January 31, 2012

Marmalade Madness for a Complete Beginner

I decided to call this post Marmalade Madness as I wasn't sure if I was mad to attempt such a feat!! I have fond recollections of helping my granny making marmalade every year when I was a kid but to try and attempt this without her guidance could have been a step too far. But in the spirit of the new year I decided to give it a go, sure if it went wrong what could be the worst that could happen (in answer to that burnt sugar and sticky floors as I was warned by my mother!!)

So after reading a few posts I settled on a recipe from Nessa's Family Kitchen. It sounded really good, easy and the words 'it set perfectly' edged it past the post. Unfortunately I couldn't find my grandmother's recipe but I will be rooting it out for next year's batch - yes there will be more marmalade in the future!!

This recipe is adapted off Nessa's Family Kitchen and she found it in Skye Gyngell's book - How I Cook.  It's a great recipe for beginner marmalade makers as it's clear and concise.

1kg Seville Oranges
3 litres water
2 pinches of salt
About 2kg of caster sugar

One chilled flat plate
Sterilised jars and lids (used the dishwasher for this)
A Large pot
Pretty coverings for the jars - entirely optional
Probably should have invested in a funnel as well!!


The text in italics are just my observations as I find a lot of recipes just presume readers know what to do which sometimes isn't the case at all especially if we are only entuasiastic beginners. Hopefully this will make it even easier to make.
  • Scrub the oranges, cut into very thin slices, pinwheel or chunks. I cut mine into thick slices as I enjoy thick cut marmalade so its really down to taste. Leave the skin on but get rid of those pesky pips.
  • Put the water, fruit and salt into a large pot. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer until the peel is soft - this took around 2 hours. Turn off the heat and leave to steep for 24 hours. Leaving it longer though won't do it any harm as I discovered.
  • The next day measure how many cups of cold fruit/water mixture there is in the pot. Then bring this back to the boil.
  • Once boiling add one cup of sugar to every cup of fruit/water mixture.  Bring back to the boil and then keep it at a steady rolling boil for around 30 - 45 minutes. Mine took around 45 minutes till I felt it was set enough.
  • To test if the mixture is set have a flat plate already chilling in the fridge, spoon a teaspoon of the mixture on the plate and if it is ready it will set like a sticky jelly
  • Remove from the heat, put into sterilised jars and seal. You can spoon it in, stick it in a jug like I did or you could invest in a funnel which probably would make life a bit easier. 
  • Leave to set and then enjoy lashings of marmalade on a thick slice of toast!!
The finished product

So if you have ever wanted to try marmalade making well now is your chance but be quick the season for Seville oranges is very short. They are only out for a few weeks at the beginning of the year. Apparently the oranges freeze very well so there is no excuse now!!

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