Mum’s Famous Marmalade
Throughout my childhood at roughly the same time every year, I would come home from school to find my mother hunched over a huuuge pot on the hob, steam billowing around the room, making her mother’s marmalade recipe. Marmalade making has been a constant part of my life since I was a child, and now that everyone is discovering the joys of these homemade jars of sunshine, I thought I’d share my mum’s recipe with you!
You will need:
- 5 medium-large Seville oranges
- 1 lemon
- 2 kilos of white caster sugar
- 5 pints of water
- 8 lidded jars
- A muslin/jelly bag
1. Wash the oranges and lemon and cut them in half across the belly, so that they can be juiced. Juice each half and transfer the juice to a large bowl. Keep the pips!
2. Using a sharp knife, carefully trim/scrape off as much of the white pith from each citrus half as you can, setting it aside alongside the pips – you’re looking for the citrus halves to be pretty much clean of the pith. Then carefully slice the citrus halves as finely as you can and place them in the bowl alongside the juice.
3. Add all of the pips and white pith bits to the muslin or jelly bag. Fasten tightly then place that in the bowl too. Add the water, then leave the bowl of prepared fruit overnight.
Tip: If your bowl isn’t big enough for all five pints, add 3 or 4 now and then remember to add the remainder when you go to do your first boil the following day.
4. The following day, transfer the contents of the bowl to a very large pot. Place the jelly/muslin bag of pith and peel into the saucepan too (if you leave it out the marmalade won’t set).
5. Simmer gently till the peel has softened, approx 1hr 30 if your peel is very fine or 1hr 45 if it’s a little thicker.
6. Remove the pip bag, allow it to cool, then squeeze literally every bit of pithy juice out of it by pressing the bag hard all over and squeezing (the bitterness is key for the flavour).
7. Transfer all that juice to the pot. Don’t throw the contents of the bag away in case you need a bit more pith down the line to help it set (the pith contains pectin, which is a setting agent).
8. Place all the sugar in a baking dish and warm for a few minutes in the oven, then carefully tip into the pot. Stir until dissolved and then bring to the boil and boil very rapidly.
Tip: The mix will rise in the pot due to the sugar and could be dangerous if it overspills, so if your saucepan is not big enough, I would recommend you split the contents between two large pots.
9. Keep boiling rapidly until you reach the setting point. This will take about 45 to 60 mins.
Tip: You will be able to tell when you are at the setting point by dropping a teaspoonful of the marmalade onto a cold saucer and then wait a few mins for it to cool. If it looks like a jelly when you tip the saucer and is not flowing over the saucer, it’s ready and you can take the saucepan/s off the heat. If yours is not setting, add more of the pith you saved until it does.
10. Warm the jars in the oven at 140°c then carefully fill them with marmalade using a jug. Once the jars have completely cooled (I popped mine in the fridge), the marmalade will have set to a reasonably thick jelly.
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