As soon as Christmas is over the first Seville oranges normally arrive in the shops and this is a great seasonal recipe to kick off the year.
Preserving sugar is a type of sugar used for making marmalades and jams from fruits naturally high in pectin (such as plums, redcurrants, blackcurrants, gooseberries and Seville oranges). It has large sugar crystals dissolve more slowly than regular granulated sugar. These do not rise up as froth on the surface or settle at the bottom of the pan which reduces the risk of burning and consequent need for stirring. It also helps impurities to rise for easier skimming, helping to make jams and jellies clearer and more attractive.
Another great tip is to get a Digital Thermometer – these can be bought cheaply online and are a foolproof way of ensuring you reach the setting point and don’t go beyond, which means your jam will have a perfect jelly-like consistency when cooled. They are also really useful tools for plenty of other things including breadmaking & roasting meat so are well worth the investment.
Makes about 3kg or 8 x 400g jars
Preparation time 1hr
Cooking time : about 2.5 hrs
Pour the water into a large heavy bottomed pan. Wash, then halve the fruit and squeeze the juice out, pouring the juice into the pan. Then take your fruit halves and either use a dessert spoon to scoop out all the pips, pith & pulp, or use a sharp knife to cut it out – much in the same way that you fillet a fish (see pictures).
Place all the pips, pith & pulp into the middle of your muslin and then tie the top together ensuring none of the contents can escape! Cut the juiced and scraped out orange and lemon skins into strips around 2-3mm wide & 3 cm long – you don’t need to worry about being too precise. Add your muslin bag & strips of peel into your pan and bring to the boil. Then reduce the heat & simmer for 1.5 hours, or until the peel is tender.
1 hour after your jam starts to simmer switch on your oven and preheat to 180C. Once your oven is hot put your jars and lids onto baking tray and pop in the oven for 15 minutes to sterilise. If using Kilner jars then make sure you remove the rubber seal before putting in the oven and boil this for 10 minutes instead, as they will be damaged by dry heat.
Turn off the oven, but leave your jars inside. Now add all the sugar to the pan, stirring until it has dissolved.
Turn the heat up and boil rapidly until the setting point is reached.
Setting point: to test for the setting point just take a teaspoon of jam and place it on a cold plate, then pop in the fridge. When it has cooled (approx. 5 mins) run your finger through it, and if it does not run back on itself the setting point has been reached.
Alternatively, once the jam is boiling use a digital thermometer to measure the temperature until it reaches 104C, when the setting point has been reached.
Remove your pan from the heat and take the jars out of the oven. Carefully pour the marmalade into the warm sterilised jars (tip - a ladle is a great help here).
Tighten the lid and leave to cool. Enjoy!
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