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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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  1. Sandra P

    Thanks so much for pointing me in the direction of Delia’s Dark Chunky Marmalade. Like one of the other contributors I have problems with my hands and had googled using a food processor to see if I could use one to help. This page came up top of the list. It has been an absolute Godsend, so easy and quick once the initial simmering of the fruit is done. Scooping out the flesh was really fast and easy and chopping up the skins because they were soft also really easy. I will use this recipe every year from now on. Thanks for the tip on using the poaching liquid by the way.

  2. So, in the absence of finding Seville oranges before Christmas, I have made a batch of grapefruit, lemon and orange marmalade. All looks mostly OK except on returning home tonight, I may reboil with some lemon and re-pot the jars as it could be thicker at the bottom. Two questions at this stage – is it OK that the bottom third of the jar is runnier? And, it has a lovely barley sugar taste to it – an acquired taste maybe?? Have I totally burnt it?! It is still clear and not too dark so I don’t think I have completely caramelised it! It did take a long time to boil and the recipe said that I needed 2.25kg sugar with 2.5l water which I used but it took ages.

    On the positive side, I do have 8 jars of pear and apple jam which will be doled out as Christmas presents if my marmalade fails!

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Posset

    Satsuma marmalade sounds superb!

    Hi Stephen

    Thanks for that can’t wait to try this 🙂

  4. Chocolate Marmalade
    You will need a plain or milk chocolate one of 70%
    Use your usual marmalade receipe, when you get to the setting stage add about 1 bar of chocolate broken up and stir into the marmalade, so mixed throughout. pot as usual. enjoy!!
    You can use those cake chocolate drops, add at the potting stage to get a marmalade with drops distributed throughout the preserve.

  5. Great site am making satauma marmalade at the moment smells great. I’m sure I saw something about chocolate marmalade but can’t find it now. Thought it would be a novel xmas present, can anyone help?

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Stephen

    Thanks for a great tip!

  7. Hi Preservers.
    Don’t forget if you have room in your freezer during the seville season put some away for later in the year. Just add an extra naval orange or lemon to your pan to make up for pectin loss.
    Looking forward to the new season.

  8. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Emma

    I’ve never seen them available before January. that’s when they appear in the more expensive shops and then in February in the cheaper supermarkets. So I think that you might be out of luck.

  9. Hello experts, I am in need of some advice! So I have around 15 nice clean jars waiting for marmalade to be made, potted, labelled and given out as Christmas presents, however I am in a panic about the Seville season. Am I going to miss it?! I thought that it was Dec-Feb but I haven’t seen any yet and all of the above comments seem to lean towards mid Jan onwards. Suggestions would be welcomed. Thank you!

  10. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Alexandra

    Thank you so much for this tip. Roll on January when we make our marmalade!

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