During a cold January, there is nothing better than driving past our local farm shop and seeing the roadside notice “Seville Oranges Now In”. This means the very short season for these wonderful fruits has begun, and then begins the race to get our share, before they go away again in a few weeks time. These fruits are very bitter and are best used for cooking, so it makes them especially great for making a batch of marmalade. This year I’ve bought enough to make two batches (2kg), and have put one kilogram in the freezer, whole fruits, so I can make the most of the season and still make lovely marmalade in July! The other kilogram has been put to use straight away in order to fill our storecupboard with some lovely amber coloured jars - nice and cheery after the end of Christmas, and until the Spring comes along again. The house has been filled with their lovely citrus aroma all weekend, and brightened us up no end.
So, here is a little diary of how I got on…
I found a recipe that looked like it would fit the way I like marmalade, which is very thin shred and lightly coloured. It is from the River Cottage Preserves book but I did adapt it slightly.
There are only three ingredients and these are:
1kg Seville Oranges
2kg Sugar (the book says demerera sugar but I used normal granulated – gives a ligher colour)
75 ml lemon juice
I started by squeezing all the juice out of the oranges into a large bowl. Then the saved peel and pith was all chopped into fine shreds (you can make thicker if that is your preference), and added to the juice. Make sure no pips remain! Then 2.5 litres of water was poured on top and left to stand for 24 hours to help soften the fruit peel.
The next morning the fruit and liquid was poured into my preserving pan and brought to the boil. Then it was covered with foil and slowly simmered for about 2 hours to soften the fruit peel further.
Once this was complete, the lemon juice and sugar was added to the mixture. It was stirred slowly to dissolve the sugar and then brought to the boil again. This time it was left to boil rapidly for about 35 mins until setting point was reached (to test for setting point take the pan off the heat, spoon a teaspoonful onto a cold plate, put in the fridge for one minute and if it crinkles when pushed with your finger, the setting point has been reached. If not return to the boil for another couple of minutes and test again). The book suggested boiling for 20-25 mins but I found I needed longer.
The mixture was then left to cool for about 8-10 mins and poured into warm, sterilised jam jars (see my previous blog post for how to sterilise jars) and sealed immediately. The end result? Lovely amber nectar to put in the cupboard (and one or two jars saved for our Mums .