26 Aug Seville Orange Marmalade
Seville Orange Marmalade
Marmalade is an inexpensive and relatively simple preserve to make. It is excellent on toast in the mornings, poured over steamed puddings, ice cream or warm cakes and makes much appreciated gifts. There is no commercial product that can replace hand cut, home made Seville Orange Marmalade.
Seville Oranges are tropical or semi tropical Winter fruits that make great marmalade due to their thick, rough skin and tart flesh.
ARANCIO AMARO – Bitter (Seville) Orange, is a bitter, medicinal fruit indigenous to China and India.
Seville oranges were introduced by the Romans to the Mediterranean from Arabia, and by the Arabs to Spain.
You can use whatever quantity of fruit you like for the recipe below – I only gave indicative quantities mainly so you can be sure to have enough sugar in the house! For your first batch, 3 – 4 seville oranges and 1 tangelo will make sufficient domestic quantities to last a small household the year. Double that and you have some lovely gifts to distribute to friends and family.
Preparing the fruit though is a labour of love and if using larger quantities can take some time – ask someone to help you and enjoy the chat and banter as you work together.
Allow over 24 hours to make the marmalade. Freshly picked fruit will be sure to render this sparkling taste peculiar to Seville Orange Marmalade over other marmalades. If you do not have your own trees, Farmers Markets in Winter are your best source, otherwise, try your local fruit merchant and order them in if necessary.
I have attempted to make this marmalade every year for some years and this recipe has produced by far the best results. One of the problems I may have been having is that it is usually very late winter when I get to make my marmalade. I understand now that the fruit pectin levels diminish as the season progresses and the marmalade will take longer cooking times to reach setting point. So long as you test carefully for setting point before bottling you should have a lovely thick marmalade.
If despite your best efforts you end up with a runny marmalade – do not despair (I almost wept over my first attempt) – keep it. It makes an excellent topping for cakes, especially orange cake – just drizzle over when the cake is hot from the oven. It is also an excellent topping for a steamed pudding and delicious poured over ice cream, or sorbet.
Do not despair too soon though – you will not know how well set your marmalade is until it has cooled.
I prefer to purchase my oranges at the farmers market – they are freshly picked and usually they are not waxed. This year the farmer selling me the fruit gave me 2 tangelos to add to the oranges, saying that it improves the transparency of the marmalade. He also said that many people use tangelos instead of seville oranges – so, if you have missed the seville orange season, give this a go using tangelos.
6 – 8 Seville Oranges
2 Tangello, Optional
4 kg Sugar, approx
Bay Leaf, Otional, freshly picked
Alcohol – Optional, such as whiskey
Prepare the fruit for the marmalade:
If you have freshly picked unwaxed fruit, simply wash it in a sink full of warm water, scrubbing lightly with a soft bristle vegetable brush. Confirm with your grower or merchant if the fruit has been waxed.
If the fruit is waxed you need to remove the wax before preparing the fruit.
To do this, simply scrub the fruit under warm running water with a soft bristle brush.
Place the washed fruit on a clean tea towel and dry.
Select a small sharp knife, a paring knife or even a tomato knife is ideal.
Cut each orange in half, then half again.
Using the tip of the knife, remove any seeds and set aside.
Remove and discard any white membrane dividing the fruit segments.
Finely slice each quarter, cutting through the skin and the flesh of the fruit. Set aside in a large bowl.
Secure the pips in a clean piece of muslin with a piece of white kitchen string.
The fruit preparation can be a laborious process but the right knife and some company makes for short work of it all. It is important that you do not try and take shortcuts during this process by mincing the fruit or putting it through a food processor. Careful removal of the membranes and hand cut fruit will give you a lovely sparkling syrup. Failing to take care here may result in a cloudy, unappetising looking marmalade.
Soften the fruit for the Marmalade:
Weigh the prepared fruit and place in a large stainless steel stock pot or saucepan.
For every 500g of prepared fruit, add 1.8 litres of water and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Add the little sack of pips and the bay leaf if using.
Slowly bring to a simmer and continue simmering until the peel is soft and easily squashed.
Set aside, and rest for 24 hours in a large non metallic bowl, covered with a clean tea towel.
