February - a difficult month to get through and we tend to turn inwards to brace ourselves for the grim grey 28 days ahead. Here we are making Seville orange marmalade for our visitors and filling our kitchen with the warm citrus scent of oranges. I am basking in the sunshine of Spain thanks to this wonderful aroma. My mum used to counter her February blues with marmalade making and now I do the same. Join in! There are still plenty of Seville oranges about and below is a delicious easy recipe, thanks to Sarah Raven:
The best marmalade is quite chunkily cut and not too sweet, like the old-fashioned Oxford type. This recipe makes a delicious, deep-amber coloured marmalade.
For about 3.5kg:
▪ 1.4kg Seville oranges
▪ 1 tsp salt
▪ Juice of 2 lemons
▪ 2.7kg granulated sugar
Scrub the oranges and put them whole into a large preserving pan, along with 2.4 litres of water and the salt. Cover with a lid and simmer the fruit gently until soft. This takes about 1 hour.
Strain off and reserve the liquid. Halve the fruit, scoop out the pith and pips with a spoon, and put this into a small saucepan. Add another 300ml of water to the pan of pith and pips and then simmer for 10 minutes.
Coarsely slice the orange peel and add to the reserved liquid in the preserving pan. Strain the liquid from the pith and pips, and add this liquid to the large pan. Add the lemon juice and sugar, and heat slowly to dissolve the sugar completely, stirring all the time. Increase the heat and bring to a rapid boil until the setting point is reached.
To test for the setting point, put a saucer in the fridge to cool. When you think the marmalade might be ready, put a spoonful of the boiling jam on to the saucer. Return the saucer to the fridge. Once it is cold, the jam should wrinkle when you push it with your finger.
After taking the marmalade off the heat, remove the scum from the surface with a spoon.
Allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes – or the fruit peel will all float to the top. Stir once and pour into warm sterilised dry jars. Put a greaseproof disc on the top of each jar and cover immediately.
This recipe appears on page p33 of Sarah Raven's Garden Cookbook.