I think marmalade gets a bit of a bad wrap. I used to go through phases when I was a kid but generally I quite liked it, just as long as it wasn’t the bitter kind. A couple of weeks ago I thought I’d try my hand at a mandarin marmalade. In fact I actually tried to make it twice, both times with no luck at all. Silly mistake, but the first time round, I’d forgotten it was on the stove. It cooked for too long and almost turned to burnt toffee! Thick and impossible to spread. My second attempt I actually ruined a cast iron pot… I don’t know what my problem was, but mandarin marmalade wasn’t my thing. However, I was dead-set on trying to make some sort of preserve with our delicious citrus fruit before it’s all out of season.
Nothing is without reason though. Whilst making the mandarin marmalade I’d discovered that it was better to blend the fruit before adding it to the pan. I thought I’d apply this knowledge to my simple orange marmalade to ensure a super smooth consistency. The one thing I disliked when I was a kid was discovering a big chunk of fruit in my jam. I can’t say it was smoother than a non-blended marmalade but the texture, for me, was perfect!
So, it may not have been the most ground breaking recipe but at least I learnt something – and that is what cooking is all about.
Now I’m interested, do you guys like marmalade? If not, perhaps you should give it another go?
Ps. I have a very special recipe coming up shortly. Watch this space!
Sweet Orange Marmalade
6 Valencia oranges or other sweet variety of orange
600g white sugar
1. Wash and peel oranges and put the skins to the side – you’ll need them later. Place the flesh of the orange in the food processor and blitz until smooth. Place the orange juice in a large heavy bottomed pan on medium heat with 3 cups of water.
2. Once the orange juice starts to boil place the sugar in the pan. Meanwhile take the skin of the oranges and cut into super fine slivers. Place about 50g of the chopped peel into the pot and let cook for about an hour. Place a small saucer in the freezer – you’ll need this to check when it’s almost ready
3. After an hour, place a small spoonful on the frozen saucer. When the marmalade is ready it’ll be a good thick consistency.
4. Next you’ll need to sterilize your jars. Wash both the jars and lids in hot soapy water and rinse them thoroughly. Place them in a preheated 140ºC oven for 10 minutes right side up. Ensure the jars aren’t touching each other and in the last 5 minutes place the lids in the oven as well. I don’t like to leave the lids in for too long otherwise the rubber seals in them melt!
Serve on thickly sliced bread with lashings of butter. So simple but so delicious.