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January 26, 2012

It’s marmalade making time!

by Val Reynolds
Seville oranges

Seville oranges

Seville oranges you can use to make marmalade at home are in the shops now.

If you love marmalade, there is absolutely nothing like making your own. You can make it as sweet or as sharp, as thin or as thick as you desire. In the past I have used prepared tinned seville oranges which was good, but making it from scratch is a job that rewards you every time.

Equipment needed:

  • A preserving pan is ideal but not essential, a large saucepan that will take at least one and a half kilos of fruit and three kilos of sugar will do.
  • A long wooden spoon, essential to avoid hot spits of marmalade when coming up to a full rolling boil.

    Marmalade simmering

    Marmalade simmering

  • A sharp knife. This year I used one of my very sharp Novelli knives which did the job but after a while the handle slipped as my hands became wetter and wetter with juice. So I used my new Kitchen Devils Kitchen Scissors – see lefthand side of magnetic knife bar below. They did the job pretty well, the serrated blades really made quick work of slicing the peel, not quite as symmetrical as using a knife, but I didn’t develop aches nor sore fingers from the repetitive job. The handles have a soft touch grip, preventing slipping. The scissors are designed for both left and right handed users. They are dishwasher proof and guaranteed for 15 years.

    Magnetic knife bar

    Magnetic knife bar

  • A jam thermometer is useful but not essential but gives reassurance if you are worried about whether the marmalade is ready to pot. A temperature of 105C/220F is recommended in a recipe I found on the BBC website.

Shopping List:

  •  1.5 kg bag of Seville oranges from Sainsburys
  • Granulated sugar 
  • Lemons – only use unwaxed fruit
  • A small piece of muslin and some string

There are many recipes on the web, from Delia to James Martin to Nigel Slater which look reliable. I  use a recipe I’ve had for years and which is now done by eye I’m so familiar with it. I made three batches to provide us with enough marmalade to last about a year plus some small jars to giveaway. I added 1-2 tbspns of brown sugar to one batch to give it a tawny look and slightly different flavour. Don’t add any more than that, on one occasion when I added a generous amount to a batch of rhubarb jam it tasted like chutney!

Control Kitchen Knife in use

Control Kitchen Knife in use

The Kitchen Devils Kitchen Scissors are available online at Amazon and at Asda, Lakeland, Morrisons, The Range and independent cook stores nationwide.

Kate Campbell, A self taught cook who loves preserving fruit and vegetables 

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