Marmalade 2019

Labelled home-made marmalade jars

Winter’s Seville oranges season is over so this is for next winter’s marmalade (by which time the world will no longer be possessed by divide-and-rule politics and the UK has reversed extreme poverty described by the UN Special Rapporteur). 

This ratio of oranges to sugar works well. Not too sweet. Excellent jelly-like consistency. A keeper.

3lbs Seville oranges 
3lbs 12oz sugar
4pts water
1 pt water for pectin
2 lemons for pectin

My trusted slightly-edited marmalade recipe, which I owe to the late Katie Stewart, the Times cookery writer, is below. Beg or borrow a preserving pan.* Otherwise, use a pan deep enough for the marmalade to boil safely, and wide enough to allow a large surface to evaporate.

Top Katie Tips

  • Place a saucer or two in freezer or fridge to encourage hot marmalade to cool quickly when testing it has set
  • Put sugar (already weighed) in a pan in low oven to warm which will speed up boiling time
  • Clean jars thoroughly with hot water and dry them in oven.

Five stages of making marmalade

Stage 1 Clean oranges and simmer to soften

  • Scrub Seville oranges and remove stalks (organic oranges are worth it because better farming creates more taste and health)
  • Use your largest pan or two smaller ones with lids 
  • Fill with 4 pints of water and simmer oranges for about an hour until peel is soft (orangey aroma will fill room)
  • Drain cooked oranges and reserve cooking water – a precious liquid that becomes marmalade. 

So far, this process can be done earlier, or the day before.

Stage 2 Extracting pith and pips for pectin

Pectin, extracted from the insides of the fruit, is the setting agent.

  • Cut cooked-and-cooled oranges in half.
  • Scoop-out their insides – the pitch-and-the pips – with a spoon 
  • Add pith-and-pips to a large-enough pan with the additional 1 pint of water and 2 lemons cut in half.
  • Simmer for ten minutes then drain and reserve.

This pectin-rich liquid will be used in Stage 4.

Stage 3 Slicing peel
Flatten softened peel, and cut up peel of oranges (and the 2 lemons) with a small sharp knife as thinly/thickly as you like.

Stage 4 Rolling boiling 
Take the warmed sugar from the oven. It should be in a preserving pan or largest pans (see above*)

Add the precious orange water (Stage 1), drained pectin-juice (Stage 2), and cut-up peel (Stage 3) in with sugar into preserving pan.

Start boiling.

It takes about 20-30 minutes to get the whole pan boiling and it is after that, you must watch like a hawk for the (ta-da) rolling boil.

Overboiling at this stage can stop the marmalade setting. So timing the rolling boil is important. After 15 minutes of a rolling boil, take the pan off the heat.

A rolling boil is when the marmalade is not just bubbling but is a fast-boiling glucky furious whirl. 

Marmalade looking jewel-like in the light

Test for a set
Drop a spot of hot jam on one of those icy-cold plates
Let droplet cool, tilting plate to encourage cooling, then push droplet gently with your finger. You are looking for tell-tale wrinkles and jelly-like character. (The opposite to the lead in a romantic movie).

If the droplet is runny, boil again for a few minutes then test again. And so on until the test droplets are unequivocally set.

Stage 5 Marmalade in jars
Let jam cool in pan until not-too-hot yet not too-set for pouring.
Next, is the sticky bit so spread newspaper over kitchen surfaces, and use a ladle or a jug to pour the warm marmalade carefully into clean jars.

Recipes often say use waxed discs to keep out condensation and mould but, cutting-corners-cook that I am, I have not done so for years, with no adverse effects. 

Wipe jars from stickiness and proudly label.

2 responses to “Marmalade 2019

  1. I can only recommend Elisabeth’s delicious marmalade- chunky, and not too sweet, which is a difficult balance to get. Yum.

    Like

  2. Thank you, Geraldine, for kind comment. It is my love of marmalade which drives me.

    Like

What do YOU think? Do tell...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.