Ok, marmalade is hardly a simple pleasure exactly, but it is a highly enjoyable one and there are many advantages to indulging in a little preserve making at this time of the year.
Firstly, it fills your house with a richly aromatic orangey-fug perfume that will linger for hours and make that scented candle feel like a lightweight.
Secondly it will make you feel a domestic goddess as it is not difficult to get great tasting results and will impress breakfast guests… “The marmalade? Oh I made it myself from early Sevilles, to a secret family recipe”.
Thirdly it will give you a chance to be creative with the labelling and any other embellishment you fancy -although middleagemum was bought a lovely labelling kit as a Christmas present so is taking the easy way out with pre decorated sticky labels, fully coordinated gingham fabric circles and matching elastic bands.
Fourthly, what else are you going to do on a wet January Sunday when you can’t go shopping due to the worry of redundancy and the threat of imminent bankruptcy if you even look at a high street store.
Seville oranges and granulated sugar are still dirt cheap.
Here’s our recipe
2kgs Sevilleoranges (early season ones have more pectin)
3 litres of water
1litre orange juice
Juice of two lemons ( throw the skin into the fruit bag)
4 kgs granulated sugar (preserving sugar is ok but almost not needed here as marmalade sets easily)
Skin oranges neatly and cut up flesh, tie all into a muslin bag or old (laundered) pillowcase, tie top well.
Put water, orange and lemon juice and the fruit bag onto a gentle heat and cook for hours (at least two, often a lot longer) until the skin is super soft.
When cooked, drain and cool fruit bag, remove skin and proceed to trim and finely slice the rind. Slice as thick or thin as you like and as much or little as you like.
Meanwhile, reduce the liquid slightly by boiling fast. When reduced by about 30% add the sugar and sliced rind and boil until set, about half an hour. A sugar thermometer is useful here, but not essential, keep a saucer in the freezer, after half an hour’s boiling drop a spoonful on the cold plate, the jammy blob should wrinkle when pushed with your finger when set.
Cool and put into clean warm jars. Embellish with creative labelling
Show off by telling everyone what you’ve done.