Saturday, 24 January 2009

The Seville Arrives

Having found some Seville oranges at Tony Booths of Borough Market, I set to making some marmalade. I haven't made orange marmalade for 15 years. There's something so satisfying about using ingredients who make a brief appearance, so much more so when one preserves it's particular flavour. There's no doubt that Seville oranges make the best marmalade, of that there is no doubt.

This marmalade is reminicent of my childhood, when my mother would make enormous batches of a years supply for ourselves and both grandmothers. There was this large cast iron mincer which would perch on the side with a vice holding it in place and all the peel would go though it and turn it into the marmalade 'bits'. This device was also the meat mincer and baby food masher. (What would health and safety risk assessments make of this? There probably won't even be a category of disaster likelihood available to express it's utter horror at the cross contamination inevitability. ) There would, now I think about it, be rows of marmalade along with other preserves in the 'pantry'. Ahhh, they were the days!

The recipe

1Kg Seville Oranges
1 Lemon
2Kg preserving sugar
2Ltr Water

Large pan and a good size of muslin, 6 Jars

Juice all the oranges and lemon - reserve all the pips - discard the lemon halves.
Add the juice to 2Litres of water.
Cut all the orange halves in half again and scrape out all the pith and flesh, so the pieces are all very clean.
Slice all the peel into the size of 'bits' you want or use a devise - add to the water and juice in the pan.
Add the pips, pith and flesh to a piece of muslin and tie it up tightly - add to the pan.
Bring the water, juice, peel and muslin bag to the boil and let it gently boil for about 2 hours.
You want the peel to be soft and the liquid reduced by about half.
Now add the sugar and slowly bring to the boil.
Boil vigoursly until setting point is reached (usually 15/20mins)
Add to steralised, warm jars.

So, I set about making the marmalade, and cut up all the peel by hand. I had to restrain myself from deviating from the original plan of Seville Orange Marmalade, as the idea of Whiskey marmalade, or orange, lemon & lime marmalade, or ginger marmalade was hugely tempting. Within two and a half hours six jars of deep burnished orange marmalade with flecks of peel adorned my kitchen sill with the sun shining through them. It was one of those moments.

This is where some freshly baked bread, thick butter and marmalade is the only thing that will do!

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