Each winter I make a small stash of special reserve marmalade. It’s quite a procedure but to my mind and my taste buds it’s definitely worth the trouble.
This years organic Seville oranges appeared early, in the middle of December, and rather than miss them I bought my usual three kilos and stashed them. Until yesterday.
It’s a two day mission to make marmalade so you need a bit of time and space to get it done. First the peel of the orange needs to be pared away from the pith and then finely shredded with a sharp knife.
The next day all of this is tipped into a big saucepan and boiled up for an hour or so, until the peel is tender. The muslim bag comes out at this stage. I put it in a colander and left it to cool while I took the dog for a run on the beach. When I got back it was cool enough to handle and I could give it a good squeeze to extract all the pectin, Pectin is extremely gelatinous and this is vital for the marmalade to set. Once the pectin was back in the pot I added the sugar and boiled it up. And boiled it up! It takes ages. The kitchen was like a steam bath even though I had the extractor on. I was checking to see whether it would set by dropping a spoonful onto a chilled plate and doing the wrinkle test. When it finally it reached setting point. I potted it up and we now have nine jars of very valuable orange nectar for our breakfast toast.