In the last two or three years I have rediscovered an old interest in things that keep – preserves: including different types of marmalade, greengage and plum jam, cider and beer (if they can be said to be preserves). With the jams, sometimes all you need is sugar, if you are lucky enough to have fruit trees, or benefactors who do. That and plenty of time – not a problem at the moment. Collecting, sterilising and labelling the bottles and jars, watching over the setting or fermentation process, judging the right point to transfer to jars or bottles, squirreling away, giving away. It’s all very satisfying, seasonal and time honoured.
Last January I made Seville orange marmalade, which lasted a whole year (same quantities as here). This year I wanted to try using blood oranges, partly because of the great colour, but without losing the unique strong flavour of the Sevilles – hence the mixture.John
1.5 kg oranges – half Seville, half blood oranges (approximately six of each); 3kg sugar, preferably natural unrefined golden granulated (eg Billingtons); two lemons: juice and pith
Cut all the oranges in half and squeeze the juice into a large bowl. Slice the peel and pith into thin or medium sized shreds, according to preference, and put into the bowl with the juice. (Be sure to sharpen knife before you start!) Once you have done all the oranges, add 3 litres of water to the bowl, cover with a lid or clingfilm and leave to soak overnight.
Transfer the mixture to preserving pan(s) or a large saucepan, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 2 hours until the peel is tender. The liquid will reduce by approximately 25%. Remove all pips with a slotted spoon at the end.
Halve the lemons, then squeeze in the juice and pith, using a corer. Add the sugar gradually, stirring until dissolved. Bring back to the boil and boil rapidly until the setting point is reached. This may take 30 mins to an hour – keep testing periodically. I just use a wooden spoon – dip and hold above the pan, and when the last drop begins to go gloopy, you are there. Don’t over boil. When it cools, it will set.
Leave to cool for 20-30 mins, stir gently and skim off any scum and remaining pips. Pour into warm, sterilised jars and seal.