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Jammy Bodger’s award-winning Seville Orange Marmalade recipe

PUBLISHED: 15:31 26 February 2014 | UPDATED: 15:31 26 February 2014

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Mel Sellings - AKA The Jammy Bodger - is a coveted preserve maker. Here, she shares her award-winning Seville Orange recipe for Paddington-perfect marmalade

Making your own marmalade is really worth the effort, shop-bought marmalade simply cannot compare. Homemade marmalade packs a bitter sweet punch which wakes up your dulled winter taste buds. Also if you make it yourself you can cut the peel just as thick or thin as you like.

After some trial and error (marmalade making takes a little more patience and setting time than jam) I mastered the art of it and last year I proudly carried off a coveted Gold in the medium cut Seville Orange category at the World’s Original Marmalade Awards & Festival in Cumbria.

So what’s the secret to an award-winning marmalade? Well Jonathan Miller, food buyer at Fortnum & Mason, who presented the awards (with assistance from Paddington Bear) stated that: “the winning marmalades stood out as they had good acidity, were fully fruited, low sugar and great zest. Like a good wine, marmalade needs to have good fruit and full body.”

So what are you waiting for? If I can make an award-winning marmalade to tickle a judge’s taste buds then so can you.

Seville Oranges, which are the best oranges to use for marmalade as they are sharper than normal oranges, are only available for a short time. Usually from early January until the end February, but if you can only get hold of sweet oranges all is not lost, just add the juice of a couple of lemons after the sugar has dissolved and a slug of whiskey or brandy at the end to give it a little bit of kick.

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This recipe will make 6 or 7 medium jars. Start the recipe the day before prepping the peel so it can be left to soak overnight and then make the marmalade the following day.

Equipment needed

Large jam pan or stock pot, 10 clean jars and lids (with no labels on the jars or nicks or scratches on the lids), medium saucepan, ladle or jug, funnel, sieve, cake rack, weighing scales, saucers, tongs.

***

Ingredients

1.1 kg Seville Oranges (about 8)

1.2 kg Granulated Sugar

1.9 litres Water

***

Method

Day 1

1 Rinse and de-button the oranges. Give them a gentle scrub on any discoloured sections. Halve and juice into a jug, pips and all. Sieve the juice into the jam pan then discard the pips. Cut the orange halves into quarters and fold the peel back on itself to make it lie flat when you place it peel side down on the board. Slice horizontally with a knife to remove as much of the pulpy stuff and pith as you can, the orange peel should be dry. If you want you can roughly chop any large bits of pulp and add to the jam pan, but check for pips. There are a lot of them, which is why I usually bin most of this pulp.

2 Slice the orange peel finely (or as thick or thin as you like), this takes some time so I usually do this listening to the radio! Add the orange peel and water to the jam pan, cover (wok lid, silver foil, clean oven trays) and leave to soak overnight.

***

Day 2

1 Bring the orange peely juice to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover with the lid but leave some space for air to escape, and simmer gently for 1½-2 hours or until the peel is very soft. Chew it to check.

2 Meanwhile sterilise your clean jars. Pop them into a cold oven then heat the oven to 110°C/225ºF/Mk ¼ for 30 minutes then leave in the oven to keep warm. Next sterilise your lids. Heat a saucepan of boiling water and using tongs drop in your lids face up and leave in for 20 seconds then remove and place face down on a cake rack to dry. Do the same with your ladle and funnel. Place three saucers into the fridge for testing the set.

3 Uncover the marmalade and add the sugar, stirring constantly until completely dissolved (rub the spoon up the side of the pan to see there are no sugar crystals left). If you are using ordinary oranges this is the point to add the lemon juice and a slug of whiskey or brandy. Heat the marmalade without stirring until it’s boiling rapidly then when you think it is set start testing with the saucers.

4 Your marmalade will be at setting point when: It’s gone past a rapid boil and is now boiling more sluggishly but all over the surface and if, when you stir it, it boils manically. It should be making a ‘put, put, put’ sound as it bubbles.

5 Testing to see if its set: Test 1- using a spoon scoop some marmalade out of the rising steam, allow it to cool for about 20 seconds then turn the spoon on its side above the jam pan. If it runs together and drips off in a jellified lump or two then take the pan off the heat and do Test 2. Take the pan off the heat and place a tablespoon of marmalade on one of the saucers you have taken out of the fridge. Leave for 3 minutes, if the marmalade crinkles when you push it with your finger its set. If the marmalade is not set return the pan to the heat for another couple of minutes and then test again.

6 When you are happy with the set remove the pan from the heat and skim off any scum using a metal spoon. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then stir to evenly disperse the peel, do another cheeky saucer test to make sure it’s set. I strongly recommend doing this as marmalade can look set but it isn’t quite, so it is always worth checking again. Finally ladle into your sterilised jars and twist the lids on tightly. Wipe any drips from the jars and when cool label.

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The World’s Original Marmalade Awards

The World’s Original Marmalade Awards & Festival is held annually at Dalemain Mansion in Cumbria. This year’s awards are on 1 - 2 March. If you want to enter your own marmalade into these prestigious awards entry forms need to be in by 13 February 2014. For more details visit: dalemainmarmaladeawards.co.uk

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