This month’s recipe is for Orange Marmalade. This is a good reliable recipe from the 1960’s using mainly Seville Oranges, which are in season now. It is not quite as bitter as Marmalade made solely with Seville Oranges as some sweetness comes from mixing in sweet oranges. This is a traditional Marmalade where you can decide upon the coarseness by how you slice up your fruit. It is really delicious to use on toast, in baking and good as a glaze too if you roast a gammon joint.
I thought this would be a bit more rewarding and interesting to make than following the usual January trend of diet recipes. Most of the “Foody” magazines, (which I confess I subscribe to the lot) tend to wheel out the same raft of “super healthy/detox/diet” food each New Year, which is amusing as they have just spent the last three months building up to Christmas with most calorie laden recipes possible.
I will give you some basic pointers on what equipment you need and preparation that you need to do. It can be a bit daunting if you haven’t made preserves before, but its well worth having a go and it’s very satisfying having a cupboard full of lovely stuff you have made. A jar of something homemade and delicious always goes down well as a gift, raffle prize or for a school cake sale!
What I have done for you is to firstly set out what equipment you need generally and then specifically for this recipe, secondly what preparation you need to do before you start, then the recipe itself and finally what you need to do after you have made your marmalade.
I apply these basic rules to all the jams and marmalades that I make, of course the recipes vary as does the fruit depending on the season. I always use jam sugar to guarantee a good set, I know some more experienced cooks use just normal granulated sugar but it gives me more confidence in achieving good results if I use jam sugar.
Jars can be saved from other products that you have bought, just soak in hot soapy water to get rid of the label. Keep the lids too, the only lids that aren’t suitable are the plastic ones with the cardboard inner such as you would find on a peanut butter jar. A pointer on jam jars, last year I treated myself to some hexagonal ones, (I know I don’t get out much) which looked very stylish, however the top of the jars are smaller than wax discs, so you have to mess about trimming them to fit and also labels do not like sticking to them because of the shape. If you do buy new I would buy just the traditional shape.
The equipment can be quite expensive but you only need to buy most of it once and it’s well worth investing in if you are going to make jams and preserves throughout the year.
Equipment List (Stuff you should only need to buy once) Available in most hardware/Kitchen shops.
Good quality big Maslin Pan
Long Wooden Spoon
Glass Measuring Jug
Equipment Needed For this Orange Marmalade Recipe
Square of muslin
Cold plate for testing set
Slatted spoon for skimming
Two baking trays lined with two clean tea towels.
Equipment List (Stuff that you need to buy as you use it)
Wax discs (they sit wax side down directly on to your preserve)
Jam Jar Lids or Cellophane covers and elastic bands
Things to do before you start the recipe
This marmalade, as do all preserves keeps really well as long as you sterilise your jars well and use good quality ingredients to begin with. I wash my jars in really hot soapy water, then rinse in very hot water and put upside down on a clean tea towel laid on a clean baking tray.
Put in a low oven about 120oC to dry out. I do the same with the lids too. I put my trays of jars into a cold oven and then turn on the oven, that way the jars are heating up gently.
Keep them in the oven until you are ready to fill them with your preserve, that way you are putting hot liquid into a hot jar.
Put your plate in the fridge for later when you test for a set.
Get your Maslin pan, spoon, sugar thermometer, funnel, glass jug ready to use.
Have your labels ready to write out with the Preserves Name and date you made it.
Have your wax discs ready to put directly on to the preserve once you have put it in the jars. They go wax side down.
Orange Marmalade Recipe
8 Seville Oranges
3 Sweet Oranges
8lb Jam Sugar
Water enough to fill your pan to a couple of inches from the top.
Soak your fruit in boiling hot water in the sink to get nice and clean. Drain the water off and take out and dry.
Put on your latex gloves.
Cut all the fruit in half, squeeze the juice out and strain the juice into your Maslin pan.
Scrape out the pulp and put that in with the juice.
Don’t put the pips in, save them and put them in a little square of muslin cloth.
When you have finished squeezing all of the fruit and gathered your pips, tie up the cloth with a long bit of string to make a little pouch full of pips.
Put the pouch of pips in your pan and ensure the long end of the string is outside of the pan so you can fish the pouch out easily later. If you use a gas hob don’t let the string catch fire!
You should now have lots of empty halves of fruit. This stage is a bit laborious, but very important to the finished product. You need to shred the fruit into strips, depending on how course you like your marmalade will determine how fine you need to shred. One year I just bunged everything in the food processor and although the taste was good it was an inferior product in terms of texture.
I put a dishcloth under my chopping board to stop it skidding about, then flatten my fruit as much as possible then shred. I would keep your latex gloves on.
Put your shredded fruit in with the juice and the pulp.
Add enough water to make up to 2inches below the top of your Maslin pan.
Now give it all a good stir and cover your pan with clingfilm and let it all soak overnight.
The next day when you are ready to make your marmalade, put your Maslin pan on a high heat and bring to the boil. Keep stirring, then turn down to a good simmer until the liquid has reduced to just over half full. Keep stirring from time to time to stop it sticking to the bottom. You don’t want all of your hard work spoiling by the bottom of the pan burning. This should take about 1 1/2 hours but keep an eye on it. Just aim for your pan to have reduced to just over half full.
When at this stage turn down to a gentle simmer, fish out the bag of pips and give it squeeze when cooled down a bit and add in your sugar.
Put the oven on with your trays of jam jars in.
It is important not to let your mixture boil before the sugar dissolves, so keep the heat fairly low. Only when you can’t feel any sugar crystals left in the pan with your spoon do you turn the heat up and let the mixture start coming up to the boil. Keep stirring and keep an eye on it.
When the sugar has dissolved bring it up to a rapid boil for about half an hour. Keep stirring gently and slowly, again you don’t want it ruining by burning the bottom, this is even more crucial now you have got the sugar in. It can be a bit scary and fearsome the first time you start boiling it up so please please keep children and pets out of the way when you are making it. If it looks like it is going to boil over turn it down quick and then back on when it has calmed down a bit. Be careful it is thermonuclear!
You will see and feel the consistency start to change and get thicker when you are at setting point. When you think it is there take the pan off the heat and put a blob of marmalade onto your cold plate which has been in the fridge. Pop it back in the fridge for a minute and if you can put your finger through the middle and it wrinkles and stays in two separate halves you have achieved a set. I do this test and use a jam thermometer. Your marmalade needs to reach 220o F or 105o C for setting point. Most jam thermometers have it marked on there. It is better to test earlier rather than later as if it over boils too long it can spoil the taste, texture and it’s too dark.
Skim off any scum from the top with a slatted spoon and discard.
Let the marmalade rest for 15 min and form a skin
Gently stir the skin in, this resting stops the shreds from floating to the top of the jar.
Get your baking trays out of the oven with your jam jars in, turn them right way up and put your jam funnel in the first jar to fill and carefully use your glass measuring jug fill up your jars. Fill to nearly full, don’t leave a big gap as bacteria can get in.
Straight away after filling your jars put on your wax discs directly onto the marmalade in the jars, followed by the cellophane tops or screw top lids.
If you haven’t got enough marmalade left to fill the final jar, I just put a lid on and pop it in the fridge to use first.
When cool enough to handle wipe your jars so they are nice and clean and shiny and then pop your labels on.
When cold store in a cool dark cupboard and use within 12 months.