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This Seville Orange Grapefruit Rosemary Marmalade is a traditional marmalade, rich and slightly bitter with a zesty sweetness that can be spread on toast, sandwiched in cakes and devoured within a bacon roll. Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it.
Alongside my cakes I also sell homemade preserves at the market stall and hands down marmalade is the preserve that is most requested. There is a bit more effort involved in marmalade which makes it harder to churn out than other jams. Plus the Seville orange season is so short that I usually sell out by the end of February but that is what makes it so deliciously elusive.
If you are a marmalade lover you simply must try making it yourself. It is the most satisfactory of jobs and definitely my favourite preserve to make. Do set aside a weekend for your torrid marmalade affair since you need to leave your pith and peel soaking overnight to soften. It’s a perfect job for these wintry days when even looking out the window chills you to the bone. No, instead, switch on a podcast, grab a kitchen stool and start juicing those oranges.
The two pieces of equipment which revolutionised my marmalade making was a decent juicer and an excellent knife. I have had many a juicer in my time but the one I currently use is the Mexican elbow which juices quickly, doesn’t take up much room in your kitchen and is easy to clean. I bought a lime, lemon and orange one before realising that the only one you really need is the orange one as it makes short shrift of all citrus, including the larger grapefruit. A good tip is to cut the fruit into quarters first so you can extract as much juice as possible.
For removing the pith from the peel of the orange you need a very sharp knife with a fine blade, otherwise the job is nigh on impossible. Japanese knives are excellent for this purpose as you need to run the knife between the pith and the peel at an almost horizontal angle so you can separate them.
I’m rarely content to just do a straightforward jam so I used grapefruit here where one would normally use lemons and rosemary because I am a herb ninja. I think grapefruit and Sevilles pair up beautifully, there is a sharper and more interesting edge to the marmalade when using grapefruit which I love. The earthy notes of the rosemary add a lovely profile against the fruiter elements and also look so beautiful in the jars.
So these past few weekends I’ve enjoyed being in severe marmalade mode stockpiling my jars for when I return to the stall in early March. It’s first come first serve guys!
Seville Orange Grapefruit Rosemary Marmalade
- 1 kg Seville oranges - about 7
- 1 grapefruit
- 2 tablespoons very finely chopped rosemary leaves
- 1.5 litres water
- 1.2 kg granulated sugar
- First juice the oranges and the grapefruit. Place the juice into a preserving pan and reserve the pips, putting them in a separate bowl.
- Then taking the remains of the fruit, remove the pith and inner membrane using a very sharp knife at an almost horizontal angle cutting closely against the peel. Set the peel aside.
- Place all the pith, inner membrane and stray pulp on top of a large muslin cloth, bringing the cloth together and tying together with string to make a bag.
- Thinly slice all the peel.
- Place the sliced peel, rosemary and the muslin bag in the preserving pan with the juice and add the water.
- Leave everything to soak overnight.
- The next day bring the pan to the boil. Then turn the heat down, put the lid on and simmer for 2 hours until the peel is soft.
- Remove the muslin bag from the preserving pan and squeeze the excess liquid which contains all the pectin from the muslin. Discard the bag.
- Measure all the liquid (without the peel) which should be about 1.5 litres, if not top up with water or reduce the liquid further and pour everything back into the preserving pan.
- At this point sterilise your jars and lids and place your saucers into the freezer for your setting test later.(see notes)
- Warm the sugar in oven at 140°C for 10 minutes.
- Stir the warm sugar into the marmalade liquid until dissolved and slowly heat to a rolling boil.
- Boil hard for fifteen minutes then start checking for the set using the saucer test.
- Once the marmalade is ready then remove from the heat, skim off the scum and decant into sterilised jars.
- The best way to sterilise your jars and lids is to place the jars in the oven at 140°C for 20 minutes. The lids should be sterilised by boiling in water (with a drop of vinegar to avoid the chalky residue) for 10 minutes.
- For the saucer test, place 5 saucers in the freezer. Then when it comes time to test, drop a teaspoon of marmalade on to one of the frozen saucers, then place the saucer in the fridge. After a minute remove the saucer and if the marmalade wrinkles when pushed with a fingertip then it has reached the right setting point. If not, try the test again in 5 minutes.