This article was posted 2nd January 2020.
The marmalade orange has an exceptionally short season of about 3 weeks and is usually only available from early January. Fortunately Seville oranges can be frozen and used later – after all there’s nothing worse than running out of marmalade in October!
The Seville Orange or bitter orange has a bumpy skin, thick pith and sour juice. Seville’s are believed to be a cross between the pomelo and mandarin orange. Too sharp to eat raw but when combined with sugar, lemon and heat transform into the miracle that is marmalade.
Below is a recipe that will make approximately eight, 450gm (1lb) jars of marmalade. You will also need a bowl, a sieve, a 20cm square of muslin and a large, heavy-based pan or preserving pan. The recipe works best if the initial prep is done the day before.
It is also vital to make sure your jam jars are sterile, no point in ruining the hard work!
1 kilo Seville oranges
2.5 litres water
2 kilos granulated sugar
Take a large bowl. Measure in 2.5 litres of water. Flick off any stalk ends on the oranges and cut in half. Holding the sieve over the bowl, squeeze the juice into the water. Put any pips and loose pith in the muslin square, tie into a bundle, then drop this into the bowl.
Cut the halved oranges into shreds – the thickness you prefer – and add these, too. Cover and leave overnight.
The next day, pour the whole lot into a heavy-based saucepan or preserving pan. Bring to a simmer. You are aiming to soften the skin – this takes up to 2 hours for thick shreds, but taste as you go. When done, carefully fish out the muslin bag and pop in a bowl to cool down.
Put a couple of small plates in the freezer – this is for testing the marmalade later. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the pan. When cool enough to handle, squeeze the muslin bag and scrape the jelly-like substance (pectin) into the pan and give it a stir.
Add the sugar. Over a moderate heat, stir until the sugar has totally dissolved. Then turn up the heat and boil the marmalade rapidly.
You are aiming to stop the boiling process at the ‘setting point’ – this is when the marmalade thickens up from the pectin in the fruit. This can take anything from 15 to 40 minutes or more. So it’s vital to test as you go. Take it off the heat after 15 minutes and put a teaspoon of the marmalade onto a chilled plate. Put it back in the freezer for 2 minutes to cool. Then give it a prod – you need the marmalade to form a skin that wrinkles and holds this shape. If it’s not ready, return to the boil, give it another 5 minutes then test again until done.
When the marmalade is ready, leave to cool for 15 minutes then use the ladle or a wide funnel to pour into the jars. (Ideally, warm them first in the oven). Seal with the lid, cool, label and store.
If all of that sounds like a lot of sticky work, then we do also sell a handy tin of prepared Seville oranges, available year round in the farm shop. This handy tin by Home Cook greatly reduces the preparation time involved and the stress of the short season.
Still too much trouble? Then simply buy a ready made jar from our lovely range of marmalades, pick up one of our fantastic crusty loaves supplied by the Revel Baker and relax with the perfect marmalade sandwich.