Recipe of the Month
It's' that time of year again!
Makes about 10 jars
3 lb (1.5kg) Seville oranges
6 lb (3kg) granulated sugar
4 pints (2 litres) water
Oven: Esse 120 (20 to the hour on thermodial), Aga simmering oven, 120C, 250F, Gas 1 then the boiling plate
Prepare ahead: Will keep for several years!
Stand the bags of sugar on the back of the cooker to warm up – this makes the sugar dissolve faster.
Wash the oranges. Put them into the biggest pan you have and cover with the water.Cover the pan and put into the simmering oven overnight.If you are in a hurry, bring ther pan to the boil before puitting into the simmering oven for 3 hours.
Take the cooked, soft oranges from the pan and cut them in half.Scoop out the pith and pips intlo a muslin bag or cut off leg from an old pair of tights stretched over a jug.Tie the top of the bag or tight leg and put into the pan of orange flavoured water.
Bring this to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Whilst the pips and water are boiling, slice the orange rinds.
Remove the bag of pips and squash it with a potato masher (to get out as much liquid as possible, then add this to the pan).
Tip the sliced orange rind into the pan and add the warm sugar. If you have a traditional Aga, put the pan onto the floor of the roasting oven to come up to the boil for about 15 minutes. If you have a controllable hotpalte, just boil it on the top of the cooker
Very, very carefully, as it is stupidly hot, move the pan to the boiling plate and boil for about 10 minutes until it reaches setting point.
Once the marmalade has reached setting point, take it off the heat and leave it to stand for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.This is so that it cools enough for the peel to be distributed evenly in the jars – if you tip it straight into the jars from the boiling plate, the peel will all rise to the top of the jars.
Take the hot, sterile jars out of the oven and pour the marmalade into them.
Put on a lid and let the jars cool, then label them and put into a cupboard until you are ready to eat it!
Marmalade and jam making tips:
You should only fill the pan 1/3 full before boiling hard for it to set, as it will rise up the pan as it boils and this makes the most amazing mess when it boils over – better to boil half the marmalade at a time than have to clear the sticky mess all over the cooker, the floor and the pan if it boils over!
Setting point is that mysterious stage in jam making when the boiling mixture will set when cooled. The easiest way to test for this is to put a spoonful onto a cold plate and leave it for a couple of minutes to cool. If it has formed a skin that wrinkles when you run the end of a spoon through it, it has reached setting point and will produce reasonably firm jam. If, however, it is still runny, continue to boil the mixture and test again in 5 minutes. If it is solid the second it hits the plate, it may benefit from letting down with a little boiling water, to avoid rocklike jam that cannot be prised out of the jar onto the toast!
To sterilise the jars: Wash 10 jam jars and shake them dry. Put them onto the shallow baking tray and put into the simmering oven. When they are dry, there are sterile!