Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Adventures in marmalade making

When my friend Val gave me a pot of her orange and apricot marmalade last year, I decided after one tiny  morsel that I would have to make a batch myself.  Sadly, I had missed all the 2012 Seville oranges by the time I got round to thinking about getting my preserving pan out, so I was determined not to miss out this year.

So when Val told me that these  were in our local Tesco...

...I had to ask very nicely for the recipe and get on with the job!

The day before you wish to make your marmalade, wash and juice 675g of Seville oranges (or thereabouts) and 1 lemon

Put the juice in a large bowl

Use a teaspoon to scoop out the remaining pulp and pips, putting them into a smaller bowl with a pint of water.  ( I scraped out some of the thicker bits of pith too.)

Cut the fruit skins into thin slivers and put into the bowl with the juice, then add 4 and a half pints of water

Cover and leave the two bowls to sit for a day.

The next day, take 450g dried apricots and chop up quite small

Place a sieve lined with a good-sized square of muslin over the large bowl with the rind and juice in, and pour the pith, pip and pulp  bowl into it.  Tie the muslin securely with string.

Pour the juice and rind into a preserving pan or other large pan, and add the muslin bag containing the pith, pips and pulp.  Val recommends giving the pan a light buttering to ensure nothing catches, but I forgot to do this!

Cook this mixture for 45 minutes till the rind is tender and the liquid reduced by about a third.

Take the muslin bag out and add the chopped apricots and 6lb of ordinary granulated sugar.

 Bring up to the boil fairly slowly, to ensure the sugar dissolves fully.

Then boil rapidly for 20 minutes by which time it should have reached setting point.

I did not actually TEST that setting point had been reached - though I did put my sugar thermometer in and the required temperature of 220 degrees had been reached - and I really should have done, because when I picked up one of the jars this morning, it clearly had not set!  

Looking back, when I poured the marmalade into the twelve sterilised jars I had prepared, the rind was mostly sitting quite low in the jar, and this was probably a clue that this stuff was going to have the consistency of runny honey when cool!

Bad marmalade

So I tipped all the jars back into the preserving pan, and brought it back up to boil, again boiling it rapidly for about ten minutes.  

I had prepared a chilled plate this time and TESTED the concoction regularly for its set - a small amount placed on the chilled plate, then left for a minute and then pushed to see if a wrinkly skin has developed.

When I was satisfied that setting point really HAD been reached I poured it into re-sterilised jars.  The rind is now evenly distributed, which I take as a good sign, and there's no sloshing!

Good marmalade!

Cold toast for breakfast tomorrow I think, and marmalade sandwiches for tea, followed by a slice of Marmalade Loaf, I suspect!


  1. Oh Lordy, you've reminded me that I need to get on and make ours. The oranges have been hanging around in a bowl for some weeks - eek! Good work, Alix. xx

  2. Off to Tesco for me!
    Alix I have just nominated you for a Leibster Award. See my new post and if OK with you let me know. x

    1. Will head over later on when I've got more than a few moments to spare (my husband's grand-daughter here for the day, so busy times!)

  3. That looks absolutely delicious.

    I was wondering how long it will keep? I would love to have a go at making some but as there is only me and it would take ages to eat it all I would be worried it would go off before I finished it.

    1. Thanks to Janice, there is an answer below. I was going to have to look it up as I've never made marmalade before, though I have made jams and kept them for a good long while. I think it would be perfectly possible to halve the amounts too, which would make for a more manageable 5 or 6 jars. Good luck if you have a go!

  4. Perfect timing..... My new preserving pan arrives today, my seville oranges are sitting ready to be peeled,juiced and chopped.....and now I'm going to use your recipe instead of the one I found in an ancient old cook book, with no pictures.
    To Kay..... it should keep for up to 2 years if kept in a cool and darkish spot.
    Thanks so much

  5. Thanks for the help on the storage possibilities, Janice, as I'm not an expert never having made it before. Hope you enjoy it - we got through half a large jar this morning as my husband was back from France with his sister and brother-in-law, all ready for a good start to the day!