What could be better on a Sunday morning than fresh-from-the-oven crunchy bread (on this occasion an oat and linseed loaf) and home-made Seville orange marmalade? Every January I always look out for these bitter, slightly knobbly, fruits in the supermarket and make a few jars of preserve which, actually, don’t last too long in our marmalade-loving family.
When we first moved to Spain in 2003 we lived in an area surrounded by family-owned orange groves grown largely for juicing. However, it was also rather irksome to see Seville orange trees lining most town streets but grown purely for decoration. It was so sad to see these fruits drop off as they ripened only to rot on the ground completely wasted. And yes, I’ll own up, as the locals didn’t use them at all, I used to ‘scrump’ mine, after dark, from the odd tree sited away from traffic pollution as it was impossible to buy them from the shops. Even when living far away from my UK home, my annual marmalade making could, and still does, continue!
I have always used the same simple recipe:
6 Seville oranges
1.4 litres of water
1.1 kilos jam sugar
Slice the oranges in half using a metal spoon, scoop out the flesh over a bowl to collect any juice, leaving the pith behind. Reserve the shells.
Put the flesh, juice and pips into a food processor (or, as I do, use a stick blender) and blend until smooth.
Push the puree through a sieve into a preserving pan.
Now scoop out as much of the pith from the shells as possible. Slice the rind into thin matchsticks and add these to the sieved flesh in the pan.
Pour in the water.
Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for around 1 hour or until the rind is very soft and the mixture has reduced by half.
Over a low heat, add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Increase the heat and boil for 10 minutes or until setting point is reached.
Allow the marmalade to cool slightly and then pour into sterilized jars.