January and February are the months when the famous Seville oranges are at their best and screaming to be made into marmalade. Making marmalade can seem a daunting task, but in fact it is surprising simple and incredibly satisfying.
All you need is a good large pan with a heavy-based bottom and jam jars (great to use up your old ones) which are clean and sterilised (to do this, just bang them in the dishwasher so they are good and clean, and when you are making the jam, pop the jars without their lids in the oven at 180c for 10 minutes to kill any bacteria – they are then ready to use).
You cannot beat a pot of proper homemade marmalade. It also makes you look a whizz in the kitchen – the ultimate domestic goddess…!
- You will need about six 450g jam jars
- 1kg Seville oranges
- 2 kg unrefined golden caster sugar
- Juice of 2 lemons
- Wash the oranges and then halve them and squeeze out the juice into a large bowl making sure no pips slip in (Seville oranges have lots of pips so beware!).
- Then, you need to slice the peel. It’s up to your preference, but you can either finely slice, make big wedges or dice.
- Add the cut peel to the juice then add 2.5 litres of cold water.
- Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave for 24 hours (if you can) to allow the water to infuse with the bitter orange.
- When you are ready to make the jam, pour all the water and peel into a large, heavy-based pan and bring to the boil then turn down the heat and allow to simmer very gently for about one and a half hours or until the peel is soft.
- Now weigh out the sugar and add to the pan along with the juice of two lemons. Give it all a good stir and allow the sugar to melt.
- Turn up the heat and bring it to a rapid boil for about 20 minutes until you have reached boiling point – this is the stage when the marmalade will set when cool.
- To check you have reached boiling point, put a saucer into the fridge so it is nice and cold and when you think the marmalade is ready, add a small dollop onto the cold saucer then run your finger through the middle and if the jam stays parted it is ready.
- To get to this stage you will need to keep an eye on the marmalade and stir regularly to make sure it is not sticking to the bottom and to make sure not to burn the sugar. Remove any scum on the surface with a metal spoon.
When the marmalade is ready, pour into the warm sterilised jars and seal immediately. If kept well sealed, this marmalade will keep for two years.
My little tip is, if you see that the marmalade isn’t quite set after you’ve potted it, pour it all back into the pan, bring to the boil and let it bubble away until you think you have reached the setting point again.
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