I seem to remember that from the end of January to the beginning of February our kitchen was filled the fragrant smell of Seville oranges cooking. I think my mother and grandmother made enough to last almost the whole year! Sometimes I mince the fruit and then use exactly the same method. I also use an organic granulated sugar and that can cause scum (which can be scraped off) but I prefer that to the preserving sugars that have added pectin. It was my treat, as a child, to have the crust off the loaf spread liberally with butter and then a dollop of warm marmalade on top – it is still good but not quite the same with gluten-free bread!
Everyone has their own method of making marmalade. Some people slice the fruit before cooking it and others like me cook the fruit first. This is the method I have always used.
2lbs (900g) Organic Seville Oranges
1 Unwaxed Lemon
4lbs (1.8g) Organic Granulated Sugar
4 pints (2.25lt) Water
Preserving pan, muslin, sieve, small bowl, string, jam-jars, lids and labels
1 Put 2 or 3 saucers in the fridge. These will be used to test for setting
2 Wash and rinse the jam-jars and heat in the oven
3 Cut the oranges and the lemon in half and squeeze out the juice, placing the pips in a square of muslin laid over a sieve over a bowl.
4 Put the cut fruit in the preserving pan with the juice and the water.
5 Tie up the pips in the muslin with the string and tie onto the handle of the preserving pan, so that it sits in the juice/water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 1½/2 hours until the fruit is soft.
6 Allow to cool a little and then slice the fruit into quarters and then into thin slices.
7 Return the fruit to the pan with the juice/water and add the sugar. Stir it over a low heat until all the sugar is melted.
8 Increase the heat so that the mixture comes to a fast boil and then boil for 15 minutes.
9 Check to see if the mixture has set by spooning a little of the mixture onto the cold saucer.
10 Allow to cool a little, and then push the mixture with your finger, if it has a skin that crinkles it is set. If not put the mixture back on the heat and boil for another 5 minutes. This can be done again until the marmalade has set.
11 Remove the pan from the heat and if there is some scum around the edge of the pan spoon it away.
12 Leave the marmalade to settle for about 15 minutes and then pour into clean warm jars (I use a soup ladle but be careful as the mixture will be hot). Cover the jars with a clean teacloth until cold.
13 When the marmalade is cold put on the lids and label.
NB: Instead of slicing the oranges I sometimes mince them which gives a very different marmalade. I also like my marmalade less set than some bought marmalades – that is up to you.