Last Saturday, on our way home from an enforced walk (of the kids and the dog), we stopped at The Sussex Produce, in the village for some bits (if you’ve not been in there, you need to go! They sell all sorts of lovely things – and Mum’s meringues!). January doesn’t only fill the world with juicing and detoxing, it also fills up your local Veg Shop with Seville Oranges, the slightly nobbly, really bitter, step-sister of normal oranges, Marma-Lady of the citrus world. We had nothing planned for the afternoon, and a bored Sam is a recipe for disaster, so we decided to make some marmalade.
This is based on the River Cottage one, with a few differences. Oh and making Marmalade is actually a fairly un-child-friendly an activity too, by the way, there’s lots of sharp knives and really boiling hot, sugary, orange lava involved. Sam lost interest pretty quick – but nature abhors a vacuum, and Joe stepped in to take his place on the juicing front
You will need:
approx 1kg of Seville Oranges.
A few lemons – I used 3,
2 kg of Preserving sugar – Granulated is fine though, and I think the river cottage uses Demerara
2.5 L of water.
Cut the oranges in half, and get the inside of the orange, pips, pith juice and all, out – keep them to one side in a bowl.
Cut the orange peel into the sized bits you like in your marmalade. Put those in a large bowl.
Keep going til they’re all done.
Now pour your water over the orange peel and leave to soak over night.
Transfer your water / orange peel to a preserving pan, and put the other mixture into a muslin. Hugh FW doesn’t bother with this bit – so feel free to ignore it – but, even though it’s apparently an old wives tale, I simmer up the bag of pith / pips, along with the rest of the mixture. You aren’t going for full on boil here (yet), more a gentle simmer to soften up the peel. When your peel is soft and the liquid has reduced by roughly a third, its time to add your sugar, and stir to dissolve. Next up comes the really hot bit. (and the bit you have to stand there and watch.) Whack the heat right up so that your marmalade starts to really boil. Keep stirring it, you don’t want it to catch on the bottom of your pan. Keep boiling…. Keep stirring…. Keep boiling ….. this will go on for roughly 20 / 25 minutes.
THIS STUFF IS NOW ALMOST THE MOST UN-CHILD-FRIENDLY SUBSTANCE – IT IS REAAAAALLY HOT. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
After 20/25 minutes take your pan off the heat, remove any scummy bubbly bits from the top, add the juice of your lemons, and leave to cool for 10 minutes or so. Now as you stir it you should notice the consistency is different. It will coat your spoon, and if you put a splodge on a cold plate, and push the edge it will ‘wrinkle’. Ladle your hot marmalade into warm, sterilised jars, and enjoy!