Thursday, 19 January 2017

It's Marmalade time!!!


There is nothing I enjoy more than on a cold January day than spending time in my kitchen making glowing jars of bittersweet Seville orange marmalade.

The Seville orange comes from near the town of Seville in Spain and has only a limited season, from the beginning of January until the beginning of February, but they do freeze very well for up to 6 months.  Freezing will pre-soften the peel, reducing the required cooking time.

You really can’t beat the intense fresh flavour of homemade Seville marmalade and
if you have never tried making your own marmalade I strongly recommend you try my favourite recipe and impress all your family and friends.

Once you have made your marmalade it will keep for up to a year if stored in a cool dark cupboard. You will never want to buy pre-made marmalade again!!

1kg Washed Seville oranges
1 x Juice of a lemon
1kg Granulated sugar
500ml Water

Put the whole washed oranges and lemon juice in a large preserving pan (a large ordinary pan is ok if you don’t have a preserving pan) and cover with water. Sometimes I find it necessary to weight the oranges down with a heat-proof plate to keep them submerged. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer very gently for around 2 hours, or until the peel can be easily pierced with a fork.

Gently warm half the sugar in a very low oven on a baking tray. Drain off the cooking water from the oranges into a jug and tip the oranges into a bowl. Return the cooking liquid to the pan. Allow oranges to cool until they are easy to handle, then cut in half. Scoop out all the pips and pith and add to the reserved orange liquid in the pan. Bring to the boil for 6 minutes, then strain this liquid through a sieve into a bowl and press the pulp through with a wooden spoon - it is high in pectin so gives the marmalade a good set.

Pour half this liquid into a preserving pan. Cut the peel, with a sharp knife, into shreds according to your own preference Add half the peel to the liquid in the preserving pan with the warm sugar. Stir over a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved, for about 10 minutes, then bring to the boil and bubble rapidly for 15- 25 minutes until setting point is reached.

Take the pan off the heat and skim any froth from the surface. (To dissolve any excess scum, drop a small knob of butter onto the surface, and gently stir.) Leave the marmalade to stand in the pan for 20 minutes to cool a little and allow the peel to settle; then pot in sterilised jars, seal and label. Repeat from step 3 for the second batch, warming the remaining half of the sugar first.

You can also make a dark marmalade by adding an extra 250g muscovado sugar, but don’t be tempted to make more than 50% of the sugar muscovado, unless you like the ‘molasses’ flavour more than you do the Seville orange.

Another twist I like on traditional marmalade is to add 250g chopped crystallised ginger when you take the marmalade off the heat, this adds a lovely addition to the taste.  You can add the ginger alone or it is doubly delicious if added with the muscovado sugar.  

Homemade marmalade makes a lovely gift for family and friends.

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