How to make delicious homemade marmalade

Over 15 years ago when I began this site the delights of high quality homemade marmalade were eluding me.  Each January, after successfully sourcing Seville oranges at a reasonable price and remembering to buy enough sugar and lemons I made runny (although highly flavoursome) orange marmalade for a couple of years.  I was beginning to be the laughing stock of the Gregory family because without fail I would end up having to re-boil and add extra pectin to a preserve which uses one of the most highly pectin containing fruit – Seville oranges!

My Mum decided to re-send the simple instructions and a few top tips how she makes consistently perfect marmalade each year, keen that I would uphold the Gregory family tradition of great Marmalade making:-

Dear Dave

you gormless good for nothing – are you daft?

“Dad told me that you’d had trouble with the marmalade setting…Again!  You must be doing something wrong.

Here is the marmalade recipe and method that we use and it has always been foolproof:-

  • 2lb Seville Oranges
  • 4lb Sugar
  • 2 pints water
  • 2 lemons

Method – making marmalade using a pressure cooker

Wash the oranges thoroughly. Squeeze the juice and collect the pips in a muslin bag along with some of the orange and tie up tightly. Using the pressure cooker put the water and the oranges, orange juice and pips into the pan and pressure cook for 10 minutes at 10lb pressure (If you don’t have a 10lb option you will have to use the 15lb for about 8 minutes I think). **

Put sugar into an oven to warm it through.

Reduce pressure immediately.  When cool enough to handle take the bag of pips out and squeeze to get the maximum pectin out and the softened oranges and cut them up as thinly as possible* and put them back into the pan. (this is a bit messy).

*Contentious method – nowdays I find slicing the oranges BEFORE pressure cooking them is better to get a fine shred…

Wash and put jars into a warm oven.

Now add the juice of the two lemons (an ideal way to rinse more of the pippy goo of your hands) and the sugar and bring to a rolling boil and boil until set –  Usually between 15 and 20 minutes. Test for “the set” by blobbing a few drops onto a cold plate, wait for thirty seconds and push your finger into it and hopefully it will be all shiney and wrinkle.

Let stand for fifteen minutes, scim off any “frothy scum”, stir again to prevent fruit floating then pour into the warmed sterilised jars and seal immediately.

Leave to one side and await the delightful clicks of the jars sealing as the contents cools and pulls the lids tight.

Better luck next time. Mum

** didn’t let the pressure actually get to 15 lbs – could be the problem with the heat/pressure destroying the pectin perhaps?

Marmalade Facts

The Book of Marmalade offers a history of marmalade in Britain from its origins as a quince conserve in medieval times, through its first commercialisation in Scotland in the 18th century, to its dominant place on the breakfast table in the modern era.