There is something organically satisfying about making marmalade. Like making chutney in the autumn / fall there is a feeling of working with the seasons and thinking ahead - I need to make this now because there is this availability / surplus and these ingredients won’t be around for long. The very act of filling jars and storing them to use gradually throughout the year feels comforting and natural. Cook and nature working together. One of the best things about marmalade is how few ingredients are needed; Seville oranges, a couple of lemons and sugar - that’s a really short shopping list!
It’s economical too – the total cost of 2.5kg of fruit and 2kg of sugar is less than £5 – normal granulated sugar is fine – you don’t need to use preserving sugar (apparently this has larger crystals that dissolve more slowly and reduce possible sticking and burning). It also reduces froth giving a clearer jelly – but with a little care this really isn’t a problem.
About 1.3kg (8 fruits) Seville oranges (makes about 8 1lb jars)
2 lemons (all the fruit I used was organic and unwaxed – this is important – waxed fruit must be scrubbed first)
2kg granulated sugar
Cut the fruit in half and juice.
Scrape the pith and pips from the fruit and tie in a large piece of muslin cloth – this is where most of the pectin will come from.
Shred the orange and lemon peel – coarse or fine, it’s up to you (whatever size you cut, it will shrink when cooked).
Place the juice, water, peel and muslin bag of pith and pips into a large stainless pan.
Bring to the boil and simmer gently, uncovered for about 2 hours – until the peel is soft.
Remove the bag of pith and pips and leave to cool.
Add sugar to the pan and dissolve over a low heat.
When completely dissolved, bring to the boil.
Squeeze the muslin bag over the pan (before it boils!) to extract as much of the sticky pectin as possible (the more you can get out the easier the marmalade will set).
Boil for at least 15 minutes until setting point is reached (this can be determined by allowing a spoonful to chill on a cold saucer for a few seconds and then lightly dragging your finger through; if it wrinkles you’re just about there).
Skim any froth and leave to cool slightly.
Stir and pour into jars that have been sterilised by putting into a medium oven for 5 minutes.
Seal jars whilst still hot
Marmalade is not just for toast! A generous spoonful is delicious in carrot soup, or if you are roasting a duck a spoonful in the gravy works a treat. Or you could make marmalade bread & butter pudding. In the recipe below I have used croissants which make a really light pudding – and also make it a bit more special than usual.
As well as serving straight from the dish, you could let it cool first and then use a pastry cutter to portion it. I used a heart-shaped cutter because…well Valentine’s day is around the corner…
2 whole eggs, beaten
12fl oz milk (350ml)
3 tbsp vanilla sugar
2 croissants sliced
Butter at room temperature
Combine the eggs, milk and sugar.
Slice the croissants, butter them and spread with marmalade – be generous!
Lay in a ovenproof dish and pour the egg milk mixture over.
Bake in a pre-heated oven 150 degrees C fan for about 30 minutes. (Ovens vary and I can’t say for sure unless I move in with you…)
The pudding should still wobble gently when the dish is jiggled.
If using a cutter, leave to cool first – the puddings can be re-heated gently in the oven before serving.
Or of course, you could just have toast and marmalade…