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‘Mazin’ marmalade!

A jar of homemade Seville orange marmalade

A tasty treat for toast….

In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re in the midst of a marmalade extravaganza. Everywhere you go there’s a marmalade kit or more Seville oranges than you can poke a sugary stick at.

It’s not that there’s a glut of these wonderfully aromatic but exceptionally bitter oranges, but rather sales of commercially made marmalade have dropped while home preserving has gone through the roof. It’s the usual case of shops cashing in where they can, making up for the losses elsewhere.

The box from a Seville orange marmalade kit

Kit-n-caboodle…

However, there really is nothing like your own home-made marmalade, especially the Seville orange variety. It’s just so bitter and tasty and you can cut the shred to the thickness you desire. What more could you want on a nice piece of hot buttered toast? Mm…mm…mm…

I made my first marmalade back in 2011, and used what is known as the ‘whole fruit method’. I won’t go into details as it took me quite a bit of effort and time and made me rather reluctant to venture back and have another go. That is, until this year, when I decided to try a different approach, the ‘sliced fruit method’.

Pages from Pam Corbin's 'Preserves' book

What’s the recipe today..?

It’s very simple. You cut your fruit in half, juice it, slice up the peel (the time consuming part, but a good opportunity to catch up on some timeshift TV) then put all the juice, peel and an appropriate amount of water (depending on the weight of fruit you’re using) in a bowl and leave overnight or for 24 hours.

You’ll love this bit, as the smell of oranges just permeates the house and as time goes on, it smells like the basis for a rather lovely party punch. Don’t be tempted to quaff it though, as there’s no sugar in it yet!

Once the fruit has soaked for a good time and filled your house with the glorious smell of aromatic oranges, bung everything from the bowl into a preserving pan along with some lemon juice, bring it to the boil and simmer for two hours.

Seville orange juice and peel soaking in a bowl

Orange fruit punch anyone..?

MARMALADE MYTH BUSTER… It’s worth noting at this point that YOU DON’T NEED TO USE THE PIPS! People will swear blind that your marmalade won’t set without them. Ignore these fools. All the pectin you need for a good set is in the pith, so don’t waste any time mashing them up and messing about with them, go do something more exciting instead…

Once the peel is softened to your liking, add a rather criminal amount of sugar (did you know that sugar makes 60% of the content of your finished marmalade?!!), stir until disolved, bring to a roiling boil and when setting point has been reached (about 25 minutes), bottle up in cleaned and warmed jars. All that’s left is to wait for the marmalade to cool, the lids to go ‘pop’ as they seal, label up and away you go!

The cover of Pam Corbin's 'Preserves' handbook

Get preserving!

FIND OUT MORE! If you want to know more about the setting process and how to work out when you’ve reached setting point, take a look at my previous post ‘Let’s get jammin’…‘, it’s packed full of tips and help. I also recommend that you buy Pam Corbin’s excellent River Cottage Handbook No.2 ‘Preserves’.

I actually had one jar that didn’t seal this time around. I thought maybe I’d got some marmalade in the lid that had prevented the seal from forming, but it turned out I just hadn’t twisted the lid on hard enough. There are two things you can do with the odd jar that ends up like this:

  1. Eat it! Yum!
  2. Reseal it. Yay!

But how do you reseal a jar? Easy peasy. Take the lid off and wipe off any marmalade that may have got around the top of the jar or on the seal of the lid. Then, put the jar (with marmalade) and lid into a cold oven. Turn up the oven to 100°C and leave both to heat right through. I’m not really sure how long this takes, as I just got on with some other stuff and came back an hour later, but suffice to say, an hour was plenty. Then, remove both from the oven, screw the lid on tight and leave to seal.

Boiling purple plum jelly

Not marmalade, but something else…

I didn’t really need to go through this exercise, as no sooner had I sealed it, than I’d taken it to share with some friends to have with some pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, but the thought was there and it was an experiment for the future.

Next I’m going to be making some ruby grapefruit marmalade, which should look and taste fab! Both marmalades and a couple of jars of Angelino plum jelly I made back in November will be on sale at the upcoming Seedy Saturday in Farmborough on 9 March 2013. More details about the event will follow, but you can read about last year’s event in the meantime…

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2 Comments

  1. Megan Palmer
    Posted 9 April 2013 at 7:05am | Permalink

    if you own a pressure cooker, it’s even easier to make marmalade, no need to soak your fruit, just juice and cut the peel, reserving the pips. I put the pips into a muslin bag and put the lot into the pressure cooker with a litre of water for every kilo of oranges. Bring to pressure and cook for 10 minutes. Transfer to a preserving pan, bring to boil and add a kilo of sugar and boil hard for 15- 20 minutes. This never fails to set and cuts the cooking time substantially:)

    • Posted 9 April 2013 at 10:56am | Permalink

      Thanks for the tip Megan. Personally, I would miss the lovely smell of citrus around the house for a day, but if you’re tight on time, I can see the benefits. Don’t forget that the pips aren’t important, it’s the pith that is, so you could streamline your process even more by leaving out the muslin bag…

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