Like brewing, pastry and baking, preserves are one of those fascinating areas of cookery that is an entire artform in itself. From pickled eggs to strawberry jam the goal is to make food last, to allow seasonal produce to be enjoyed at any time of the year. Winter can be a bit sparse for british produce, but further afield things are well underway.
Seville oranges are in season for only a couple of weeks each year, they a relatively small and much tarter than a normal variety, this translates to excellent marmalade! If you’ve never tried making it before you really must, it’s simple and very rewarding. If made carefully it should last for up to two years and makes a great gift.
There are lots of different recipes available and i’ve tried a couple over the years, Delia offers a good option but it ends up very strong, my favourite is one from Pam Corbin, it creates quite a delicate flavour and softens up the peel nicely.
Makes 6-7 x 450g jars
1kg Seville Oranges
75ml lemon juice (fresh)
2kg demerera sugar (my sainsburys does convenient 2kg plastic bags of it)
Scrub the oranges, remove the buttons at the top of the fruit, then cut in half. Squeeze out the juice and keep to one side. Using a sharp knife, slice the peel (pith and all) into think, medium or chunky shreds, according to your preference. Put the sliced peel into a bowl with the orange juice and cover with 2.5 litres of water. Leave to soak overnight or for up to 24 hours.
Transfer the whole mixture to a preserving pan, bring to the boil, then simmer slowly, covered, until the peel is tender. This should take approximately 2 hours (mine was very tender by the 90 minute mark, so do check it), by which time the contents of the pan will have reduced by about one-third.
Stir in the lemon juice and sugar. Bring the marmalade to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Boil rapidly (to get a light flavour) until the setting point is reached – 104.5°C – about 20-25 minutes (I find it can take a little longer, more like 40 minutes on my hob).
Remove from the heat. Leave to cool for 8-10 minutes – a touch more if the peel is in very chunky pieces – then stir gently to disperse any scum. Pour into warm, sterilised jars and seal immediately. Use within two years.