I know, I know .. my jam pan needs cleaning and if you have any suggestions on what to use then do leave a comment .. you see I'm impatient and I just had to use it to make some marmalade today so it's been christened. It was my valentine gift from my husband. Very romantic ... and of course the best gifts satisfy a little self interest .. he does love marmalade!
It is the last week you can get Seville oranges and I picked up a huge bag yesterday from my local greengrocer for just £1.30 per kg ( listen to his advice here ). Nothing beats making marmalade. Oh the smell of the oranges as you slice them - the intense vapour filling the kitchen is the smell of sunshine. For me it is a promise of the summer to come. it't is such a British institution that in the Second World War despite terrible danger Sir Winston Churchill kept the route for the orange boats open so we could keep on making our jars of delicious heritage. It’s really rather romantic when you think about it.
I keep on meaning to enter one of my pots into the Marmalade awards that are next week. Of course me being me I have missed the deadline to enter .. but still I like the idea.. maybe next year !
I must say though, that the thing that I love most about the whole process has to be the divine smell of oranges infusing throughout the house. The sweet treacle citrus scent permeates the fabrics and lingers so each time walk back into the house it l reminds me of the stash of treasures pots hidden in the cupboard - like jewels they are translucent as they are brought out into the sunlight .. but the true reward has to be the beautiful stash of amber jelly swirled with candied peel that dance across your hot toasted sourdough. The cold butter melting with the sweet and sour crunch washed down with a steaming cup of fresh coffee - no wonder it is my ideal breakfast.
So if you are even vaguely considering making marmalade .. do it .. it is well worth a dash to your local grocers to catch the last crate lurking at the back of the store. I will say though that there are some things worth remembering when you make marmalade. Remember to get some fabulous jam jars .. I buy mine from the Jam Jar Shop .. it's not far from where I live .. but they deliver locally and next day delivery is what you need. Oh and you should always use fresh oranges and cook the fruit really well before you add the sugar.
I really fancy making some orange curd and am quite determined not to read the details in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's recipe in this article here in case I unwittingly copy it as I develop my own recipe. .. no doublt his is delicious though! I also love reading Dan Lepard and Nigel Slaters columns and Nigel talks about the generosity of marmalade makers in a superb article in the Observer .. although I have so say if I gave even one pot of marmalade away it would be grounds for divorce from my husband. I kid you not.
As I was researching marmalade and chattering on twitter a lovely lady called @VivienLloyd kindly sent me her award winning recipe. Vivian has won numerous first prizes for her preserves at local and national level and in 2008 she won “Best of the Best” for her Seville orange marmalade at the World’s Original Marmalade Festival. Vivien’s winning recipe is also featured in both her new book, First Preserves. It's is superb book, with clear type, easy to follow instructions with lots of really fabulous tips.. . even for a veteran marmalade maker like me!
So I must pot up today's batch and then make my final batch using Vivian's Recipe in my new pan and stash them for the coming year. In the mean time I have to show you my gorgeous personalised chalk board that was sent to me courtesy of Not on the High Street. It's so useful and arrived beautifully wrapped. There are lots of design choices and of course you can have any working .. but I chose to have Vanessa Kimbell's Kitchen .. just in case anyone momentarily forgets where they are !
Seville Orange Marmalade
675g (1lb 8oz) Seville oranges
1.4kg (3lb) granulated, cane sugar
1.75 litres (3 pints) water.
Juice the oranges and pour the juice with the water into a large, lidded pan with a capacity of 7 litres. Remove the inner membranes and pips from the oranges. Do not remove the pith from the oranges.
Juice the lemon and add the juice to the pan. Put the orange membranes and the lemon halves into a food processor or mini-chopper and chop finely.
Put the chopped membranes, chopped lemon and any pips into a 33 cm x 33cm piece of thin cotton muslin. Tie this up with string and add to the pan.
Slice the oranges and add to the pan- thinner peel releases more pectin during cooking than thicker. If possible, leave the pan overnight to allow the fruit to soak. Next day, bring the lidded pan to boil, turn down the heat and simmer very gently for two hours.
The peel should be tender and the contents of the pan reduced by a third. Remove the muslin bag and squeeze the liquid from the bag back into the pan through a sieve, using a large spoon.
Warm the sugar in a low oven. Add the sugar to the pan and dissolve. Bring to a rolling boil and test for a set after 7 minutes. Leave to cool for 10 minutes. Remove any scum from the surface of the marmalade. Pour into sterilised jars and cover with new twist top lids. Alternatively, seal the jars with waxed discs and when cold, apply cellophane covers secured with elastic bands.
Makes around 2.25kg/5lb
Other recipes for marmalade
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