easy marmalade

Easy marmalade

I learned this recipe from Marguerite Patten's  "Every Day Cookbook" which I would not be without.

Whilst there's still a fair amount to do here it's a lot quicker and less fiddly than the "traditional" method but works a treat. One thing I like about it is you use everything except the pips!!

  • 1lb Seville oranges
  • 2 pints water
  • 2lbs sugar (ordinary gran)

Put the water in a large pan, float your oranges (1lb of Sevilles is four oranges, near enough!) and simmer (lowest simmer possible) the fruit until it softens. This will take twenty minutes or so. "Done" is when you can push a *blunt* wooden spoon handle in easily.

Fish the fruit out and allow to cool. KEEP THE WATER. The fruit will collapse like deflated footballs.

This might be a good time to prepare your jars - read "Jarring up" below.

When the oranges are cool enough to handle, it's time to get sticky fingers.

Cut each orange into wedges. Quarters will be a bit big, I usually go eighths. Carefully scrape out the pips. Then scrape out the flesh, leaving just the skin. Now cut the skin up into the size chunks you like to find in your marmalade! As it's now very soft an ordinary paring knife will do this easily.

Put the pips in a small pan with a ladle of the water and boil for five or ten minutes. Don't let it boil dry! Strain the water back into the main pan. Throw away the pips.

Now add the pulp and chopped rind back to the main pan. Start it warming. Add the sugar, and warm slowly until the sugar is dissolved (no graty feeling on the bottom of the pan when you stir.) Now rack up the heat and boil as hard as you can until it reaches a set.

How do you know? Well if you have a jam thermometer you're looking for 104 degrees but personally I find it easier to test by allowing a small drop of liquid to fall onto a cold saucer, which is propped on a dishcloth. Give it about a minute to cool, then test it by blowing across the top, or by "pushing" it with a thumbnail - as if it was a splot of set candle wax you were trying to remove. If it has formed a "skin" on top, you will see this crinkle as you push. If it doesn't skin over, it's not set yet!

It won't take long. Lots of acid in the oranges so it should set quickly.

Once it's hit setting point, take it off the heat


Let it sit for about fifteen minutes before you jar it up. If you don't, the chunks will float to the top and you'll have a two-tier marmalade, all rind at the top, all jelly at the bottom. Allowing a quarter of an hour to cool then stirring before you jar up, it should stay well mixed in the jar until it sets.


Last year I juiced about a half pound of clemetines and added this juice instead of some of the water to the final mix. You can definitly taste the difference.

I have also made this adding a couple of lemons in to the initial simmer. I just treat them the same as the oranges.

Jarring up

If you have made your own jam before, just like that. If not...

Clean your jars thoroughly. Or buy new ones - I get mine from Lakeland when I have run out. Don't use "pickle" jars, you can never fully get rid of the pickly spicy tastes especially from the rubber seal in the cap.

Sterlise the jars by staning them in the sink and pouring in boiling water. You may need several kettle's worth. You should make sure the entire inside of each jar is poured over, and preferrably fill each jar to the rim. You'll have spotted by now you will need to do this BEFORE you start boiling the jam!  Once the jam is ready to pour in, tip each jar out (remember they're HOT) and stand near the hob. Don't dry them - allow them to drip a few seconds as you tip out the water and there'll not be enough water left to affect the jam - drying them with a cloth will risk contamination.

Use a ladle and carefully pour hot jam into each, full above the shoulder of the jar. If you have a jam funnel it makes for a bigger target and less spillage. Expect to have at least one part-filled jar, that's your "cook's perk" for the next few days breakfast! 

Put a wax paper disc on top of each full jar. Leave it to stand overnight.

In the morning it should be fully cool and set. Screw the jar lids on firmly or use celophane caps - note however that celophane doesn't stop the jam losing moisture to the atmosphere so it will eventually shrink back from the jar and turn into a giant wine gum.

Our friends in france don't use the wax paper disks, they actually melt white parafin wax and pour a quater-inch layer on top of the jam. It floats and forms a perfect seal with the glass of the jar and makes fora  much longer shelf life. On opening the jar you need to smash the disc with the point of a knife and carefully pull out the chunks.

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posted by ccomley on 19 Oct 10 - 9783 views

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