In northern climates, summer is the time to preserve ripe fruits one way or another. By February the fruits must come from warm countries such as Spain, particularly Seville oranges, which are quickly made into marmalade.
The name marmalade comes from the Spanish word marmelas, in English, Quince, the original fruit used to make the preserve. I have two quince trees in the garden, and every year I make up jars of the most beautifully rosy and scented jelly, but I can understand why oranges, lemons and grapefruit were thought easier to prepare, because quince are as hard as a baseball, and take some cutting and chopping. I usually wear gloves for the first stages to prevent getting blisters, unhappily acquired on my very first go round.
Seville oranges are tart and sour, perfect for making marmalade, and I would like to share with you the recipe that I use, it’s the easiest one I have ever found.
3 pounds of Seville oranges (1.36 kgs)
7 pounds of sugar (3.20 kgs)
4 pints of water
After the fruit is washed, put it in a pot with the water, taking a moment to puncture the fruit to let the juices out. Cover pot and let the fruits cook gently until they are soft, about one and three-quarter hours, and then take them out to cool on a plate.
Cut the fruit into quarters, remove the pips and the thick centre membrane, putting both aside in a strainer. If you like your marmalade with thick chunks of peel in it, slice it to taste. However, if you prefer not to have to chew the peel, then mince it. A few moments in a blender will do the trick, some vegetable slicers also work, and once it is done, return the pulp to the liquid in the pot, along with whatever has been strained off the pips.
The sugar, slightly warmed in the oven, is added to the liquid and pulp once it is boiling, remembering to lower the temperature till the sugar is properly dissolved.
Bring the mixture to the boil again and stir gently till the preserve sets, usually twelve to twenty minutes.
I’m inclined to take my time at this stage, I’d rather not burn the marmalade, but soon enough, when you hold the stir spoon up, a teardrop will form on the bottom lip and stay there. This is the sign that the preserve is ready. Let it cool a moment and then pour into warmed jars.
Lovely! So good on toast, with cheeses on crackers, in cakes and pastries, anywhere!