Orange-flavoured food is not generally my cup of tea. I don’t like orange cakes, muffins or orange gummy bears. One thing I do have a weakness for is a really good orange marmalade. When it is just the right amount of bitter, sweet, caramelised and citrusy it is beautiful. Since January/February is the time of year we should all be preserving precious in-season fruits, I thought I would have a go at making Seville orange marmalade. This is the third attempt in my culinary life at making a preserve: the last two times have kind of ended up in a bit of a disaster. When I was about 16, I tried to preserve lemons and ended up with a pretty severe burn over my neck! Second time I attempted making a chutney and the jars weren’t sterilised so they tasted mouldy. It was not good, not good at all. This time, I thought it would be an idea to get a kind of production line going in the kitchen with the fiancé, and delegate rather than doing it all on my own. The results were amazing! There isn’t anything quite like homemade jam or marmalade. I would recommend a few things when making marmalade 1) try to cut the pieces as evenly and consistently as possible—it makes a difference to the overall texture and look 2) when the marmalade is boiling rapidly, stir it occasionally but not all the time—this will give a nice deep and golden colour 3) don’t let it over-set!! This is the saddest thing to do to a jam or marmalade. I couldn’t imagine having spent hours chopping and stirring and measuring then having a big solid lump of concrete to clean out of the pot. I was really quite scared of that happening so was pretty obsessive with testing the doneness on a saucer. One other important factor is to use really good quality oranges—in this case, we got ours from Riverford organics.
Check out the recipe here: www.riverford.co.uk/marmalade