Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Spanish sunshine?

What better way to shake off January's gloom than to make marmalade? Seville oranges, unbelievably bitter and fit for little else but cooking up with sugar, are in the shops now. No apologies for lots of orange pictures - I'm thinking sunshine and soaring spirits.I have great fun juicing, paring and slicing. I add lemons and water and put the pan over a low light. As it warms the house becomes imbued with the tang of Sevilles. Christmas may have its own scents and flavours; a jam pan of marmalade oranges is January for me.Simmer for a long time - slowly to release pectin and soften the bitter peels. (Make a face like a cat's arse when you have a bite to see if they are tender enough) Eeeurgh! Add sugar ('Silver Spoon') and feel particularly proud that it is sugar produced by British Farmers in East Anglia. Toss in a small knob of butter, turn up the light and we're off.....Have more great fun dissolving and stirring, making whirls and vortexes. Enjoy the dancing light through fragrant steam. Great stuff. Remember I am making marmalade so put a stop to all that arty stuff and get the pan-ful boiling ferociously.

The next 20 minutes or so are always pretty stressful. Will it? Won't it? Set that is - will I end up with syrup or toffee? These days it's generally OK but there are always those moments of doubt. This season my 5.5lbs of oranges have yielded nearly 18lbs of marmalade. I'm quite satisfied with the way it has set but if somebody can tell me how to get the peel to distribute itself evenly throughout the jar without a long session poking with a chopstick I would be happier still.

Any suggestions? A reward of toast and marmalade for the best suggestion.

17 comments:

Pondside said...

I'll be popping back to read the suggestions from the marmelade makers out there.
This was such a pretty post - I imagined I could smell the tangy citrus. Mmmmmmm toast dripping with butter and marmelade.

Pam said...

My wonderful suggestion would be that you Google it. Sorry, never was a good cook. Loved the post though!

Anil P said...

While I cannot, even if I wanted to, fancy a taste of the marmalade you made, I fancied the experience you put me through.

Here's to your January stretching even more.

Wipso said...

How about cooling it upside down till it starts to thicken then turn it up the right way so the peel rises through the marmalade to sit at different places in the jar? Just a thought.
I can smell it from here. I've only ever made it from a can of ready prepared oranges but I just love the smell of it when it's being made.
A x

Mrs Jones said...

I tried to make marmalade last week (not made it before but was successful with bramble jam last summer) and bought the very last bag of Seville oranges in my Sainsburys. When I came to make a start a couple of days later, I found each orange was scattered with weird lime green spots, each with a pinprick hole in the middle! So I didn't make marmalade. Am going to search for some more today. In the book that I use ('Easy Jams, Chutneys and Preserves' by Val and John Harrison) it says to let it all cool for a bit in the pan before spooning into the jars to stop the peel sinking (or rising, can't remember which...)

rachel said...

An inspiring post! I want to go out for Seville oranges right now.... but then dilemmas start to emerge: the old one of not having a decent jam pan crops up. A large stock pot just isn't the same. The recent determination to cut down on carbs (toast being a particular weakness). What to do? Why not post some pictures of your finished marmalade, and I can admire your gleaming golden jars of Spanish sunshine instead!

ChrisH said...

Thank goodness for that - a round orange thing. Far, far too grey and cold here.

Julia said...

It is definitely time for some kind of sweet citrus concoction, for sure. Don't have an answer though...

Nikki-ann said...

I love marmalade, but for some reason I can't stand the peel in it!

Your post certainly brightened January up, anyway :)

snailbeachshepherdess said...

Mrs Jones has the answer - let it cool a bit more, then give it a good stir before potting. Off to find the oranges at the weekend.

Sallys Chateau said...

What lovely pics, dare i admit to always asking my father to send over a pot of his marmelade ?

Kari L√łnning said...

I'd love to stop in for a taste of the marmelade ...

Twiglet said...

I am following Wipso's instructions for cooling it upside down but won't that give you a headache? It sounds delicious and I can almost smell it from over this side of the hill.

Fennie said...

Looks gorgeous. I do love marmalade.

elizabethm said...

What wonderful pictures! I am not sure I could make marmalade and take photos at the same time - clearly not so great at the multi tasking.

Friko said...

I am going to bottle clementines in French Brandy this weekend, to eat next Christmas. The smell alone knocks you out and that's just while I'm cooking them.

This is a wonderful time of year for getting busy in the kitchen, it'll be gardening soon enough!

Tattie Weasle said...

OOOhhhh Seville orange marmalade I can smell it all the way back in East Anglia if I imagine hard enough!
I'd give the mixture a jolly good stir in the jars but perhaps that can't be done - I've only ever made Stawberry Jam you see!