Seville oranges

 Seville oranges Key facts Seville oranges are so-called after the city in southern Spain where they are extensively grown. Indeed, the word marmalade derives from the Spanish marmellata. Seville (or 'bitter') oranges are good for preserve making as they have a high level of pectin, which creates a good set.

Proper home-made marmalade really is one of the world's great luxury foods. For, however good the shop-bought versions are, they can never match what can be made at home from just three simple ingredients – Seville oranges, water and sugar.

Seville oranges are used because they are bitter and when combined with sugar the predominant flavour is that of the oranges, with a sharp tangy taste. No marmalade made with any other citrus food has that intensity of flavour, where the sharpness of the oranges wins hands down over the sugar, totally eliminating that over-sweetness that so often masks the true flavour of fruit in preserves.

The Seville orange season is short, from December to February, so it's best to make enough marmalade for the whole year while they're available. But if you don't have the time, you can still put some by, as Sevilles do freeze perfectly well.

 
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