Make the Marmalade:
Next day measure the mixture of fruit and water using a cup or jug.
Pour each measurement into a preserving pan or large stainless steel stock pot.
Place this pot over low to moderate heat and gently bring to a boil.
While heating the fruit and water – measure equal quantities of white sugar to fruit and water, place the sugar in a heat resistance bowl and warm the sugar in a moderate oven while you heat the fruit and water.
Once the fruit and water comes to the boil, remove it from the heat and pour in the warm sugar. Place this over low heat and without boiling, stir for up to 5 minutes until the sugar is dissolved.
Return the fruit and sugar mixture to the boil and boil steadily, without further stirring, for 25 to 40 minutes until you reach setting point.
(Place 2 saucers in the freezer – if using the Wrinkle Method to test the setting point.)
So long as you do not stir the marmalade during this period you should get a lovely clear syrup. However, scum often forms in the pot. It is important that this is skimmed from the surface and not stirred back into the mixture. Carefully remove the scum as soon as you you have established that setting point has been reached.
You can start checking for setting point after 25 minutes (See step 4) – keeping in mind that late winter fruit will take longer to reach setting point than fruit picked early in the season.
Once setting point has been reached, remove the pot from the heat and allow it to stand for 10 minutes before bottling into warm, sterilised jars. Allowing the marmalade to rest and cool a little, prevents all of the fruit collecting at the top of the jar and ensures that it is distributed evenly in the syrup.
To test the Setting Point of the Marmalade:
This can be done using one of 3 methods.
Insert a preserving thermometer into the pot to check the temperature. Setting point is 105C.
Place a small amount of mixture onto a metal spoon.
Allow this to cool a little then tilt the spoon on its side.
You know you have reached setting point when the marmalade falls from the spoon in a sheet rather than liquid droplets.
Chill a saucer or two in the freezer while the fruit and sugar is cooking.
Place 2 teaspoons of the marmalade onto one of the saucers and then transfer this to the fridge for a minute or 2 to cool.
Drag your finger through the marmalade – setting point is demonstrated when the surface of the marmalade appears quiet firm and wrinkles.
Sterilisation of Jars and Lids:
While the marmalade is cooking and you are waiting to test for setting point you can sterilise the jars and the lids.
Preheat the oven to 150C
Wash the jars and lids in a basin of hot soapy water and rinse clean with running hot water. Drain on a clean tea towel or dish rack.
Place the jars on a baking tray in the oven
Leave for 10 minutes or until completely dry.
Remove the jars from the oven using heat protecting gloves or a mit, avoiding putting your fingers inside the jars. Arrange them on a clean tea towel or board.
Allow to cool to a warm temperature before adding the marmalade.
While the jars are sterilising, simmer the lids in boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove them from the water using tongs, dry them in the oven on a rack before using.
Addition of alcohol to Seville Orange Marmalade:
If adding alcohol to marmalade, add 2 tablespoons of alcohol to 500g of completed marmalade, just before bottling.
Bottling the marmalade:
Allow the marmalade to stand for 10 minutes away from the heat.
Spoon this mixture into the warm sterilised jars and seal immediately.
NB If the marmalade or the jars are too hot, the fruit will sit at the top of the jar rather than being evenly distributed through the syrup.
Turn each jar upside down for about 2 minutes, then invert back and set aside to cool.
Wash down the outside of the jars and lids with warm soapy water and dry with a clean tea towel.
Lable and date each jar.
Store in a cool dark place for 6 – 12 months.
Refrigerate after opening for up to 6 weeks.
Sally Wise, Out of the Bottle; Stephanie Alexander, The Cook’s Companion; Murdoch Books, Jams and Preserves; Patience Gray , Honey from a Weed.
Approximate Prep Times
Prep: 45 Minutes
Cook: 20 Minutes
Soak: 24 Hours
Cook: 40 Minutes
Sterilisation: 20 Minutes
Rest: 10 Minutes
Bottle: 10 Minutes
European : Western : English
Notes on Seville Orange Marmalade
Select fruit that is heavy for its size, smells good and has firm healthy skin.
According to Stephanie Alexander, Seville Oranges can be frozen whole. They will collapse on thawing but are apparently fine for making marmalade.