Marmalade Time

 11th January 2024

This article was posted 12 January 2024

The first Seville and blood oranges are now in the farm shop.  Seville oranges are exceptionally short lived and the season only lasts for 3 – 4 weeks.

Fortunately marmalade oranges can be frozen and used later –  after all there’s nothing worse than running out of marmalade in October!

Marmalade making is a great activity for a chilly day and makes a delicious homemade treat that can be used on toast or as a thoughtful gift.

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
1 lemon
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 this all sounds like too much trouble?  Then the farm shop is well stocked with a superb range of different and unusual flavours of marmalade.

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We are easily accessible from Junction 2 of the M6 Motorway as well as from Coventry, Rugby and the surrounding area. We're situated just outside Stretton-under-Fosse on the B4027. For Sat Navs and Google Maps, our postcode is: CV23 0PE. A bus is available to Stretton-under-Fosse from Rugby and Coventry. The service number is 85, run by National Express Monday-Saturday and Stagecoach on Sunday.

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