Portion/Yield:Makes about 8 x 250g jars
Being both a chef and a food lover, part of me constantly wants to stow away food, squirrelling away the season’s best to enjoy at a later date. It’s almost as if I have a fear of giving up the foods I love from that particular season until they come around again the following year.
Pickling and preserving makes up a large part of my British Larder. The best part is rummaging through the larder in the hope of finding a gem and then there it is, a jar of last year’s Seville Orange and Vanilla Bean Marmalade. It’s like finding a pot of gold!
The Seville orange season is short and before you know it, it’s been and gone. Approach the marmalade-making session with military precision and you will be surprised how quickly and easily you stock up the larder with jars of this golden goodness.
Ingredients & Method
- 1.1kg Seville oranges, washed
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 litres cold water
- 1 vanilla pod
- 1kg caster sugar
- 1kg preserving sugar
Cut away all the peel and pith from the oranges so that you are left with a pile of peel separated from the orange flesh. Put the orange flesh, juice and pips into a food processor and process to form a smooth purée. (The seeds contain lots of natural pectin that will help the marmalade to set perfectly.) Push the purée through a sieve into a preserving pan or a large, heavy-based saucepan.
Remove as much white pith from the orange peel as possible. Slice the peel into very thin matchstick strips and add these to the sieved purée in the pan. Add the lemon juice and water. Split the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds into the pan, then add the pod to the pan as well for extra flavour.
Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 1 hour or until the orange peel is very soft and the mixture has reduced by half. Over a low heat, add both sugars and stir until completely dissolved. Bring back to the boil, then boil rapidly for about 10 minutes, stirring gently once or twice and skimming off any scum from the surface. After 10 minutes, spoon a little of the marmalade on to a chilled plate and place in the freezer for about 2 minutes – if it sets to a jelly, the marmalade is ready; if not, boil it for a further 5–10 minutes and test again.
Remove from the heat and allow the marmalade to cool slightly. Remove and discard the vanilla pod, then carefully pour the marmalade into hot, sterilised jars. Cover with wax discs (wax-side down) and seal. When cold, label and store in a cool, dry cupboard. The marmalade should keep well for a year or so.
Preserving sugar is a specialised white sugar made from sugar cane and sugar beet that is coarser than granulated sugar. It is used for making jams and marmalades with fruits that have a high natural pectin content. The larger sugar crystals dissolve slowly and prevent the mixture from catching to the pan so easily. They also create less scum on top of the boiling liquid, thus resulting in a clearer preserve.
Make sure you remove all the scum from the top of the boiling marmalade; this will help it to stay very clear and shiny.
You can use other oranges for this marmalade, however, the high seed content in these Seville oranges is the secret to a successful marmalade. The seeds are high in natural pectin, which helps the marmalade to set.