect Seville Orange Marmalade recipe on this site. It’s worth reading through as you will find lots of problems with achieving a set and then how to rescue the marmalade.

  4. Mrs evans

    I decided to double the quantity given and make twenty jars of marmalade. After following directions and bringing the ingredients to the boil I just could not get the marmalade to setting point. I kept testing for a set using cold plates as you advised but after boiling for an hour I gave up and just put it in jars but it is still very runny. What did I do wrong? I have 20 jars of runny orange liquid. Boo hoo!

  5. I make marmalade this way, one little tip, I use a potato peeler and peel the orange before poaching. I put the peels in the pot with the oranges. This way I the peels are ready to cut. Saves time later.


    Your recipe sounds delicious but please can you advise how much marmalade your recipe makes?
    Many thanks,
    Glynis – who has never made jam before!

  7. Done! Looks as if it will be a nice set 🙂

  8. Thanks Fiona! I gave the lemons an hour’s boiling on top of the woodburner yesterday evening, and I’ll finish off the marmalade today.

  9. Oh dear. I started the fruit boiling this afternoon, because we had a power cut and I couldn’t do any work. But since I couldn’t access the recipe online, I forgot the lemons. I’ve boiled the oranges now. Do you think I should boil the lemons separately? Are they vital to the recipe?

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Veronica

      Yes boil the lemons separately – they are vital to the recipe and are needed for setting well.

  10. Christine

    Sorry, Sam – my reply was meant for Ollyfvh but the delay on posts made it look like it was for you. I’m glad your marmalade set.
    Roughly, the longer it boils, the more it cooks and the richer the colour and the flavour will get. The trick is a combination of making sure there’s enough pectin, and not (I made this mistake!) adding more water to replace what has been lost in the earlier cooking process. I’m not entirely sure of the chemistry, but I think that sugar will only reach setting point (which is all about temperature) when the concentration is sufficient – in other words, when enough water has evaporated.
    Hopefully, there’s someone out there who can put both of us right on this one!

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