Monday, 16 January 2012

Seville Orange Marmalade 1

Traditionally in this country the preservers amongst us during the months of January to February put down Seville Orange Marmalade for the year as this is the time when the Seville Oranges are available to us.  There are however different types of marmalades and they can be made throughout the year not just now.  There are also different methods of making marmalades, so far I have come across  at least four methods, but no doubt there are more out there.  I thought it might be useful to have a go at these methods and then compare what I have made and how I have made it to see which way I prefer best.

The recipe below utilises Method 1 of making marmalade which is probably one of the easiest methods and a good place to start.  This provides for a thick chunky marmalade if the peel is cut thick, but I chose to cut mine quite fine as I don't like it thick.  This  method consists of washing the fruit, cutting the fruit in half, squeezing out the juice, reserving the pips, slicing the peel without removing the pith into shreds - if the skins are a little too large to handle cut them down further and then shred to the required thickness but make sure your knife is extremely sharp.  You then place the fruit juice the shredded peel into a large pan with the pips tied in a  muslin bag.  Why do you do this, the pips are a good source of pectin which helps your marmalade set.  You then pour the required amount of water into your pan, bring to the boil and simmer for one to two hours until the peel is soft and disintegrates between the fingers. ( If your skin does not do this it is not ready and if you put the sugar in before the peel is ready it will lead to tough chewy shreds of marmalade).  You then remove the muslin bag with your pips in squeezing any liquid retained in the bag back into the pan.  Discard the bag.  You can then add your sugar and stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves, then boil rapidly until setting point is reached.

This is the recipe I am using for two batches of my Seville Orange Marmalade.  The recipe comes from a St Michael Cookery Library book called Home Preserves by Jackie Burrow.  This is also the recipe I taught my friend how to make the other evening.


3lb/1 1/2kg  Seville Oranges
6 pints/3 1/2 litres of water
Juice of 2 lemons; or
1 teaspooon/ 1 x 5ml citric acid or tartaric acid
6lb /2 3/4kg sugar


Wash the Oranges and remove the stalks if necessary.  Pop them in the microwave for about 40 seconds to help release the juice. Cut the oranges in half, squeeze out the juice. I used three  bowls for this, one for the zapped oranges, one for the juice and the third for the orange shells.  This time round I used my citrus reamer but I have been known to usemy freestanding manual juicer.

 Strain off the oranges through a sieve.  I work the juice and fibres through the sieve using the end of a rolling pin.  Scrape off any juice from the underside of the sieve also.

 I have my large freestanding citrus press (acquired second hand) for this purpose as it helps flatten out the fruit shells which makes them easier to shred if hand cutting  and pour into a large pan.  This time round though I chose hand cutting, although a little fiddly and you do need an extremely strong sharp knife.

Tie any pips into a piece of muslin and add to the juice in the pan.  Slice the orange peel and pith into thick or fine shreds then add to the pan. I also have a marmalade shredder which I haven't tried yet; will try it with one of the batches of marmalade that I intend to make.

Pour the water into the pan with the lemon or acid and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or so until the peel is very soft.  It should disintegrate when squeezed between the fingers if it does not it is not ready and will need a little more simmering. Do not add the sugar until this point is achieved as it will harden the peel and if not cooked enough will be well chewy. Once this point is achieved remove the muslin bag squeezing the juice back into the pan. Please Make sure that the bag of pips is secure as mine escaped and I ended up fishing them out of the cooking pan with a slotted spoon which was time consuming.

Peel when soft enough 
Add the sugar and stir over a low heat until it is dissolved.  Boil rapidly until setting point is achieved.  I always pop a knob of butter in whilst boiling as it helps keep the scum to a minimum  - if there is still scum forming add another knob of butter as the scum can spoil the effect of the preserve, alternatively you can remove this but you will possibly not get all of it and I have found that the butter method works best for me. You don't need much.

Test periodically to see if Jam has achieved its set.  I use a thermometer to check that the preserve has reached temperature there is a jam marking on the side.  Once this temperature is achieved I start testing.  It may not always be easy to spot that the jam is set.  The traditional method is to put two saucers in a fridge until they are well cold and then spoon a spot of jam on it and pop it back into the fridge. Take the jam off the boil whilst you are waiting for a test to be achieved as you can end up overboiling the preserve. After a couple of minutes take the saucer out of the fridge and push the surface of the splodge of jam with your index finger.  If the preserve starts to wrinkle the preserve has achieved set. If set is not achieved keep persevering until it is. It will happen but quite frequently can take a little longer or sometimes a little less than a recipe states. There are other signs to look for when waiting for a set. I use a wooden spoon to stir the preserve but if you check the wooden spoon  periodically . there will be little blobs of jelly on the back of the spoon.  This is also known as the flake test.  The top of the preserve in the pan can also appear "thick" when set is nearly achieved and the viscosity of the bubbles change as you get near to a set.  The become more furious and frothier.  If you are not sure that set has been achieved bottle the preserve and let it go cold.  Check the next day and if still runny you can always return it back to a saucepan and re-boil.  I usually add some extra lemon juice if this is the case or pectin extract.  Some fruits have a higher pectin content than others, but oranges and lemons should be relatively straightforward.

Allow to cool slightly before pouring into home prepared jars which should be warm not boiling.  Wipe them clean cover leave them to cool.  When cold add lids or cellophane covers label and store.

Makes approximately 10lb/4 1/2 kg

I made two lots of this marmalade and now have 20 jars of marmalade for my store.  It has achieved a lovely set and tastes yummy.

Do not panic at the yield -remember this is to last the year and there are 52 weeks in a year. On average we get through a jar of marmalade per week just with toast at breakfast without using it for anything else. It is also a good item to make as a present to give away as part of a Christmas hamper and remember marmalade is not just for spreading on toasts or croissants or scones it can make a very nice sauce to put with duck ie. home made duck a l'orange with some fress squeezed orange juice just sieve the peel out if you want a smooth sauce  and can also be popped into casseroles and stir fries and you will soon go through a jar and I even have a recipe somewhere for a marmalade tea bread which is quite delicious will sort it out and post at some point for those of you looking for ideas how to use something.  Quite often people cannot see the use for making jam or marmalade but once you start making your own and experimenting it has for me led to rather more jam and preserve making.  It is very addictive because it is a little bit of alchemy in your own kitchen as the saying goes hubble bubble toil n trouble!




  1. Have fun & take plenty of photos!

    Kay :)

  2. Found it! I am so excited about this - I miss out every year xx


Thank you for popping by. I love to receive comments and to make new friends so please say Hi. Pattypan

Meet the Moggies

  • Merlin (approx 18 months)
  • Squeak (approx 2 years)
  • Poppy (approx 16 years)
  • Tyson (approx 17 years)
  • Tinky (official name Clover approx 18 years)