How do you like your marmalade? Finely cut, sweet and golden? Or thick-cut, bitter-sweet and treacly? My preference is definitely for the latter and the darker the better. I’m not sure when my love of marmalade started or where it came from. I can’t ever recall my mum or grandmothers making it, but mum does love eating it. I remember giving her all my chunks of peel when I was younger for her to pile onto her toast. Perhaps that’s where it started.
This time of year is when you can find Seville oranges in the shops in the UK. It’s a short season (January to February), so if you fancy having a go at making marmalade buy them now while you can. These bitter oranges are definitely not for eating – they are far too sour and full of pips – but they do make THE best marmalade. I’ve just finished potting up my favourite kind. Standing in my kitchen, scraping the bottom of the preserving pan with a toasted bagel to get at every last drop of gorgeousness, I had a moment – you know, when everything in your world feels alright – and I felt a burst of ridiculous happiness.
There are many different marmalade recipes and methods but here’s how I make it.
A dark and treacly marmalade (makes about 10 x 340g jars) Ingredients:
1.5kg Seville oranges
2 unwaxed lemons
1kg dark soft brown sugar
1kg unrefined caster sugar
You will need:
a very large saucepan or preserving pan with lid
long-handled wooden spoon
a couple of bowls (the right size to sit sieve and colander over)
1-litre measuring jug (if you have 2 jugs use both)
large chopping board and sharp knife
10 jars, sterilised (see how to do it here)