Therapeutic Marmalade

There is nothing like a bit of wielding a sharp implement when one is feeling a little stressed.  Though it has to be said it is best to avoid bloodshed.  This week has been a tad difficult owing to that heady mixture of parenting, lack of sleep and miscommunication.  Today, I turned off my phone and took some time out to be creative.  Creativity while venting my spleen is not always easy to pull off but thankfully the Seville orange season is upon us which can only mean one thing.  Marmalade!

I have been keeping an eye open for Sevilles for a week now but my local Tesco has let me down.  Thank goodness for Sainsbury’s.  And in the nick of time too.  Heaven knows where I may have taken my sharp implement had I not had a kilo of Sevilles to slice!

I have also been keen to tweak recipes here and there.  With some Christmas book vouchers I recently bought a copy of The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit which I suspect is going to become a fantastic investment.  I am already excited at the prospect of experimenting.  Today I confined myself to adding a vanilla pod to my orange slices as they soak overnight in juice and water.  I will remove it prior to potting but I am curious about whether one pod will be sufficient.  I want there to be enough of a vanilla hit for its presence to be noted but not so much that it is over powering.  Tomorrow, I may halve the mixture prior to boiling; add another half pod to one batch and then force the unsuspecting to perform a taste test and see which scores the most highly.  Seems like a plan.

Meanwhile, the recipe I have used is below but it remains a work in progress.  No pictures tonight but hopefully some will appear at the weekend when I aim to be posting another marmalade recipe.  Watch this space!

Seville Orange and Vanilla Marmalade

1kg Seville oranges

1 vanilla pod

75ml lemon juice

2kg demerara sugar

Scrub oranges, cut in half, squeeze out juice and set to one side.  Cut oranges into fine slices and place in a bowl with the orange juice.  Split the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and add both pod and seeds to the orange slices.  Cover with 2 1/2 litres of water (I used hot water from the kettle to help the vanilla to infuse – no idea if this is a good plan) and leave to soak overnight.

Transfer to preserving pan, boil then simmer covered until the peel is tender (approx 2 hours).  Contents of pan will have reduced by about one-third.  Stir in lemon juice and sugar, stirring until sugar dissolved.  Boil rapidly until setting point achieved.  Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 10mins to allow the peel to distribute evenly in jar.  Pot and seal.  Keeps for up to 2 years.



5 thoughts on “Therapeutic Marmalade

  1. I’ll be interested in the results – as you know, I made a serious amount of jam last year (and I still have fruit left in the freezer!) but now the people who buy it from Greyhoundhomer are clamouring for marmalade so that’s the next project….

    How thick are you cutting your shred? Will that depend on your mental state when you’re doing the cutting? And finally, do you have a tip for getting the rind without involving the pith?

    As you can tell – I don’t make much marmalade!!!

    Did the Captain tell you about the mulled plum jam I made for Christmas? I’ve had some good feedback so let me know if you want a recipe (though most people say they’d have rather had the mulled wine than jam made from it :-))

    • Amy – results about to be posted 🙂
      Sue – The thickness of my marmalade shred depends on how long I’ve been cutting it for! It starts off as fine as I can cut it, then as my hands get tired it gets thicker! It can best be described as assorted thicknes 😀 Don’t worry about the pith, though, that’s the really good news, it doesn’t matter a jot. The whole lot goes in and by the time it’s cooked down ready for the sugar to be added it’s all softness and delight. As for the mulled plum jam recipe – yes please!!

  2. Sorry for delay – brain scrambled in January!

    Mulled plum jam (scale down to suit – this made 30 jars!))

    8 pints of plum juice (plums boiled and passed through a sieve to remove skins and stone)
    1 bottle red wine (a nice rich fruity one if available)
    Mixed spices – I used half a vanilla pod, cinnamon stick, coarsely grated nutmeg, chopped crystallised ginger, crushed mace, whole cloves, cardamon seeds, crystallised orange/lemon peel.
    Preserving sugar (1.5lb per pint of liquid)

    Add the spices to the cold wine and leave to soak for at least 12 hours
    When marinaded pass the wine through a sieve to take out the coarses spices and add to the plum extract
    Heat the liquid to near boiling point then add the preserving sugar – quickly bring to the boil until setting temperature is reached (220 degrees fahrenheit according to my book).
    Pot up and enjoy – benefits from being stored for a week before opening.

    I don’t like bits in jam so I sieve out the plum skins – this is not essential as jam with bits is easier to set
    I think that you could leave the finely chopped crystallised ginger and peel in the jam if you fancied
    You could use powdered spices rather than whole if that’s all you had in the cupboard but if the spices go into the final jam then the flavour will intensify with time so don’t use too much to start off with.

    This “winter warmer” was my Christmas gift jam – I’ve had good feedback and I don’t think you can buy it in the shops!

    Sue, nb Indigo Dream

    ps. just marinading some oranges with vanilla – can’t wait to try the finished product which I’m calling “Sevanilla” – the charity says that people buy the name rather than the jam (or marmalade in this case!) – thanks for the recipe.

    • Thanks Sue, and no need to apologise for the delay – you’ve had plenty to deal with lately and it’s not eactly plum season! I can’t wait to try this out though, and fabulous tip about the names. Will definitely bear that in mind – love Sevanilla!

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