Seville orange marmalade has been a traditional fixture on the English breakfast table since the eighteenth century. Other countries may find its bittersweet tang incomprehensible, but we have a taste for it that never fades. Nowadays the bitter Seville oranges are grown specifically for the English marmalade industry and the short season means that if you want to make your own traditional marmalade recipe you have to do it in January when the oranges are briefly available for a few weeks.
You can however make excellent marmalade with any combination of citrus fruits and if you can’t get hold of Seville oranges, I suggest a combination of sweet oranges, grapefruit and lemons to make a really satisfying three fruit marmalade with just the right tanginess for your breakfast toast.
Seville Orange Marmalade Recipe
1kg / 2lb Seville oranges
2kg / 4lb sugar
2 litres water approx
Wipe or gently wash the oranges. Don’t scrub hard or you will lose the essential oils that give a lot of the flavour. Cut the fruit in half, remove pips and then slice the fruit into small shreds. You get to decide whether you like your marmalade with chunky peel in or finely shredded. For fine shreds you can use the processor with care not to pulp it, but cut your chunky peel by hand.
Put all the cut fruit into a large heavy based pan with the water. Tie up the pips in a muslin bag (for easy removal later) and add them too. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 1 – 2 hours until the peel is soft and tender. How long it takes depends on how chunky you have cut the peel. The water will have reduced, but the fruit should still be covered. Add the sugar and stir until it has dissolved. Once all the sugar has dissolved, raise the heat and boil briskly for 20-30 minutes until the marmalade reaches setting point. Check after 15 minutes for the first time as some mixtures are quicker than others to jel.
Test this by putting a drop of the liquid onto a cold saucer. Allow to cool for a minute or two and then see whether it has jelled, by pushing a finger through it – if it has formed a skin which wrinkles it is ready. Pour the marmalade into warm sterilized jars and seal.
If you can’t get Seville oranges for your marmalade then substitute 3 sweet oranges, 1 grapefruit and 2 lemons and reduce the amount of sugar used to 1.5kg, then proceed as above. You can experiment with your citrus fruit and try a variation including limes if you like a more fragrant marmalade.
Feel like eating breakfast out before you start to make marmalade today? Why not try a traditional English Breakfast at Chatterley House restaurant in Nottingham.