How to make the best Seville Orange Marmalade - ever!
Now is the time of year when you will see Seville oranges on sale in the shops. They are only available for a few short weeks in January and February so make haste if you want to make marmalade. Seville oranges are grown almost entirely for the British market to make marmalade, they are much too sour and full of seeds for anything else. It is this combination of acid and high pectin content which makes them ideal for setting jams and jellies.
The chunkiness - or lack thereof - is a personal matter but you can decide which bits to cut up and keep in your marmalade.
3lbs Seville Oranges
6 pints water
Peel the zest off the oranges and cut the strips with a pair of scissors to whichever shape and length you like. Cut the oranges and lemons in half and keep the seeds aside in a dish - there will be lots of them. Squeeze all the orange halves and chop them roughly. Put the orange halves in a muslin bag and tie them up. Put the orange seeds in a square of muslin and tie them up. Leave the two bags in 6 pints of water along with the chopped peel and leave them to soak for 24hours. The pectin will have an extra chance to come out in the water if you soak them like this. The orange pips have about 10 times their weight in pectin, they are an important ingredient.
When fully soaked you should notice that the water has started to thicken slightly due to the pectin release. Transfer all this to a large pan and boil for about 90 minutes or until it has reduced by half. Keep stirring to bring out the pectin from the two muslin bags. The orange peel will be floating freely in the liquid. Remove the bags from the liquid and strain all the juice out of them, discard the bags. Add 6lb sugar and boil until the setting point has been reached.
I always test for setting point with a small plate which is cooled in the freezer. Pop a spoonful of liquid on the plate and place back in the freezer for about 5 mins. Draw a finger through this and see if this is the consistency of the jam you want. I usually do this about 10 times to get the set I want. Allow this to cool a fair bit before pouring into hot, sterilized glass jars.