In amongst all of the oranges in the grocery store these days I noticed some new varieties that I had not come across before and I have been trying them out. One of the more interesting ones was the seville orange which was not what I was expecting when I cracked one open to eat along with breakfast; boy was it ever bitter! A quick search on the internet showed that the seville orange is indeed supposed to be bitter and that in fact it is prized for it and that bitterness makes it the perfect candidate for making marmalade. When I read that I knew what I would be doing with the rest of my bag of seville oranges; making marmalade.
After browsing a couple dozen recipes for marmalade I noticed that none of them called for pectin and since I had never made a jam or preserve without pectin, I was looking forward to making the marmalade. Citrus fruit has a lot of pectin naturally and it concentrates in the seeds. With this in mind, one of the critical aspects of marmalade recipes is to catch all of the seeds, pulp and extra bits and tie them up in a cheese cloth bag. This bag of seeds is then simmered with the peels so that the pectin is released into the marmalade to thicken it naturally. Another thing that I liked about the recipes for marmalade it that they are all pretty simple ingredient wise usually only containing the oranges, sugar and water with a lemon thrown in for good measure.
Other than a bit of juicing, scraping, slicing and simmering, the marmalade was pretty easy to make and once you get it to the simmering phase you can let it go for the most part, just stirring it every once in a while.
In the end I was quite pleased with the final results including the way that the marmalade thickened up despite the lack of extra pectin. The marmalade itself has a really nice sweetness with undertones of bitterness that balance things out and the the orange peel is perfectly tender. I am looking forward to trying the marmalade out on something!
Servings: 4 cup
- 1 pound seville oranges, about 4 (washed)
- 1 lemon (washed)
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups sugar
- Cut the oranges and lemon in half cross wise.
- Squeeze the juice and pits out through a mesh sieve collecting the juice in a large sauce pan.
- Scrape all of the membranes and remaining pulp from the inside of the oranges. (For me it all came out easily leaving behind just the pith.)
- Collect the pit, membranes and any pulp that came out and place it in a double layer of 8 inch square cheese cloth and tie it off.
- Slice the orange and lemon peels into small thin pieces about 1/8 inch wide and no longer than an inch.
- Bring the juice, water, peels and cheesecloth to a simmer over medium heat and cook, covered, until the peel gets tender, about 2 hours. Stir every 15 minutes, squeezing the juices from the cheesecloth when you do.
- Remove the cheesecloth and squeeze out any liquid into the pot.
- At this point you should have about 4 cups of liquid. Add more water if you have less and simmer to reduce if you have more.
- Bring the liquid and sugar to a roiling boil until it thickens, about 10-15 minutes. To test, place a small spoonful on a plate that was in the freezer and run your finger through. If the path where your finger went through stays then it has set.
- Pour into your jars leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top, seal, let cool and refrigerate.