Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I’ve spent the last 3 days (3 days is a long time) on what I’ve come to think of as a marmalade project. Not just making marmalade you understand, but a Project, or perhaps that should be PROJECT. Last week I bought a whole lot of blood oranges going cheap at work. Normally they’re approximately the same price as gold but these were 60p for half a dozen so I got lots thinking I could experiment with all those blood orange (remarketed as blush oranges for heaven’s sake) recipes that normally look impractically expensive. After spending the weekend out and about my options narrowed to marmalade.

Making marmalade is a deeply satisfying if very time consuming activity, so far though I’ve only really dabbled with Seville Oranges, there was a brief flirtation with Lemon and Lavender which was okay but it didn’t really feel like marmalade, and Seville’s seem foolproof which fills me with confidence. Still nothing ventured nothing gained – Prospect books sent me C. Annie Wilson’s ‘The Book of Marmalade’ late last year so not before time I had a good browse through it – which delayed me actually doing anything effort related to the oranges – but it’s a cracking little book with loads of history, recipes, and general entertainment. Naturally I had to cross reference my findings with Pam Corbin’s ‘Preserves’ and after only a few hours happy reading I had a recipe.

Which told me to slice the oranges and soak the bits for 24 hours. Fine it was getting on for a Monday evening and I wanted to get to bed before midnight so I chopped and chopped feeling very domestic and a veritable goddess. I measured the water and filled the pan with orange juice and bits only slightly dismayed by its tendency to look like it was going to overflow (it’s quite a big pan as well) then went to bed. Where I did some maths. All well and good having pre chopped fruit but it would still want at least 3 hours messing around with and I wouldn’t get home on Tuesday until 9pm. Still no bed before midnight.

Due to it being a big pan of cold water and cold oranges it took far longer than I imagined to come to the boil, never mind for the skins to soften and sometime around 1am on wed morning I gave up in favour of sleep setting my alarm for stupidly early on a day off to finish the Marmalade (PROJECT) so having slept through my alarm there was a hectic and quite damp and sticky hour and a half today before going out to meet my delightful god son and his mother, who didn’t get marmalade because it was still molten sugary lava albeit in a jar. Given the stop start nature of the enterprise I’m really pleased with the results, it’s a sweeter marmalade than I normally make, but a very pretty colour and will I think be excellent for using in other recipes.

1.5 kg oranges
175 ml lemon juice
3kg sugar
3.75 litres of water

Scrub the oranges, halve them squeeze out the juice and chop the skins into thin strips.

Put the juice, peel and water into a Very Large Pan (or make up a smaller quantity) and leave to soak overnight or for 24 hours,

Bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of hours or until the skins are soft

Add the sugar and lemon juice and bring back to the boil

Prepare as many sterilised jars as you can find

After about 20 to 25 minutes of vigorous boiling start checking to see if setting point has been reached, when the marmalade gets there let it stand for roughly 10 mins before bottling and sealing (the standing time stops all the fruit bits rising to the top – my marmalade looks a bit uneven because I had a bus to catch)


  1. I'm making marmalade today funnily enough. I got all the stuff ready a few days ago and then realised I had run out of sugar (doh) I now have the gallons of sugar needed and will make it today! I love the smells

  2. May I say how delighted I am to discover that there is a whole book about marmalade....why did it never occur to me that there would, of course, be a book about marmalade...there are probably several...Marmalade has to be one of my favourite things...possibly even essential. My morning is not complete without marmalade. I have made it on a couple of occasions with varying degrees of success - the last attempt was disastrous. You have inspired me to give it another go. Your pot looks great! and - get this - my word verification is ploypeel - how about that????

  3. Luvvie - thats a sign surely! 'The Book of Marmalade' is from prospect who have some great titles in their english kitchen series. Not many pictures but lots of history and a select collection of recipes including things to make with marmalade.

    The river cottage handbook is good too.

    I love making marmalade but it can't be hurried, or at least not without a pressure cooker. I've not had any disastors yet but there have been some near misses...

  4. Jessica - hope it came out well and your kitchen isn't as sticky as mine:)