I have inadvertently stumbled upon a way to bring sunshine in to my home in the depths of January.
It was Sunday and the sky was filling up with a January grey. January has a different light to the one before Christmas and it can seem less than cosy. I look towards Spring at this time of year with hope and excitement and I realised on Sunday that I can hasten its return by doing one thing, by making marmalade.
Making marmalade sends the scent of Seville Oranges coursing through my home, lighting up everything in its path. And the taste they produce invokes happiness and lightness as it is spread on my toast, bread or scone. The jars sit in my pantry like bright amber orbs of Winter goodness. Waiting to be consumed by yours truly or given, like a handful of sunshine, to an unwitting recipient.
Making marmalade is easy, life affirming and right. It lasts forever and tastes like nothing a factory could ever produce. It is sunshine in a jar and reminds me how wonderful life is when I notice that Seville Oranges are for sale in the greengrocers during the toughest time of the year.
Sitting and waiting for us to release their magic, their scent, their taste and then bottle it.
Here’s how to make Marmalade. Do not be put off by the number of steps. I have simply gone in to detail and wanted to make it all very clear.
Makes approx 2 Ltrs of Marmalade
- Take two pounds of Seville Oranges. Approximately 7 Oranges. They are lighter than other Oranges and contain more pectin (setting agent).
- Wash them, remove the button from the top and place them in to a Maslin pan or large heavy bottomed pan.
- Add four pints of water, bring to the boil and then allow to simmer for about an hour or until you can poke a wooden skewer in to the flesh easily.
- When they have softened remove them from the liquid and set the liquid to one side. Then set the oranges aside to cool for a few moments.
- When cool enough to handle, slice the oranges in half, scoop out the fleshy insides, including the pips, and place the flesh back in to the pan with the liquid.
- Set the skins to one side, you’ll need them.
- Place the pan back on to the heat and boil for about 15 minutes to extract the pectin from the pips.
- Then, place the liquid and the fleshly pulp through a fine sieve. Reserving the liquid and placing it back in to the pan.
- Do not put it back on to the heat just yet.
- Add 4 pounds of sugar and stir until it has dissolved.
- Returning to the orange peel you have set aside, slice the peel in to small pieces. If you like a more bitter taste then keep some of the pith on the pieces.
- Place the cut up peel in the pan a return the pan to the heat. Bring it to a rolling boil.
- Keep the pan at a high simmer/rolling boil (not a nuclear boil) for twenty minutes or until it reaches 220f
- Meanwhile place three small saucers in to the fridge to chill.
- After twenty minutes take a teaspoon of the marmalade liquid from the pan and place it on the chilled saucer.
- Put the saucer back in to the fridge for a couple of minutes and then remove it.
- Push the marmalade with your finger or the back of a spoon. If it has set and is crinkly when pushed you may remove the pan from the heat as it has reached its ‘Setting Point’.
- If not return the pan to heat and test again in another five minutes.
- Mine took thirty minutes and I believe I could have left it for forty as I would have liked it to be a little firmer.
- When you are happy with your Setting Point remove the pan from the heat and leave it to cool for approximately forty minutes. This helps the peel to settle throughout the Marmalade and not just on top.
- Place your jars (I recommended La Parfait as they are designed for this) in to a hot oven or pour boiling water over them to sterilize them. But remove the rubber seal first.
- Allow them to air dry in the hot oven
- When the pan of Marmalade has cooled, use a funnel and pour the marmalade in to the jars you have chosen.
- After sterilizing the rubber seal place it back on to the cooled but still warm jar, close, and leave to set on the kitchen worktop overnight.
Serve next day with your favourite bread and a hot cup of tea. Don’t keep it for breakfast but serve throughout the day when the fancy takes you.
It’s delicious, divine and delightful. And it makes those darling Spring-like days seem just around the corner. Which of course they are. Aren’t they?
Huge love to you, Cherry x