One of the joys of winter is the arrival of the citrus season. Naval and Seville oranges from Spain are at their best from December though to February. Here in the UK, we are the biggest consumers of this bitter Seville orange. The depth of flavour is perfect for cooking, unlike its sweeter cousin, the Naval. Seville Orange Marmalade on toast is my favourite weekend treat. So I set aside a few hours on a grey January day to make this blazing amber preserve.
Sevilles have rough, dimpled textured yellow-orange skin with pale, almost translucent flesh and plenty of pips. When the fruit is ripe it is exceptionally juicy with a tart, sour tang. The pectin is stored in the pith, great for marmalade, but extremely bitter by itself. It is therefore important to add any discarded pith to the muslin pouch and submerge in the water when cooking the skins.
Now I know marmalade contains A LOT of sugar. I try and keep the consumption of it to a minimum however it is simply not possible to reduce the amount drastically in marmalade. You see the sugar in the recipe is not just added for sweetness; it also helps gel the ingredients together to create a thick, sticky consistency.
Talking of consistency, I have never used preserving sugar. There should be enough pectin from the lemon juice, pith and pips as mentioned above, to set this preserve.
Seville Orange Marmalade
- 1 kg Seville oranges
- 1 unwaxed lemon
- 1.9 kg granulated sugar
- Thoroughly wash the oranges and lemon, then cut in half and squeeze out the juice. Take a teaspoon and scrape away all the flesh and some of the pith of the orange halves. Place a sieve over a bowl lined with a muslin. Tip all the pips, pith and flesh into the muslin (you can use a clean jcloth). Tie with string and place in a large pan, tying the string to the handle. Add 2 litres of water.
- Discard the lemon shell. Now finely cut the peel into strips; add to the pan.
- Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1.5-2 hours, or until the peel is very soft and the liquid has reduced by approximately half. Remove and discard the muslin bag, squeezing as much liquid as possible back into the pan between 2 plates.
- Put a saucer in the freezer to chill. Add the sugar to the pan; stir over a low heat until dissolved. Turn up the heat and boil rapidly until it reaches setting point – (if you have a thermometer 102-105°C), about 15 minutes. To test, remove from the heat and spoon a little onto a chilled plate. Let it cool for a few seconds, then push with a finger. If the surface wrinkles, it’s ready; if not, boil for 5 minutes more and test again. Leave to settle for 30 minutes (this will prevent the orange rind floating to the top of the jar). Skim off any foam with a ladle. Stir and pour into warm sterilised jars. Seal when cool, then store in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months. Once open, store in the fridge for up to a month.
Try adding Seville orange marmalade to:
- Add a spoonful to Greek-style yogurt.
- Use in Crepes Suzette.
- Marinate sliced clementines with 1-2 teaspoons of marmalade and serve with panna cotta.
- Use in a glaze for roasted chicken thighs with a hint of chilli and garlic.
- Add a little to the pan juices after sautéing duck breasts.