I have several recipe books devoted to preserving, jams and other such domestic creativity. This particular recipe for marmalade works well for me and for Mr B, who has very particular standards.
The marmalade should set well, be a pleasing colour, with good distribution of peel. The shreds of peel should be fine and short, about the thickness of a penny and maximum one centimetre long.
- 1 kg seville/marmalade oranges
- 2 kg jam sugar
- 2.5 litres of water
- Wash the oranges, and put them in a large covered pan and simmer for around an hour and a half.
- Remove the oranges from the liquid, and allow to cool.
- Put around 8 clean jam-jars on a sheet in the oven at around 90C to warm and sterilise.
- The messy bit; cut the oranges in half, and remove the pips. Scoop out the pulp and add to the pan.
- To get a good set, put the pips in a small pan with some of the liquor and bring to the boil, and then strain this back into the big pan.
- Next, cut the rind of three or four of the oranges into fine shreds. I do this by cutting the rind into 1cm wide strips, and then running a table knife along the inside of the peel to remove as much of the pith as possible. Then I chop into fine shreds, only adding the best ones to the pan. How much you add is a personal choice.
- Start to bring the mixture to the boil, and add the sugar, stirring all the while.
- Keep boiling until setting point is reached – around 222 (jam) on the thermometer. Use the wrinkle test and the flake test as well. Pour the marmalade into the warm jars, and leave to set.
A word about the flake test – this is my favourite method of checking that the jam or marmalade will set. I dip a spoon into the boiling jam and hold it horizontally. As the jam drips off the edge of the spoon, it will start to set, and the drips will start to join together, to form gelatinous webs.