Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Orange Marmalade

The other day I was looking in the reduced section of a local supermarket and came upon a bag of 4 oranges for 10p. Having recently made an OK batch of Marmalade but a bit too sweet I bought them with the idea of having another go.

The original recipe I used was a James Martin one which I liked as it didn’t insist on Seville oranges but he used twice the weight of sugar to fruit which made it very sweet with a little hint of caramel flavour, which while not unpleasant was not what I wanted to achieve. 

So this is my version of his recipe which I have to say proves you don't need Seville oranges to make a nice bitter marmalade.

I had 750g of fruit which was more than the recipe and you can make as big or small amount as you wish (although you will need a large preserving pan if planning to use 2kg of Oranges or more. 

For each 500g of fruit you will need: (Makes 2-3lb of Marmalade)

500g Oranges
500g Sugar (I use regular white sugar)
1 small/medium Lemon
1300mls   Water

Jars and lids for storing finished product.


Peel the fruit with a speed peeler or knife and retain the peel for shedding later. try to get the skin but leave as much of the pith behind as you can.

Chop the remaining flesh into pieces keeping all the juices and put it all (pips included) into a food processor. Process until fairly smooth.

Line a sieve with a muslin cloth, place it over your (non reactive*) preserving pan and pour the processed flesh into it  (do this in batches if needed) and strain the liquid out of the pulp until you have as much of the liquid out as possible. If doing batches retain the leftover pulp for later.    

Juice the lemon and add the juice to the pan with the orange juice retain the shell of the lemon as this goes in the pan and is boiled with the fruit to release its pectin. Wrap the remaining Orange pulp in the muslin cloth and tie with caterers string. place in the pan with the lemon shell and the water and the finely shredded orange peel.

Put the pan on the heat and bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and simmer for between 45-90 minutes until the peel is tender and the liquid reduced by about 1/2.

Remove the Lemon shell and the muslin Bag of pulp and place on a plate to cool, once cool squeeze the bag to get out all the remaining juice and a white gooey pulp which is rich in pectin which you add back to the pan. This will require a little patience but getting this goo into the mixture will ensure you get a good set on the finished Marmalade.

Put the pan back on the heat and add the sugar, stir until dissolved. Now bring back to the boil and reduce to a simmer. At this stage put a small plate in the freezer to cool, and put your clean jars in the oven 130 centigrade for at least 15mins to sterilise them. After 15 minutes test the marmalade by putting a teaspoon full on the cold plate and leave for about a minute, if after a minute you can push the marmalade with you finger and it crinkles up the marmalade is ready, if not cook for 5-10 minutes more and test again, repeat until ready. 

Once ready allow to cool for about 10 minutes as this will allow the peel to be evenly distributed. While waiting take the jars out of the oven and prepare you equipment for filling the jars. 

TIP:- if you don't have a Jam funnel make one from an empty 4pint Milk container, cut off the top third retaining part of the handle, give it a good rinse and you have an excellent funnel which is wide enough to let most Jams, chutney and Marmalade go into the jar with a nice wide opening for you to ladle the hot liquid into.

After 10 minutes stir the marmalade and ladle into the jars, put the lids on and tighten, if you have them those with the pop up to indicate the jar has been opened are great as they will pop down as the Marmalade cools and indicate you have a good seal on the jar.

Allow to cool, then label and enjoy over the coming weeks or give away as gifts.

* When making Jams and chutneys use a good heavy bottom pan and preferably stainless steel or ceramic, as the acids can leach metal into the product if you use aluminium or copper pans.