January 9th, 2010


Seville Orange and Vanilla Bean Marmalade

This lightly coloured Seville orange and vanilla bean marmalade is enhanced by the inclusion of the vanilla beans which gives it that heavenly fragrance. It is luxurious and I love giving a jar or two to friends and family, as it’s a real treat. For me there is not a better tasting marmalade than home made Seville Orange Marmalade.

The Seville orange season is short and is over before you realize it. The season runs from December to February. I love using the Seville oranges for making marmalade, as they are extra bitter and somewhat uncomplicated but sophisticated at the same time. I have cooked and eaten several various marmalade combinations in my life time but in my opinion the absolute sophistication of Seville oranges makes the best tasting marmalade.

The oranges also freeze well, so if you buy some but  do not get the chance to make the marmalade immediately, I suggest freeze them whole. Defrost them completely before turning them into a delicious marmalade.

I cooked this recipe for the first time last year and have adapted it along the way so that my marmalade is fairly loose and soft just how I like it. The addition of the vanilla is fantastic, perhaps a little self indulgent, as the beans are not cheap. My reasoning is that for something this special it’s definitely worth spending the extra penny.


I love the simplicity of this recipe as there is minimal waste as you puree the flesh and add the julienned orange skins to the boiling fleshy pulp. This gives you a real sticky light jammy marmalade instead of a dark thick zesty marmalade. The marmalade makes a very good filling for cakes and is ideal for cooking with meat dishes such as Marmalade glazed gammon. I whisk a spoonful of this Seville orange marmalade into my Moroccan chicken tagine, it gives the dish that slightly sweet citrusy fruity flavour, it’s special and superbly delicious.

Seville ornages aslo makes a delcious and interesting vinaigrette and can add a touch of zing to lovely raw salads. One of my favourites salads is this Raw Salad of Fennel, Seville Orange, Chicory and Kohlrabi.

  • 1.1kg Seville oranges washed
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 2L water
  • 1kg unrefined caster sugar
  • 1kg jam sugar

Cut away all the skin and pith from the oranges so that you are left with a pile of skins separated from the orange flesh.

Put the orange flesh, juice and pips in a food processor and blend until smooth. The seeds contains lots of natural pectin that will help set the marmalade perfectly.

Push the purée through a sieve into a preserving pan or large heavy-based saucepan.

Remove as much white pith from the skin as possible. Slice the skin into very thin matchstick strips and add these to the sieved flesh in the pan.

Add the juice from the lemon and the water.

Split the vanilla pod in half and scrape the seeds into the liquid and add the pod as well for extra flavour.

Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour until the rind is very soft and the mixture has reduced by half.

Over a low heat, add the sugar and stir until it has dissolved. Boil for about 10 minutes, skimming off any froth and impurities from the surface.

After 10 minutes, spoon a little of the marmalade onto a cold plate and place in the fridge. If it sets to a jelly the marmalade is cooked. If not, cook for a further 5-10 minutes and test again.

Allow the marmalade to cool slightly, and then pour into the hot sterilized jars.

How to prevent crystallization:

It’s pretty annoying when this happens. Normally it’s only visual once the marmalade has cooled down completely. I have three simple preventable reasons why crystallization could happen. One-  if the sugar and fruit start to boil before all the “raw” sugar crystals have dissolved. Two - once the sugar has dissolved and the marmalade has reached the vigorous boiling stage  you do not wash the edges with a pastry brush dipped in hot water. As the “raw” sugar crystals get stuck to the edge of the pan and fall back into the boiling syrup the larger un-dissolved crystals accumulate molecules and this encourages the growth of large crystals known as crystallization. Third preventable reason - you should never stir boiling marmalade or sugar syrup for that matter. If you do stir the boiling syrup it knocks the sugar crystals together and encourages the formation of larger crystals and crystallization sets in once cooled.

How to sterilize the jars:

This is one of the most crucial tasks and you should never cut corners. If you not do this properly you might find your handy work becomes mouldy and ferments sooner than expected. Preheat the oven to 100°C. Wash the chosen jars in hot soapy water; let them drain, do not dry them with a tea towel. Place the damp jars and lids on a clean baking tray; try not to touch the jars and lids on the insides. Place them in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes. Let the jars cool slightly before you scoop in the marmalade, never pour cold liquid in to hot glass jars, you will end up with broken glass.

Makes 8 250g jars

Food Fanatics tips
Make sure you remove all the impurities from the top of the boiling marmalade, this will help it stay very clear and shiny. You can use other oranges however the high seed content in these Seville oranges is the secret to a successful marmalade. The seeds contain a high pectin level and the natural pectin helps the marmalade to set.

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10 Comments to “Seville Orange and Vanilla Bean Marmalade”

  1. David Edwards says:

    This is a great Marmalade the Vanilla pod give’s a great taste and easy to make.

  2. harcout breton says:

    I could imagine how the vanilla aroma would perfectly compliment a scent of sinfulness.

  3. leonie says:

    i had this bookmarked and now riverford have FINALLY announced their marmalade kits, so i can get some lovely organic oranges and make this recipe – can’t wait to give it a try

  4. Barry Dean says:

    Excellent – I saw Seville oranges for the first time in Booths the other day, and was hoping to find a marmalade recipe to justify buying some! I love the presentation (as always) – can’t wait to try this! :-)

  5. Orange and vanilla is a favorite combination of mine. Just to make the room smell good, I’ll simmer orange quarters in water with cinnamon and vanilla. It’s heavenly.

  6. Nora says:

    Hi Madelene, I’ve sent you a little award – check out my blog.

  7. Elisa says:

    I made kumquat marmalade about 3 weeks back. I didn’t use jam sugar (nor extra pectin), so it came out slightly on the runny side, it’s fine but I think marmalade should be quite thick? How was the consistency of your marmalade?
    Tastes excellent though.

  8. Madalene says:

    Hi Elisa,
    Thank you for your comment on my Seville Orange Marmalade recipe.
    My marmalade also came out fairly soft. It did not set too hard and thick and gloopy as most shop bought marmalade’s, then I like my marmalade soft and not hard.
    If you wanted your kumquat marmalade to set a bit harder you do not necessarily need to add pectin only cook the marmalade a bit longer and make sure the temperature reached is between 104°C – 106°C, I would go more towards the 106°C for a harder set.
    The only problem is that the colour will be darker and sometimes it taste on the edge of nearly burning.
    If your marmalade taste great and your happy with the way it came out then there is nothing wrong with it.
    Keep it in the fridge if you have not already done so as the fridge will help it thicken up a bit more.
    All the best

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  10. Nora says:

    Madalene, you’re a genius – you’ve just solved the age-old problem of what to give my Dad for his birthday three months early, which never happens! He’s a big fan of marmalade, and this looks like a really delicious version. In fact, I might have to make extra so I can have some too!

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