Classic Seville marmalade
Makes 7 x 340ml jars | prep 2 hrs | total time
- 1kg bitter Seville oranges
- juice of 1 fat lemon
- 2kg granulated sugar
Prepare to the end of step 3 the day before cooking the marmalade, to soften the peel.
- Halve the oranges and, using the tip of a knife, flick out any obvious pips onto a double-layered square of gauze (or muslin), about 30 x 30cm. Squeeze the juice from the oranges into a large bowl (or a large lidded plastic box), add any extra pips from the squeezer to the gauze and add any fleshy bits of orange to the bowl. Cut each orange half into quarters and, using a knife, scrape out the membranes inside – put these and any more pips you find on to the gauze square. The next job is to shred the pithy peel into thin, medium or chunky shreds, as you wish; discard the buttons from the ends of the fruit as you go.
- Transfer the shredded peel to the bowl too. Gather the gauze square together to form a money-bag shape, twist the top and tie it with string. When you tie the string, leave one long end – you can use this to tie the gauze pouch onto the pan handle and immerse it in the liquid when you cook the peel. Put the pouch into the bowl to join the peel and juice. Add 2.25 litres cold water, making sure everything is as immersed in the water as it can be, then cover with clingfilm (or a lid) and leave it overnight.
- The next day, tip everything from the bowl into a preserving pan and tie the gauze pouch to the pan handle so it sits on the base of the pan. Bring the whole lot to simmering point over a low-medium heat and simmer the peel until it is really soft – you should be able to squish it easily in your fingers; this will take about 1 ½ hours. The liquid will reduce as the peel simmers. Once the peel is soft enough, remove the gauze pouch from the pan, pressing it against the side with the back of a wooden spoon as you do so to extract as much pectin as possible from the pith and pips – put the pouch into a bowl and leave it for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, halve and squeeze the lemon and tip the lemon juice into the pan with the sugar; stir over a low heat. Give the gauze pouch a final squeeze to extract the last of the pectin into the marmalade: wearing clean washing up gloves makes this easier. You can now discard the pouch.
- Preheat the oven to 140°C, fan 120°C, gas 1. Keep stirring the marmalade from time to time to help dissolve the sugar. This is an important stage, so make sure all the sugar has dissolved before you move on to the next; it can take 15 minutes or so. I find that any pips I have missed usually pop to the surface at this point; scoop them out with a teaspoon. Put a few saucers in the freezer for the wrinkle test and put your jars and lids in the oven for 15-20 minutes to sterilise them.
- Bring the marmalade to a rolling boil and boil it for 20-25 minutes or until it has reached setting point. Spoon a little hot marmalade onto one of the saucers from the freezer and leave for a minute or so. If your marmalade is set, it will move slowly when you tilt the saucer and the surface will wrinkle when you put your finger into it. Take the pan off the heat. Leave the marmalade to settle for 15 minutes; this helps to distribute the peel evenly and makes it easier to pot. Give it a gentle stir in one direction to dispense any air bubbles. Using a jug and a wide preserving funnel, pour your marmalade into hot sterilised jars. Seal and leave to cool completely. Give the jars a wipe with a hot cloth and dry before labelling. Store in a dry, cool place. They will keep for at least 1 year.