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.