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This was my first foray into the world or marmalade making, which is perhaps surprising given my penchant for the preserve. Before starting, I read various recipes and advice about the science and subtleties of marmalade production and came up with this recipe, which I’d say was pretty good for a first attempt.

Makes about 1.5 litres

  • 400g Seville oranges (two large or three smaller)
  • 1/2 a pink grapefruit
  • 1 lemon
  • 1.2 litre water
  • 1kg white sugar
  • 1 tsp soft dark brown sugar (gives it a nice tawny colour)

Other things you will need: muslin, string, a large heavy-based saucepan, sugar thermometer and sterilised jam jars (wash them in hot soapy water then dry in the oven at 140C for half an hour, then use them straight out of the oven).

First, weigh you oranges and half the grapefruit. Make a note of this weight as both your sugar and the strained liquid from the cooked fruit should be twice the weight of the uncooked fruit. 

Place a saucer in the fridge – you’ll need it later.

Remove the zest  from the oranges and grapefruit in strips (a potato peeler is the easiest tool for this) leaving behind the white pith. Shred the zest into small slivers and tie up in a small square of muslin. Finely chop the oranges, lemon and the zested grapefruit half and put the whole lot (pith, flesh and juice) into your saucepan ith the muslin bag of zest. Add the water and simmer for around two hours, topping up if the fruit starts to dry out too much.

Take out the muslin bag of zest and leave to one side. Place a sieve or colander lined with several layers of muslin over a bowl and pour in the softened fruit and juices from the saucepan. Leave to drain for at least an hour – the pectin you need to set the marmalade is all in the liquid. If you want to squeeze the last drops of juice out of the pulp feel free, although apparently this may result in a cloudy marmalade.

Measure the juice – you should have twice the weight of your uncooked orange and grapefruit (e.g. if you had 500g fruit, you will need 1 litre of liquid). If you’ve ended up with too much or too little liquid, either boil to reduce it down or top it up with water until you end up with the correct amount.

Add this liquid and your sugar to the saucepan – make sure it doesn’t come more than 1/3 of the way up the side of the pan as will bubble up pretty vigourously when you heat it. Bring the sugar and liquid to the boil and wait until it reaches 104C/220F, then keep it bubbling at this temperature for 5 minutes. Drop a teaspoon of the liquid onto your cold saucer – if it’s ready it should for a crinkly skin as it cools. If it doesn’t keep simmering the liquid for a few more minutes but don’t overdo it or you might affect the set.

Take your pan off the heat and leave to cool for 20 minutes then carefully pour or spoon the marmalade into your hot sterilised jars. Seal the jars and leave somewhere cool to set – this will take a few hours. Enjoy!

Marmalade

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