This week I have made marmalade

again… this is one of the winter activities. It has been a remarkable year for citrus: we have seville oranges, blood oranges, more limes than I know what to do with, lemons, and even cumquats from the tree that was ailing. The blood oranges go into all kinds of sauces – my favourite at the moment is a butter-orange sauce to go with fish. Very simple: reduce the juice, and whisk in butter, bit by bit.  

This year’s marmalade was made differently. My proportions are 1.5 kg oranges, 3.3 litres water, and 3 kg sugar, with the juice of a lemon. Juice the oranges, keep the coarse parts and pips to one side then put them into a square of muslin (or similar) and tie into a little package. Slice the orange halves, and then cut them across. A good strong very sharp knife is needed.

Then put the cut up oranges and the little parcel into a very big bowl with the water. Leave for at least 5 hours, and it could be overnight.

Then put everything into a large preserving pan and cook for about an hour, until the liquid has reduced and the peel is very tender. Discard the little bag. Add the sugar gradually, stirring after each addition until it has dissolved fully. Cook until setting point is reached, then pot into sterilised jars.

I wait until the marmalade has cooled, and seal it with wax. But you could put the lids on immediately, while the marmalade is very hot.

My previous recipes involved no soaking. I think the result is much better with some soaking – finer texture, and slightly more bitter.

Next task: confit orange slices. And then, perhaps, candied peel.

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