Proper Marmalade

Towards the tail end of January or the start of February I like to buy some Seville oranges and make proper marmalade. I’m really not keen on a lot of the manufactured stuff which just doesn’t have the bitterness and depth of flavour I really enjoy.

Normally I have all the usual fun with the jam-making pan, but last year my wife bought a Tefal jam-maker (which can also be used for marmalade and, more surprisingly, rice pudding!) so I thought I’d have a go with that. The recipe book that came with it suggested a method I’d never seen before involving boiling the oranges whole for up to an hour before scooping out the pulp, removing the pips, chopping it and putting it into the jam-maker with some of the boiling liquid, sugar and the juice of a couple of lemons. And of course the obligatory strips of orange peel. Can’t have proper marmalade without bits of orange peel in…

Boiling the oranges was fine, but removing the pips from 2.5kg of oranges having allowed the fruit time to cool was an absolute nightmare and took ages. I may well be tempted next time either to squeeze the oranges in a juicer once boiled, removing the pips and adding any pulp to the juice, or to juice the oranges first and boil the skins on their own. Not sure how much difference the latter would make though.

The recipe suggested 30 minutes cooking time once the setting point was reached, but I found I wasn’t really getting a decent set at that point and retried every five minutes until I did, which took me up to 45 minutes. That gave me a very firm set (enough that the jar contents don’t move when turned upside down).

In the end the 2.5kg of oranges gave me between seven and eight pounds of marmalade. Ideally I’d have liked a little more to see me through the year, but I’ve left it rather late this time so I’ll have to be a little more sparing when using it.

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