There are many ways to make marmalade, and lots of advice about the perfect version. This is ‘method 1’ in Bulletin 21 from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, printed in 1971. I got the book at a jumble sale in 1981.
I published this tonight, as I promised the recipe to someone who’d tried the marmalade. I can’t remember if she had the Aperol batch though.
1.5 kg seville oranges
2.25 litres of water
3 kg sugar
Optional extra – 200ml of Aperol – reduce water to 2 litres
With a potato peeler, shave strips of peel from the oranges and lemons. Cut the peel very finely, into strips about 1cm long and the thickness of a penny. You don’t need to do all the peel, it depends on how much you really like it.
Put the peel in a pan with some of the water, and simmer for around 2 hours, until the peel is tender.
Cut up the rest of the fruit coarsely and simmer with the remaining water in a closed pan for around 1 1/2 hours. When cooked, strain through a colander to remove the pips.
Add the strained juice (and optional aperol) to the peel, bring to the boil and then add the sugar, stirring until it is dissolved.
Bring the marmalade to a fast boil, until setting point is reached. When you have decided the marmalade is ready, turn off the heat, and skim off any foamy scum.
Let the marmalade cool quite a bit in the pan: this means that the peel distributes evenly in the jar.
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.
After Christmas, I have been taking stock of all our left-overs. We must have been expecting a frenzy of people wanting tangerines, gin & tonic, and fresh ginger.
I made this mixed fruit marmalade with all the citrus fruit. Still to work out what to do with a huge bag of fresh ginger.
Tangerines, Limes, Lemons, Oranges, Grapefruit, combined = 1.4 kg
1.4 kg jam sugar
2.8 litres of water
Peel the tangerines, and slice the peel into thin shreds. Put this in a wee muslin bag
Chop all the fruit up coarsely, with the peel on – slicing it works well.
Put the wee bag of peel and the fruit into a large pan with the water, and bring to the simmer, cook for 2 hours. Remove the wee muslin bag about half way through.
Strain the mixture through a jelly bag, and measure the juice – if it is more than 1.4 litres, put it into the jam pan and bring to the boil and reduce.
Add the sugar, dissolve it, and bring to the boil. I use a thermometer to get to jam temperature, then I hold the stirring spoon horizontally to see if the drips start to set and combine together (flake test)
Skim off any foam, add the shredded peel, and let the mixture start to cool. Pour into clean warmed jars. (I warm the clean jars in the oven).