Marmalade!

Seville oranges are in season, so it’s time to make marmalade. I love making marmalade (and fortunately I also like eating it, though I’m the only person in my household who does).

This is a straightforward light, tangy sort. Have seven or eight jam jars washed and ready, and keep them hot in the oven while you prepare the marmalade.

Squeeze and shred a kilo of Seville oranges, keeping the pips out of the shredded peel.

Drop the peel into a big pan, with a couple of litres of water and the juice of a lemon. Bag up the pips in a muslin sheet and suspend it in the liquid.

(Safety-conscious man says: soak the muslin in water before you do this, so it doesn’t catch fire if you accidentally dangle it over a gas burner)

Simmer for at least an hour, uncovered, until the peel is soft.

Pull out the hot muslin bag and squeeze its juices into the pan with tongs or something.

Then add a staggering amount of sugar—about two kilos— and stir it in.

Turn up the heat quite fiercely and boil until it’s “ready to set”. It could take ten minutes, or an hour or more.

This is where it often goes all wrong. You’re aiming to capture a state in which the mixture is fairly solid when cool but melts when heated, as on toast. The marmalade will always reach this point sooner or later, but not for long before it enters the subsequent “bouncy state”. You don’t want that.

To get the right set, regularly stick a spoon in the mixture, stir it and pull out some of the liquor, then let it cool a bit. If the cooled mixture wrinkles up when you push it with a finger, then it’s ready.

What usually happens to me is that I notice that the utensil I stuck in it last time I tested has gone wrinkly and gelatinous when I come to test it this time. That means the moment is passing, but it’s not too late if you test fairly often and put the heat off as soon as you notice it.

Let cool for a few minutes, then ladle into the jars you prepared, and seal.

Finally! A breakfast-related post on the Breakfast Post.