I mentioned in my recent post of photographs from Seville that trying one of the oranges had been rather a mistake, but I was hoping to reacquaint myself with them at a future breakfast-time. Mission accomplished.
A couple of weeks after we returned (and saw the oranges being harvested on our way to the airport), I saw a box of organic Seville oranges in the supermarket. That was only the start of a mini shopping-spree and, several Kilner jars and muslin bags later (plus half a ton of sugar), I was ready to feel comfortable with my age and make my first ever batch of marmalade.
Quite an involved process it is too. First of all, everything has to be properly sterilised, after which you can get down to serious marmalade-business. So, a first for this blog: a recipe!
To make 6 jars of marmalade:
Add 2 litres of cold water to a large saucepan.
Wash 1 kilo of Seville oranges, then half and juice. Retain all the pips, pith and pulp – cleaning all of this out of the peels – and place in a muslin bag (make sure this is securely tied).
Shred all of the orange peels to the desired thickness. Discard the lemon peel unless you are a serious masochist – those oranges are sour enough already.
Add the orange juice and peel, plus the juice of one lemon and the muslin bag full of gungely-goodness to the cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer away until the volume has halved (approx 2 hours). Remove the muslin and squeeze as much of the pulp as you can into the remaining liquid, then discard the bag.
Place a small saucer or plate into your freezer (yes, really).
Add two kilos of preserving (or granulated) sugar and bring back to the boil. Keep boiling until it reaches 104.5 degrees, then simmer away for approx 15-20 minutes. Take a small dollop of marmalade from the pan and place on to the cold plate from the freezer – if a skin forms after a few seconds, it’s done; if not, wait a few minutes and try again.
Leave things to cool down a little for 20 minutes or so. Then take your sterilised jars (I left mine in the dishwasher until ready to use) and fill, leaving approx 1cm from the rim. It’s worth placing the jars in something like a roasting tin when you do this – however careful you are, there will be some minor spillages.
Seal tightly, lick the spoon and pan, and admire your handiwork!
It’s an involved process but the kind of thing that can just happen in the background while you get on with other stuff in the house – and the results are, even if I say so myself, well worth it! Certainly better than eating the oranges straight off the tree.