RITUAL: Making marmalade

There seem to be two schools of thought when it comes to making marmalade. There’s the slightly fiddly ‘peel the oranges, remove all the pith and pips and cook in muslin with everything else’ method that produces a clearer marmalade with thin shred and can be slightly less well set.  Then there’s the ‘bung it all in and rough chop the oranges’ method which produces a darker more ‘vintage’ and well set marmalade. I like both to eat but probably prefer the latter to make!


  • Setting point – Pop a couple of saucers into the fridge before you start. When you think your marmalade might be ready pop a tiny bit onto the saucer with a tea spoon and then put back into the fridge for a minute or so. Then push the marmalade with your finger tip and if it wrinkles its ready, if not then keep boiling and retest every 5 minutes or so.
  • Scum – Either scrape this off once its settled (straight onto a piece of toast in my case) or add a blob of butter to disperse.

Here are both recipes.


Fine Marmalade (makes 6 x 450g jars)

  • 1 kg seville oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • 2kg preserving sugar

Wash and dry the fruit. Add 2 litres of cold water to your jam pan (or large saucepan) and add the squeezed juice from the fruit. Reserve the pips and skin from the oranges and discard the lemon. Cut the orange skins in half and scrape the pith and pips out into the centre of a large piece of muslin cloth. Tie up with string and add to the pan. Cut the orange peel into shreds, add to the pan and bring to the boil, simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until reduced by half and the peel is soft.

Squeeze as much juice as you can from the muslin bag into the pan and then throw this away. Add the sugar and heat until dissolved. Once the sugar is all dissolved bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 15 minutes until setting point is reached.

Leave to settle for 15 minutes before skimming any scum off the surface. Spoon into sterilised jars, label and store in a cool dark place.

Bung it all in marmalade (makes 6 jars)

  • 1.2 kg seville oranges
  • 2 lemons, juice only
  • 2.4kg unrefined granulated sugar

Wash the oranges and add into a pan with 2 litres of water. Bring to the boil and then simmer, covered, for 2 to 2 and a half hours until the oranges are tender. When the oranges have cooled, remove them from the water, cut each one in half and remove any pips straining the juice back into the water.

Cut the orange peel and flesh into shreds and put back into the water with the lemon juice and sugar. Bring to the boil for at least 15 minutes until the setting point is reached.

Leave the mixture to cool before removing any scum and then pour into sterilised jars.

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