Archive for the ‘Marmalade’ Category

Seville Sunday – the madness of marmalade

So, what do you do on a grimey Sunday in January? Well, you could go to church and confess your sins, you could go for a long walk to burn off some of that excess Christmas celebrating, you could put your feet up and read the papers … or, you could spent five hours slaving over a bubbling preserving pan making marmalade.

Now, the success of any recipe is to read the quantities correctly. So, when it says 1.5kg of Seville oranges, it’s a bit silly to tell the person doing the shopping that you need 2.5kg – because Sod’s Law says that on this occasion, for once, he will actually do exactly what he is told! So, three big bags of Sevilles later, here we are mashing the innards through a sieve and cutting a mountain of peel into even strips (well, to be honest, after orange number eleven we had given up worrying whether this was thick or thin cut marmalade – it was just a mish-mash of strips). This was never going to meet Robertson’s standards!

Seville oranges cooking

Realising we had in fact doubled the recipe from that originally planned, we now had to split the lot in two so that the preserving pan was big enough to cope with the volume. This obviously doubled the cooking time, so all the other jobs for the day (planting the two jasmine that we got yesterday in the reduced section for a £1 each – what a bargain) went out of the window.

Now, at this point it is worth pointing out that last year was the first year I had ever attempted making marmalade. Very naively I thought it would be the same as making jam – shove it all in the pan, boil it up till it reaches setting point, then whack it in the jars, job done – but oh no, this requires a lot more effort…or did I just pick the wrong recipe? I made three batches last year: the first batch I left too long before I bottled so it set in the pan; the second lot I burnt to the pan; and the third lot, once I had scraped the black sticky mess off the base of the pan, turned out perfect.

Anyway, after many hours of watching over a hot bubbling pan, too afraid to leave it in case it burnt to the bottom, we have nine jars and six Kilners of any-old-how-cut dark marmalade. It’s at this point I realise that this year I have followed the recipe to the letter (apart from reading out the quantities incorrectly, of course) and have used dark muscovado sugar. This would explain why it looks something like the sludge you would dredge out of the bottom of a canal. It’s now that I realise it really didn’t matter how the peel was cut – there is absolutely no chance of ever detecting it through this thick, dark sludge even after holding the jars up to a strong light. It’s then that I remember I used a light brown sugar last year. But don’t despair, the taste is yummy. It has a treacly taste and is not too sweet – it sort of grows on you, which is just as well seeing as we have so much to get through.

Seville Orange Marmalade - the finished result

If you fancy making the most of the Seville orange season then take a look at the recipe on the ‘recipe’ page.

After all that mediterranean orange growing I feel it could be a chilly Monday tomorrow – watch this space…