Sunday, January 28, 2007

Save Our Sticky Stuff!

England, unite! Our jampots need us. Marmalade, the sticky stuff that jells our country’s identity together, is in danger of extinction. Only we can save it.

Shockingly, a recent report from market analyst TNS, reveals that sales of marmalade have dropped by 4.4% in the past year whilst sales of honey and jam are on the increase. Apparently the sappy youfs of England can’t handle the tang of marmalade and crave the instant sugary hit of jam.

Luckily Seville oranges are currently in season so you can do your bit to save the organgey preserve. Get yourself down to the market, pick up a cartload (they are incredibly cheap right now) and immerse yourself in a citrus fug on a Sunday afternoon, as Xochitl (see link for her super blog) and I did recently.

The below is an easy recipe for simple, but delicious, basic marmalade.

Seville Orange Marmalade

(makes approximately 5lb)

1 ½ lb Seville oranges (washed and scrubbed to remove wax)
1 unwaxed lemon
3lb preserving sugar (or caster sugar)
(you will also need a large stockpot or preserving pan with handles, a square of muslin, jam pots and wax discs)

1. Cut the oranges and the lemon in half and squeeze out the juice. Put the pips and as much of the membrane as you can scrape off into the muslin square. Tie the muslin up into a ball with string.
2. Slice the peel (use a Foodaid or Magimix to save time) as coarsely or finely as you like and put into the pan with the juice and three pints of water.
3. Suspend the bag of pips in the liquid and tie to a pan handle (so you can remove it later without scalding yourself). Bring the mixture to the boil and simmer for 1 – 1½ hours until the liquid has reduced by half.
4. Warm the packets of sugar in the oven on a low temperature (this helps the sugar crystals to dissolve quicker) and the clean jam jars to sterilize them. And pop a couple of saucers into the freezer (trust me, I know what I’m doing!) and
5. Fish out the muslin bag and squeeze as much liquid as possible back into the pan (the pips contain pectin which is essential for making the marmalade set to be brutal!).
6. Stir the sugar into the pan until it has dissolved and boil hard for 15 minutes. To test to see if the marmalade has reached setting point, take a saucer out of the freezer and plop a blob of marmalade onto it. If the mixture wrinkles and holds its shape when you push your fingertip through it, then it’s ready. If not, continue to boil and try again.
7. When ready, leave the marmalade to stand for 10 minutes and then bottle into the jars, placing a wax disc on top of each jar (this prevents mould from forming on the surface).

Try to resist eating for at least a month whilst the flavours mature and develop. And in the meantime show your support for the save our marmalade campaign by voting for it as an English icon at


Anonymous said...

I love living in France and miss very little of the material aspects of life in England, but I have to say that nothing, absolutely nothing, compares with a weel-made English marmalade.

Save some for me, please!

Peter Newman-Legros said...

From mother's ruin to Ma-malade or as others would have it something about someone called Marie being off colour somewhere in Portugal. How sevilley fab to have you back.


Joyce said...

Hi, I love your blog! Your recipes are so interesting!

I thought you or your other fans might be interested in this competition I stumbled upon at the supermarket yesterday for budding food writers.

There's even a £20,000 book contract up for grabs!
I know I can't resist it!

Rachael said...

Your blog is SO great, I'm so glad I stumbled upon it...

That said, you should totally enter Fish and Quips with this recipe! I love it!

Fish and Quips