January and it’s that season once again, the Seville Orange Marmalade season! Once you’ve made your own marmalade its impossible to go back to the stuff you buy from shops, it’s over sweet and so lacking in taste compared to the real thing. Actually its much the same with any sort of preserves, home-made are always better.
I made this version of Seville Orange Marmalade for the first time just after moving home a few years ago, where I found myself with my very first AGA! Not being very sure where to start I raced off to get some ‘AGA’ books. This recipe comes from Mary Berry and her book ‘The AGA Book‘, which I highly recommend, it has a host of useful AGA information in it as well as some great recipes and instructions. Everything is of course very easy in an AGA, but when confronted with one for the first time ….. it doesn’t seem possible.
This is my very favourite marmalade recipe and the beauty of it, is, its complete simplicity. It is very much an ‘AGA’ recipe but if you have a slow cooker I’d guess it could work well in that too depending on the size of it and as long as you don’t mind keeping the oven on for a couple of hours then you could do this in a conventional oven too.
Seville oranges are only available for a very short period in the year and they are tricky to get hold of. Not sure I’ve seen them in supermarkets at all, your best bet is a small independent retailer. Here in Alnwick we get ours from Turnbulls the butchers.
You’ll need a big pan complete with a lid.
Ingredients for Seville Orange Marmalade:
- 1.5 kg (3 lb) Seville oranges,
- Juice of 2 lemons,
- 3 kg (6 lb) sugar,
- 2 litres (4 pints) water
Method – Seville Orange Marmalade:
Put the sugar in a bowl and pop it on the back of the AGA to warm through. If you don’t have an AGA, guess you could balance it on a radiator?? Failing that find a warm spot somewhere.
Pop the oranges and the lemon juice into a large pan and pour in the water. The water needs to cover the oranges so you may need to swap the pan or else use a plate to weight the oranges down. This is probably the hardest part of this recipe. I bought a ‘huge’ cast iron casserole dish when I met my first AGA, if I ever don’t have an AGA it will become redundant as it doesn’t fit in a conventional oven, but my, do I love this dish.
Put your pan on to the hot plate of the AGA (or on a hot ring on a conventional oven) and bring it to the boil. Stick the lid on. Now move the pan to the simmering oven to cook the oranges until they are tender. If you are using a conventional oven, preheat it first to 140C/250F/Gas 5. Check them after about 2 hours to see how they are faring. You might be able to use a slow cooker for this – but I’ve not tried either a slow cooker or conventional cooker for this recipe.
Once they are tender, lift the oranges out carefully and put them into a colander which you placed either on a deep plate or bowl. Leave the oranges to cool now. Keep the orange water to one side – don’t discard it! You will need it again very soon as it very rich in pectin – hence why its done this way.
Leave the oranges to one side to cool until you can handle them, then, cut them in half, scoop out all the pith and add this to the orange water in your pan.
Boil this orange liquid now for about six minutes, without the lid. Next strain this liquid through a sieve, and press the pulp through using a wooden spoon. You’ll need to collect this in another pan or bowl not your preserving pan – as its easier to do this next bit in two halves.
Pour half of this pectin enriched orange water into a preserving pan.
The cut up the orange peel using a sharp knife, to suit your preferences, thick, medium or thin. In our house that’s a bit of an issue, I like thin cut, Gary likes chunky peel. Add half of this peel to the preserving pan along with half of the sugar. Put the preserving pan on the simmering plate and stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves completely.
Move the preserving pan over to the hot plate once the sugar is fully dissolved and boil it until it reaches setting point. You can use a jam thermometer here as I do now, but if you don’t have one then the age-old way of chilling plates and then dropping a bit of marmalade on to the plate to see if once cool it creases when pushed works every time too.
Leave your marmalade to cool for about 10 minutes then transfer to pots and seal.
Repeat the process once more with the remaining ingredients.
Makes about 5kg (10 1b) of Marmalade.
Variations worth trying out:
You can make some Whisky Marmalade (nice to give as a present) by simply adding 8 tablespoons of whisky to the marmalade just before potting. You could use a specific brand if you are making this for presents. Don’t do what we did one year though and do half with whisky and half without unless you label them immediately – they all look the same!!
I haven’t tried this one yet but Mary Berry advocates adding 225 g (8 oz) of chopped preserved ginger to the marmalade after the sugar has dissolved but before boiling, to create Ginger Marmalade. I think I may give this one a go this year.
If you prefer a dark marmalade, swap out half of the sugar for muscovado sugar.
I’d guess this recipe would also work well for grapefruit marmalade or for orange and lemon marmalade too, though I’ve not tried these out yet.
Then just enjoy!! Once you’ve had your own marmalade, shop bought will never come close to being adequate again. If you know someone who lives alone, a couple of smaller jars make a fantastic gift. The smaller size means they can rotate jars without getting bored and without the jar going off before its finished off.