How to make marmalade
1. Good shop-bought marmalade can never match what can be made at home from just three simple ingredients – Seville oranges, water and sugar. The problem with modern marmalade-making is that today's hobs don't always oblige when it comes to getting large amounts of marmalade up to what old-fashioned cooks called a rolling boil, without which traditional marmalade stubbornly refuses to set. So the trick is don't try and make too large a quantity in one go. This one is cooked long and slow – which solves the dilemma completely.
2. To make seven 500 ml capacity jars, you will need a heavy-gauge aluminium preserving pan, a 15 inch (38 cm) piece of muslin or double gauze, a nylon sieve, some foil, seven 500 ml capacity sterilised preserving jars, and some small flat plates. To sterilise the jars, wash them thoroughly in warm soapy water, rinse and dry them, then place in a medium oven for five minutes.
3. This recipe is extremely easy as long as you remember that it happens in two stages, so ideally begin the recipe one afternoon or evening and finish it the following morning. For stage one, lightly scrub 3 lb (1.35 kg) Seville oranges and 2 lemons and place them in the preserving pan. Sugar has a hardening effect, so tough-skinned fruits should always be simmered before the sugar is added to the pan. Therefore add 5 pints (3 litres) water and bring it all up to a gentle simmer. Now take a large piece of double foil, place it over the top of the pan and fold the edges firmly over the rim. What needs to happen is for the fruit to poach very gently without any of the liquid evaporating. This initial simmering will take 3 hours. After this, remove the preserving pan from the heat and allow everything to get cool enough to handle.
4. Using a draining spoon, lift the fruit out of the liquid and into a bowl. Now cut the oranges in half and scoop out all the inside flesh and pips as well, straight into a medium sized saucepan. Next do the same with the lemons but discard the peel.
5. Now, using a ladle, add 1 pint (570 ml) of the poaching liquid to the fruit pulp, then place the saucepan over a medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Have ready a large nylon sieve lined with gauze, and place it over a bowl, then strain the contents of the saucepan through the sieve. Leave it all like this while it cools and drips through.
8. When the pulp is cool, what you need to do next is gather up the corners of the muslin and twist it into a ball, then, using your hands, squeeze all of the pectin-rich juices into the preserving pan. Don't be faint-hearted here – squeeze like mad so that every last bit of stickiness is extracted and you're left only with the pithy membranes of the fruit, which you can now discard. When you have added the strained pectin, stir the liquid, orange peel and pectin together and just leave all of this overnight, loosely covered with a clean tea-cloth.
9. Stage two: The following day, empty 6 lb (2.7 kg) granulated sugar into a large roasting tin lined with foil then place it in a warm oven, gas mark 3, 325°F (170°C), and allow it to warm gently for 10 minutes. Then place the preserving pan and its contents over a gentle heat and as soon as it starts to warm through tip the warmed sugar into the pan to join the rest.
10. Now, using a large wooden spoon, stir the marmalade, keeping the heat gentle, until all the sugar crystals have fully dissolved. What you must not do is let the marmalade boil until all the sugar is completely dissolved otherwise it will be difficult to set and the finished jam will be sugary. Keep looking at the back of the wooden spoon as you stir.
11. When you are sure there are no more crystals left, turn up the heat and let the marmalade bubble away gently – it can take 3-4 hours for it to darken and develop its lovely rich flavour. When the marmalade has been cooking for 2½ hours place some small flat plates in the fridge.
12. Then to test for a set, after 3 hours draw the pan from the heat and spoon a teaspoonful of marmalade on to a chilled plate. Allow it to cool for a minute back in the fridge, then push it with your little finger – if a crinkly skin forms, it has reached setting point. If not, continue cooking and do more testing at 15-minute intervals.
13. When it has set, leave the marmalade to cool for 30 minutes – to prevent the fruit rising to the top in the jar – before ladling through a funnel into the warm sterilised jars. Seal the jars while they are hot, then label the next day when cold. Store in a cool, dry place. Too much light is not good for storage, while a damp or steamy atmosphere can cause mould to develop on the surface of the marmalade. Then, as soon as possible, make Chunky Marmalade Bread and Butter Pudding – it's utterly divine!
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