Mid-January is that time of year; the time when the Seville oranges appear in the supermarket. Here in France they’re know as oranges amères (bitter oranges). A few weeks ago I suddenly spotted them and thought marmalade! My Mum always made her own and I decided to give it a try. My ancient Mrs Beeton’s cookbook had a variety of recipes but I liked the sound of this one. And the result was absolutely deeelicious!
Mrs Beeton’s Dark Course-Cut Marmalade
Yield: 10 lbs
2 lbs Seville Oranges (about 5 oranges)
7 pints Water
6 lbs Sugar (I used ordinary Granulated)
1 TBSP Black Treacle
Wash the fruit, cut in half, and squeeze the juice. Scoop out the pith and the pips in the skins of the oranges and tie it up in a muslin bag (this will produce pectin). Slice the skins into medium thick shreds. Put the juice, muslin bag, sliced peel and water into a large preserving pan and simmer until the peel is tender and the liquid is reduced by at least a third (approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours). Remove the muslin bag after squeezing the juice out gently (I found it easier to put the bag in a bowl and squash it with the back of a wooden spoon, then put the pectin juice back into the pan). Remove pan from the heat and add the sugar and the treacle. Return to a low heat and stir till the sugar is completely dissolved. Then boil rapidly for 15 minutes and test for setting point. If setting point is not reached then boil 10 minutes more and check again. Repeat the process until setting point is reached.
Setting point note:
Before the boiling stage put two saucers in the freezer to use for testing. When ready to test spoon a little marmalade onto a cold saucer and allow it to cool. If the setting point has been reached the surface will set and will wrinkle when pushed with the finger.
Make some wholegrain toast, smother it with crunchy peanut-butter and spoon some marmalade on top! Yum!
Squeezing the juice