Seville Orange Marmalade

P1040028 (1024x574)Home made marmalade tastes fantastic: far better than anything you can buy in the shops. Not only is it lower carbon it’s also much cheaper, and it really doesn’t take long to make.

For those of you who don’t already make it, here is the recipe I use….. passed down from my Grandmother (with the odd high tech tweak!)

Seville Oranges are available in Cambridge Market now, until the end of January

Anne’s Marmalade recipe

Each batch

  • 3kg Seville oranges
  • 6kg sugar
  • 1.7l water (I find that this gives me perfect results with virtually no need to boil down, but I’d suggest using 2l water or more initially, until you find what works for you.)

I use a pressure cooker and large preserving pan, but you could also make smaller quantities in an ordinary large saucepan (There will be more evaporation if you’re not using a pressure cooker, so use a little more water) As with any acidic cooking, I’d avoid using an aluminium pan.

This will make 10kg of Marmalade at 60% sugar content: roughly enough to have on a slice of toast every day for a year. It tastes wonderful: far better than any I’ve found in the shops, and costs just 90p/kg (40p/lb)

  • Scrub the oranges and remove the pit where the stem was attached (if present)
  • Halve the oranges.  Use a sharp tipped knife to lever the pips out into a sieve that’s over a saucepan (so you can collect the juice dripping off the pips)
  • Tie the pips securely in a strip of muslin cloth or strainer bag, and put them into the pressure cooker with the water, the juice from the pips and the halved oranges. Push the oranges down into the water as much as possible.
  • Leave soaking overnight to soften the skin and extract the pectin.
  • Cook everything until skin is soft (10-15 mins in pressure cooker)
  • Remove and chop the oranges, retaining as much of the juice as possible, and put it all in a big preserving pan. Remove the bag of pips, squeezing the juice back into the pan, and throw the pips away.
  • Bring the preserving pan to the boil, progressively adding each kilo of sugar and stirring it so it’s dissolved before adding the next kilo. (Beware that if it’s not dissolved it can burn on the bottom of the pan) Fish out any obvious remaining pips
  • While its coming to the boiling, either wash and dry the jars, or sterilise them in the oven.
  •  The aim now is to boil it down, (or if necesssary add more boiling water) to get the marmalade to 55% -60% sugar content, at which point it should set nicely and keep well.   Traditional marmalade recipies contain a lot of water, which is then boiled off, but this is a waste of energy, can be quite slow and fills the kitchen with steam. To  avoid this, I try to use no more water than necessary.  To do this, I check the total weight of the pan once all the sugar is in, then add more boiling water if necessary, or start boiling it down. If you don’t have a suitable weigh scale, boil down as fast as possible without it boiling over, until it’s at setting point and the bubbling changes its appearance. This may take a while so it’s worth having other things to do in the kitchen while you’re keeping an eye on it. To check the set, have a plate ready in the freezer.
  • Ladle hot jam into clean jam jars (a wide funnel is useful) and screw on the lid while its still hot.
  • While it’s still hot, add a wax coated disc to seal the surface of each jar. I do this because its what Granny did to prevent mould growth, but maybe its not necessary if the jar has a good screw on lid.
  • If there are any jam spills on the outside of the jars it’s easiest to wipe them off when the jars are still hot. Once the jar is cool, I add the label.

How to check the set

I know its roughly right when the bubbling changes its appearance, (becoming much more gloppy and likely to boil over!) I’ve also started using a weigh scale designed for luggage to monitor the weight. Boiling it down until the weight of marmalade is 1.66-1.8 times the weight of the sugar seems to be about right. I then test the set by putting a spoonful on a saucer from the freezer, and check that the marmalade is the consistency I want once its cooled to room temperature.

Seville oranges are available in Cambridge Market in January. Lakeland sell labels and wax discs.  I reuse jars from previous years (1kg jars that once held mayonnaise are my current favourite)

Anne Miller

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