Saturday, 22 January 2011

Marmalade Time

It's marmalade season again, and having bought some Seville oranges 2 weeks ago, I now have both the time, and the energy, to actually make the marmalade (or at least the 1st batch - I have bought lots of oranges this year, so should be able to make several batches.)

One of the things about marmalade-making is that while it isn't difficult, it is time consuming. although it does make the house smell wonderful as it is cooking, and for me, it's an evocative scent as it reminds me of my grandmother, who always made marmalade (I never made any, until after she died)

This morning, I had some errands to run in town first thing, so didn't get started until lunchtime, and I spent most of the afternoon on it, one way or another. (although this did include a lunch-break and a waiting-for-the-dishwasher break.)

Still, by about 5 p.m. all was completed - I have 9 large & medium, and 3 small jars full, (I used 2lbs today, as  that's the right quantity for my largest saucepan) and I have at least 4 lbs of oranges left so should be able to make twice as much more, although I may have to wait until next weekend, as I find I have fewer empty jars than I thought, and the only 2 shops I know of in town which sell jam-jars are closed on Sundays.

So, for anyone who fancies having a go at making their own marmalde, this is the recipie I use.
3lbs seville oranges
2 lemons
6 pints of water
6lbs sugar


1. Wash the fruit thoroughly

2. Halve the oranges and lemons and squeeze out the juice and pips. Put all of the pips, plus and pulp & pith/membrane which comes away into a muslin bag & tie it up. Leave the bag soaking in the juice for now.
3. Cut the peel up (however thickly or thinly you like your marmalade)

4. Put the peel into a preserving pan or large saucepan with the water and the bag of pips & pith. Save the juice.
5. Bring the peel to the boil and simmer until the peel is very, very soft. (it should be soft enough that a piece rubbed between your thumb & finger will disintegrate). This will take up to 2 hours and the amount of liquid will have reduced by around half.(slightly shport time for smaller quantities)

6. Remove the muslin bag and squeeze so all the liquid runs back into the pan.

7. Add the sugar and heat gently until the sugar is all dissolved

8. Bring to the boil & boil rapidly until setting point is reached (if you have a jam thermometer, the temp is 105 C / 221 F. - if not, put a couple of saucers in the freezer before you start stage 7, then test by dropping a little marmalade onto the chilled saucer, leave for a moment then push the puddle with your fingernail - the top should wrinkle. If not, boil a bit more and try again)

9. Stir in the juice

10. Remove from heat and remove any scum from the top with a slotted spoon.

11. Leave for 10-15 then stir to distribute the peel and put into clean, warm pots (pots straight out of the dishwasher are fine, or alternatively, wash them very carefully then warm them in a cool oven)

12. Cover the top of the marmalade in each jar with a waxed disc then leave (covered with a clean tea towel) until completely cooled.

13. When completely cool, cover with a cellophane cover and (if you wish) a screw top.


Obviously you can increase or decrease the quantities, as long as you keep them in proportion. You normally get approximately 1lb marmalade per orange - these quantities will yield around 10lbs of marmalade. - I tend to make it in smaller batches as I don’t have a preserving pan, and find that about 1-2 lbs of oranges is as much as I can do at any given time in the largest pan I have, what with the boiling sugar.

If you want to get fancy, you can add ¼ pint of whisky or of Cointreau at stage 9

If you want, you can add the juice with the water at stage 4 - saving it to the end makes the marmalade taste a bit more tangy, which is why I do it, but you don't have to.

1 comment:

spacedlaw said...

An excellent way to spend an afternoon. I have a recipe that prolongs over several days, which is a lot of time.